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All About Green Cardamom | Citrusy & Peppery Choti Elaichi

Health Benefits of Cardamom

Health Benefits of Cardamom

All About Green Cardamom | Know Your Spice Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum)

Know more about Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum)

Green cardamom or hari elaichi & black cardamom or badi elaichi

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is a is a herbaceous, perennial plant in the ginger family, native to southern India.

It is also cultivated widely in tropical regions and reportedly naturalized in Réunion, Indochina, and Costa Rica.

Although India is the largest producer of cardamom, only a small share of the Indian production is exported because of the large domestic demand.

It is the most common of the species whose seeds are used as a spice called cardamom.

Cardamom is a spice with an intense, slightly sweet flavor that some people compare to mint. It originated in India but is available worldwide today and used in both sweet and savory recipes.

The seeds, oils and extracts of cardamom are thought to have impressive medicinal properties and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries.

What are the vernacular names for cardamom?

The names of cardamom or elaichi in international languages are given below.

Indian Languages International Languages
Hindi: Elaichi (इलायची), Choti ilaichi (छोटी इलायची), Hari ilaichi (हरी इलायची)
Bengali: Elach (এলাচ), Choto elach (ছোটো এলাচ)
Gujarati:
Ilaychi (ઇલાયચી), Lila ililaychi (લીલા ઈલઈલાયચી), Elchi (એલચી), Elaichi (એલચી)
Kannada: Elakki (ಏಲಕ್ಕಿ), Yalakki (ಯಾಲಕ್ಕಿ)
Kashmiri:
Chota aleh, Chota alaichi, Aleh, Alaichi
Malayalam
: Aelam (ഏലം), Aelakka (ഏലക്ക),  Aelakkayu (എലക്കായു)
Marathi: Hirvi velchi (हिरव्यी वेलची), Veldoda (वेलदोड)
Oriya: Elchi (એલ્ચી)
Punjabi:
Hari ilaichi (ਹਰੀ ਇਲੈਚੀ), Ilachi (ਇਲਾਚੀ)
Sanskrit:
Ela (एला), Tikshn Gandh (तीक्ष्णगंधा)
Tamil:
Elakkai (ஏலக்காய்)
Telugu:
Yelakulu (యేలకులు), Velukalu (వెలుకలు)
Latin (Botanical): Elettaria cardamomum
Arabic: Hayl (هيل), Hal (هال),  Habbahan (حبهان), Habbu al-han (حب الهان,)
Chinese:
Baahk dau kau (白豆蔻)
Dutch:
Kardemom
French: Cardamome (vert)
German: (Grüner) Kardamom, (Grüner) Cardamom
Greek: Kardamo (Κάρδαμο),
Kakoules (Κακουλές)
Italian: Cardamomo (verde)
Japanese: Karudamon (カルダモン), Shōzuku (ショウズク)
Portuguese: Cardamomo
Swedish
: Kardemumma

What exactly is cardamom?

Get to know more about Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum)

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is an herbaceous perennial plant from the Zingiberaceae (ginger family).

It has branching subterranean rootstock, from which arise a number of upright leafy shoots, 5-18 feet high, bearing alternate, elliptical or lanceolate sheathing leaves, 1-3 feet long.

Cardamom or elaichi is a spice made from the seed pods of the various cardamom plants, a close relative to ginger and turmeric, that is native to South India.

The triangle-shaped pods are made up of spindle-shaped clusters of seeds with a thin outer shell that can be enjoyed both whole or ground.

Once picked, the fresh cardamom pods are taken to high-temperature driers to dry out. Post-drying, the pods are sorted into different grades based on size (diameter), weight and colour.

There are two main types of cardamom: black cardamom and green cardamom. I am told that fully ripened cardamoms can also be of white or red varieties, but I haven’t seen them till date.

Originating from various regions in the Indian Subcontinent, Cardamom today ranks among the most expensive spices in the world. It is hence rightfully called “The Queen of Spices”.

Cardamom is the third most expensive spice in the world after saffron and vanilla.

Prized for its aroma as well as its versatility as a flavouring agent, Cardamom is used in numerous recipes from spicy dishes to desserts and beverages.

What is the nutritional value of Cardamom?

Find out about the nutritional value of Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum)

Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. it is also an excellent source of iron and manganese.

These aromatic pods are rich in many vital vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C which is essential for optimum health.

The therapeutic properties of cardamom oil have found application in many traditional medicines as an antiseptic and local anesthetic, and antioxidant playing a disease-preventing role.

What is the chemical composition of Cardamom or Elaichi?

