Cardamom is found in the form of a small pod with black seeds inside. Both the seeds and the pod give a pleasant aroma and flavor. Therefore, they are used as flavoring agents in Indian cuisine. Its use is just not just limited to hot and spicy dishes; the seeds are also added to desserts and beverages to complement the sweet flavor. Cardamom tea is a very famous beverage, along with ginger tea, in India.
In India, cardamom was traditionally considered as an herb and was one of the ingredients in Ayurveda (the ancient Indian science of medicine and lifestyle) and traditional Chinese medicine. It was believed to be a remedy for teeth and gum infections, throat problems, congestion of the lungs, pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of the eyelids, gastrointestinal disorders, disintegrating kidney, and gall bladder stones, and was also used as an antidote for poisons and venoms.
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Health Benefits of Cardamom
Anti-Carcinogenic Properties: Cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, is one of the leading causes of death around the world. The rising cost of conventional cancer therapy and the subsequent side effects have encouraged researchers to look for alternatives that are sustainable. Studies conducted by Sengupta et al. at Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in Kolkata have shown that dietary cardamom had a positive result in counteracting colorectal cancer to an extent of 48%.
The micronutrients found in cardamom can counteract the surge of lipids in the body. In experiments conducted at the Pharmacology and Toxicology Division at Hindustan Antibiotics Limited in Pune, India by Dhuley, hepatic and cardiac antioxidant enzymes from cardamom were administered to mice, which were fed a high-fat diet. The antioxidant enzymes had an influence on the cholesterol levels and helped in significantly controlling them.
Cardamom has been traditionally used in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and the Unani system as a remedy for gastrointestinal disorders. The methanolic extract from cardamom is the component that helps in controlling gastrointestinal disorders such as acidity, flatulence, and stomach cramps. Studies conducted by Jamal et al. at the Department of Chemistry, Jamia Hamdard, in New Delhi, India have concluded that the extracted volatile oils from cardamom have shown positive effects on gastrointestinal disorders.