HEALTH BENEFITS OF CARDAMOM | THE CITRUSY & PEPPERY SPICE
Health benefits of Cardamom are numerous. They 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.
THE CULINARY PROWESS OF CARDAMOM
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”. 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.
Cardamom has two main subtypes which are easily distinguishable by their colour: Green coloured cardamom is the most valued while the other fully ripened cardamom comes in black colour. I am told that fully ripened cardamoms can also be of white or red, but I haven’t seen it till date.
Cardamom is used in many Indian preparations such as a masala chai (tea), a sweet creamy kheer or a rich decadent biryani. It lends a distinct aroma and a sweet flavour which makes the dish almost intriguing and very appetising.
Cardamom comes in the form of a pod with numerous small black seeds inside it. Both the pod and the seeds are extremely fragrant and flavourful. Considering the numerous health benefits of Cardamom, it is a waste that most people use it just for its aroma and flavour.
CARDAMOM IN AYURVEDA
Both green & black cardamom are commonly used in Indian, Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It has been used forever in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for mouth ulcers, digestive problems, and even depression.
It’s well worth adding cardamom to your food for the flavour alone, but these health benefits of cardamom are also something to consider whenever you break out the spices. The seeds, oils and extracts of cardamom are thought to have impressive medicinal properties and have been used in traditional ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
Cardamom’s warming and detoxifying effects aid in reducing the accumulation of ama (toxins) in the body and maintaining good health. In addition, cardamom helps in reducing Kapha in the stomach and lungs (such as congestion and mucous) and pacifies Vata, which when out of balance can lead to anxiety.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CARDAMOM OR ELAICHI | ELAICHI KE FAYADE
Prized for their healing qualities health benefits of cardamom 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.
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 elaichi are:
- 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.
- 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.
- Aids 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.
- Aids 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.
- It’s diabetic-friendly – A study on the health benefits of cardamom on obese rats found that supplementation with cardamom powder improved blood glucose levels significantly.
- Cure for hiccups – Cardamom is an anti-spasmodic that can help get rid of hiccups. This also applies to other involuntary muscle spasms, like the stomach and intestinal cramps.
- 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.
- Immunity booster – The volatile essential oils & Vitamin C in cardamom inhibit the growth of viruses, bacteria, fungus, and mould leading to better immunity.
- Supports 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.
- Builds 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.
- 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.
- Improves 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
- Helps fight depression – Ayurvedic medicine endorses cardamom tea as a means to fight depression.
- 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.
CULINARY USES OF CARDAMOM
Apart from the health benefits of Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomom) let’s see it’s culinary uses. 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 has a strong, sweet, pungent flavour and aroma, with hints of lemon and mint. Black cardamom has a smoky note and a cooling menthol one as well.
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.
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 it 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.
Green Cardamom (Hari Elaichi) - 500 grams (2 Cups)
- 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.
- Grind to a fine powder (this may take up to two iterations).
- Store in an airtight container, preferably a glass container.
- Add a little amount of sugar in each batch. This makes a very smooth powder.
- Grind the entire pod with seeds. It'll be more flavourful
- If grinding the whole pod, grind it twice for better smoothness.
MORE INDIAN SPICES & THEIR BENEFITS
- Health Benefits of Fenugreek Seeds or Methi Dana
- Health Benefits of Coriander Seeds or Sookha Dhaniya
- Health Benefits of Cumin Seeds or Jeera
- Health Benefits of Ajwain or Carom Seeds
- Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds or Saunf
- Health Benefits of Turmeric | Delicious & Rejuvenating
- Health Benefits of Cloves | The Strong Bitter Sweet Spice
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