Know and understand about chemical composition of Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum)

The content of essential oil in the seeds is strongly dependent on storage conditions, but may be as high as 8%.

The oil is composed of oxygenated monoterpene derivatives: α-terpineol 45%, myrcene 27%, limonene 8%, menthone 6%, β-phellandrene 3%, 1,8-cineol 2%, sabinene 2% and heptane 2%.

Other sources report 1,8-cineol (20 to 50%), α-terpinylacetate (30%), sabinene, limonene (2 to 14%), linalool (and its acetate), α-terpineol, terpin-4-ol and borneol.

What is the history of Cardamom or Elaichi?

Know more about the origins & the story behind Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum)

This distant relative of ginger appears to have originated in the Kerala Hills in the Western Ghats of southern India.

So abundant were these wild plants, the whole region was named the Cardamom Hills, a name that remains to this day.

References to cardamom in ancient Sanskrit texts date back five thousand years to the Late Vedic period.

Cardamom is also mentioned in Sanskrit texts of the 4th century BC in a treatise on politics – Kautilya’s Arthashastra & Taittiriya Samhita where it is used in offerings during ceremonies.

Both Babylonians and Assyrians were quite well informed about many plants of medicinal importance. It reached Babylon by 7000 BCE and arrived in Greece no later than 50 CE.

Assyrian doctors and chemists were known to use many herbs, and among the 200 or so plants known to them included cardamom, cumin, dill, fennel, Origanum, thyme, saffron and sesame.

At around the same time, the Greeks were using two varieties from the East which they called amomon and kardamomon which could be the source of the name.

In Greece and Rome, spices were symbols of luxury, and they occupied a proud place in social ceremonies and functions.

Cardamom, cassia, cinnamon and sweet marjoram were among the ingredients of their perfumes, while anise, basil, fennel leaves, coriander and garlic were among their aphrodisiacs.

Dioscorides (40—90 AD), the Greek physician & author of the famous Materia Medica, mentioned cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, pepper and turmeric & many herbs as useful medicines.

Later Roman writers also distinguished two varieties – green & black, but it is not clear from the descriptions whether they were the true cardamom that we recognise today.

A document, the Ebers Papyrus, dated to about 1500 BC, chronicles that ancient Egyptians were using it for medicines, embalming and other ritualistic practices.

Vikings discovered it whilst on their travels in Constantinople and on the caravan routes. And they introduced it to Scandinavia where it remains popular.

In the 11th century in India cardamom was included in the list of ingredients for panch sugandha-thambula or ‘five-fragrance betel chew’ in the Manasollasa or Book of Splendour.

It was also included in recipes from the court of the Sultan of Mandu dating from about 1500. These recipes include sherbets and rice dishes flavoured with cardamom.

Linschoten in his Journal of Indian Travels (1596) describes two forms of cardamoms used in South India; and he called them Lesser and Greater cardamom.

This means that the Nepal (large or black) cardamom was reaching South India 4000 years ago.

The first elaichi plantations were established by British colonists in the 19th century and this is where a lot of today’s green and black cardamom come from.

True cardamom became an article of trade with South Asia in the last thousand years when Arab traders brought it into widespread use.

Arabs traders kept the sources of the spices a secret from Mediterranean merchants. Even historians like Pliny thought that cardamom was produced in Arabia.

The discovery of the sea route and the landing of Portuguese in the West Coast of India started the collection and export of pepper, ginger and cardamom directly to Europe.

Linschoten writes about lesser cardamom as “it most growth in Calicut and Cannanore, places on the coast of Malabar.

Exports from the Malabar coast, close to where cardamoms grew wild, were also described by the Portuguese traveller Barbosa in 1524.

The earliest writings on cardamom growing in India were those of the officers working for the British East India Company.

The most important among such writings was that of Ludlow, an Assistant Conservator of forests. The other sources were Pharmacographia, Madras Manual and Rices Manual.

This system of cardamom collection from naturally growing plants continued till 1803. Later on as the demand increased, large-scale cultivation was started in India & Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Today, its production is concentrated mainly in India, Sri Lanka and Guatemala.

Cardamom was introduced in Guatemala only in early 1920s from Sri Lanka or India with the help of a New York broker and was planted in the vicinity of Coban in the Department at Alta Verapaz.

After the second world war cardamom production in Guatemala expanded considerably mainly because of the shortage for cardamom and the high prize prevailing at that time.

Guatemala soon became the largest cardamom producer in the world and remains so till date.

It seems that the Guatemalans do not relish the taste of cardamom, and so almost the entire production is exported.

What are the uses of Cardamom or Elaichi?

How are Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum) used?

Cardamom or Elaichi is an important Indian spice that not only makes your food delicious but has numerous health benefits.

  • The methanolic extract from cardamom is the component that may help in controlling gastrointestinal discomforts such as acidity, flatulence, and stomach cramps.
  • Consuming cardamom powder has been observed to lessen the severity of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
  • Cardamom steeped in boiling water is recommended as a morning gargling solution to control painful sore throats.
  • In Ayurveda, it is used as a remedy for urinary tract diseases and kidney disorders such as cystitis, nephritis, and bleeding.
  • It is also popular as a breath freshener and digestive aid in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
  • It is used as a flavoring spice in Indian cuisine. Its use is not just limited to hot and spicy dishes.
  • Its seeds are added to desserts, baked goods, meatloaves, and beverages to complement the flavour.
  • It is often added to coffee and masala chai.
  • Cardamom is features in garam masala as well as Moroccan seven-spice blends, some Thai curry pastes & Lebanese baharat.
  • In Korea, cardamom is used with unripe plums and sandalwood in a tea called jeho-tang.

What does Cardamom taste like?

What is the taste of Green Cardamom or Elaichi?

Green cardamom has a zesty citrus flavor that can be somewhat sweet and spicy at the same time. It offers a complex mix of sweet, peppery, floral flavours. Elaichi is herbal and highly fragrant as well.

How Much Cardamom or Elaichi Should I Use?

What is the the recommended quantity of Cardamom or Elaichi for a day?

Too much fresh cardamom will overwhelm other spices and may even leave your dish tasting bitter.

For the freshest flavor, grinding your own cardamom seeds is a great idea. As a rough guideline, there are about a dozen seeds per pod, and 10 pods will produce about 1.5 teaspoons of ground cardamom.

What are the ayurvedic properties of Cardamom or Elaichi?

Information about ayurvedic details of Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum).

Cardamom or Elaichi has been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for mouth ulcers, digestive problems, and even depression.

The seeds, oils and extracts of cardamom are known to have impressive medicinal properties.

Rasa (Taste): Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities): Laghu (Light to Digest), Ruksha (Dry)
Veerya (Potency): Ushna (Hot)
Vipaka (Taste conversion after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
Karma (Actions): It balances Vata, Pitta, and Kapha (though it can aggravate Vata and pitta when taken in excess).

What can I use Cardamom for?

Learn how to use Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum) in your food & beverages.

Apart from significant health benefits of Cardamom, Elaichi lends its distinctive flavour to various Indian curries & biryani.

  • Elaichi is used to spice both sweet and savoury dishes. It is widely employed in Indian, Middle Eastern, Arabic, and Swedish cuisine.
  • Whole cardamom pods, black and green, are both used in preparing biryani and various Indian curries.
  • In Middle Eastern recipes, ground cardamom enhances the flavour of certain desserts like Om Ali.
  • Recipes using black cardamom often call for using the whole pod, with the seeds intact. The pods are then discarded after cooking is done as chomping into the whole pod is unpleasant.
  • Cardamom is used generously to season everything from baked goods to biryanis & from hamburgers to meatloaves.
  • It marries well with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in autumn-spiced recipes.
  • Cardamom is an integral part of the everyday used Indian spice mixture – the garam masala.
  • Drinks like mulled wine to hot cider to eggnog to coffee also taste better from an unexpected hint of cardamom.
  • Green cardamom, is combined with condensed milk and sugar to make sweets collectively referred to as mithai.
  • Green cardamom is also used to flavour coffee and teas, most notably Masala chai.
  • Use in place of (or alongside) other warm spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Add to pancake, waffle, and French toast batter or even pastries, cookies, cakes or scones.
  • Use to flavor apple pie or any fruit desserts.
  • Stir into softened cream cheese for a fruit dip & even to puddings or custards.
  • Include in water when making rice or other grains.
  • Add it to your quick bread recipes (like banana or zucchini bread).
  • Add to tomato sauce for pasta dishes.
  • Add to homemade ice cream recipes.

How do I prepare Cardamom for food?

Learn how to prepare Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum) for your food & beverages.
  • Dried Cardamom Powder or Elaichi powder – use the cardamom powder when you’re using it as a spice, add it when you are adding the other masalas like coriander & red chilli in your recipe.
  • Whole green cardamom – To use whole green cardamom for a curry add it with other whole spices at the beginning. This seasons the cooking oil really well.
  • To use cardamom pods, place in a mortar and lightly pound with a pestle. The pods will open and the seeds will fall out. Use the pestle to grind the seeds, if desired.
  • Some of us like to lightly toast the pods in a dry pan before removing the seeds for grinding.

Can I eat all parts of Cardamom?

What parts of Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum) plant are used for food & beverages.

Cardamom or Elaichi is used as a spice. Its pods and hence the seeds are used. It is used

  • whole seed pods with the seeds inside
  • cardamom spice powder, which manufacturers produce from both pods & seeds.
  • a herbal supplement, usually in the form of a capsule.
  • an essential oil

How long does Cardamom last?

Learn about how long does Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum) last in storage.

  • Ground Cardamom – Ground cardamom seeds or powder has a shelf life of only a few months because the essential oils begin to dissipate as soon as the seeds are ground. It does not spoil, but it will start to lose potency over time.
  • Fresh green cardamom – Properly stored, cardamom seed will generally stay at best quality for about 3 to 4 years.

How do I store Cardamom?

Learn about how to store Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum).
  • Ground Cardamom – Properly stored, ground cardamom will generally stay at best quality for about 6 months to a year. You can refrigerate it to make it last longer.
  • Fresh cardamom or elaichi – to maximise the shelf life of cardamom seeds, you should store them in a cool, dark cupboard, away from direct heat or sunlight.

Cardamom pod with seeds | hari elaichi

Is there a substitute for Cardamom or Elaichi?

Learn how to use a substitute for Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum) if unavailable

Cardamom has a complex flavour. It is a combination of fruity, nutty, herbal, woody, and citrusy- all at the same time. This means that it’s very distinct and not often easy to replicate!

The best cardamom or elaichi substitute – Mix equal parts of cinnamon and allspice. However, it doesn’t have the complexity or uniqueness of cardamom.

You can also mix together equal parts of ground cinnamon and nutmeg. If nutmeg is not available, use cloves of equal quantity.

Where do I buy Cardamom or Elaichi from?

Where to Locate Cardamom or Elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum) in a Grocery Store?

Check the spice aisle first for cardamom pods and ground cardamom. However, it is better and cheaper to buy pods and grind them to use as required by the recipe.

Buy cardamom or elaichi on Amazon: India | USA

What are the health benefits of cardamom?

Learn more about health benefits of cardamom or elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum)

Prized for their healing qualities health benefits of cardamom or health benefits of elaichi bring it to daily use in our lives.

Hence, it’s popularity. It is one of the most expensive spices in the world, only surpassed by saffron and vanilla.

The health benefits of elaichi range from curing dental problems and urinary tract infections to improving blood circulation in the body, alleviating depression and controlling cholesterol as well as cancer to name a few.

Did you know: Even the chewing gum manufacturer Wrigley uses the spice in one of its products.

Read on to find out what health benefits of cardamom or health benefits elaichi are:

  1. Health benefits of cardamom as an antioxidant – Many of the vitamins, phytonutrients, and essential oils in cardamom act as antioxidants, cleaning up free radicals and resisting cellular ageing. Antioxidants have been linked to lower blood pressure as well.
  2. Health benefits of elaichi as a diuretic – It helps clean out the urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys, removing waste, salt, excess water, toxins, and combating infections too. It contains compounds that are known to increase the movement of food through the intestine.
  3. Health benefits of cardamom in digestion – Cardamom has been shown to reduce indigestion, gas and bloating by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes which are activated by smelling and tasting the spice. It is especially helpful after a meal as it makes heavy and acidic foods easier to digest. One of the significant health benefits of cardamom.
  4. Health benefits of elaichi for blood pressure – Black cardamom is often touted as an effective remedy for treating high blood sugar levels. Cardamom is rich in manganese which helps in controlling blood sugar levels in the body.
  5. Health benefits of cardamom for diabetics – A study on the health benefits of cardamom on obese rats found that supplementation with cardamom powder improved blood glucose levels significantly.
  6. Health benefits of elaichi as a cure for hiccups – Cardamom is an antispasmodic that can help get rid of hiccups. This also applies to other involuntary muscle spasms, like the stomach and intestinal cramps.
  7. Health benefits of cardamom as an aphrodisiac – While there are no scientific studies on the aphrodisiac properties of cardamom, it has been praised in Ayurveda as a powerful spice that supports male sexual health and feelings of intimacy.
  8. Health benefits of elaichi as an immunity booster – The volatile essential oils & Vitamin C in cardamom inhibit the growth of viruses, bacteria, fungus, and mould leading to better immunity.
  9. Health benefits of cardamom support more restful sleep – Cardamom powder is often used along with several other ingredients to create a nourishing Ayurvedic sleep tonics. Smelling the fragrant aroma of cardamom essential oil before going to bed has been shown to promote more restful sleep in people.
  10. Health benefits of elaichi in oral hygiene – A major component of cardamom oil called cineole is known for its antimicrobial properties that promote oral hygiene and it also fights bacteria that cause bad breath. Apart from this, cardamom is also used for mouth ulcers and infections of the mouth and throat.
  11. Health benefits of cardamom against cold and flu – Cardamom may help prevent and relieve cold and flu symptoms. It’s also used for bronchitis and coughs. It’s must to have elaichi daily to harness the health benefits of cardamom.
  12. Health benefits of elaichi to improve breathing – Compounds in cardamom may help increase airflow to your lungs and improve breathing. When used in aromatherapy, cardamom can provide an invigorating odour that enhances your body’s ability to use oxygen during exercise
  13. Health benefits of cardamom to help fight depression – Ayurvedic medicine endorses cardamom tea as a means to fight depression.
  14. Health benefits of elaichi may help fight cancer – The compounds in cardamom may help fight cancer cells. Studies in mice have shown that cardamom powder can increase the activity of certain enzymes that help fight cancer. Another one of the major health benefits of cardamom.
Health Benefits of Cardamom
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Cardamom - Make Cardamom Powder | Homemade Elaichi Powder

Cardamom Powder | Homemade Elaichi Powder - Cardamom powder is really quick to make and keeps well up to 6 months. Though elaichi or cardamom is used as a whole in Indian recipes, cardamom powder is also needed to lift up the spice quotient. Use it for biryani, curries, gravies and most of the Indian sweets.
Course Spice Powders, Spices
Cuisine World
Keyword cardamom powder, Elaichi, How to make cardamom powder, How to make elaichi powder
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 20 people
Calories 3.11kcal
Author Sumit Malhotra

Ingredients

  • 500 gram Green Cardamom Hari Elaichi
  • 0.5 tsp Sugar

Instructions

  • Put a non-stick frying pan on the flame.
  • Maintain the heat on medium.
  • Add half of the cardamom (1 cup) to the heated pan.
  • Dry roast the cardamom stirring regularly.
  • When the cardamom pod has a few golden spots visible.
  • Get them off the pan.
  • Cool them down completely then transfer to a clean mixer-grinder dry grinder jar.
  • Add sugar and grind to a fine powder (this may take up to two iterations).
  • Store in an airtight container, preferably a glass container.

Notes

  • Add a little amount of sugar in each batch for making cardamom powder. This makes a very smooth elaichi powder.
  • Grind the entire cardamom pod with seeds. The powder be more flavourful
  • If grinding the whole pod, grind it twice for better smoothness.

Cardamom powder is really quick to make and keeps well up to 6 months. Though elaichi or cardamom is used as a whole in Indian recipes, cardamom powder is also needed to lift up the spice quotient.

It is frequently used in biryani, curries, gravies and most of the Indian sweets so having cardamom handy is a must.

Adding cardamom powder to your meals or coffee for that matter, is the easiest way of using the health benefits of cardamom.

Cardamom, cloves and black peppercorns

What are the side effects of cardamom or elaichi?

What are the risks associated with cardamom or elaichi?

There are no reported risks of using cardamom in cooking or any known adverse side effects. Using cardamom as a spice and flavouring agent is safe for most people.

If used for prolonged time and in excessive quantities, cardamom might lead to some unexplained allergic reactions.

If you are hypersensitive to cardamom, you experience a type of respiratory trouble from excessive use.

Excessive consumption of cardamom can also trigger stomach disorders, nausea, vomiting and in extreme cases gallbladder problems.

FINALLY, TO SUM IT UP

All About Cardamom & Cardamom | Uses & Benefits of Elaichi

Green cardamom or hari elaichi & black cardamom or badi elaichi

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is a is a herbaceous, perennial plant in the ginger family, native to southern India.

It is also cultivated widely in tropical regions and reportedly naturalized in Réunion, Indochina, and Costa Rica.

Although India is the largest producer of cardamom, only a small share of the Indian production is exported because of the large domestic demand.

It is the most common of the species whose seeds are used as a spice called cardamom.

Cardamom is a spice with an intense, slightly sweet flavor that some people compare to mint. It originated in India but is available worldwide today and used in both sweet and savory recipes.

The seeds, oils and extracts of cardamom are thought to have impressive medicinal properties and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries.

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