Cardamom is native to the evergreen forests of India. This spice is commonly used in Indian cuisine, but it has also made its way into Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for mouth ulcers, digestive problems, and even depression.
There are two types of cardamom, the common green one and the less commonly used in Europe, black cardamom. The green ones have a pale green shell and inside lie a cluster of intense aromatic tiny black seeds which can be ground into a powder. When they are used whole it is usually in rice dishes and curries and can be removed before serving. Black cardamom is very different in taste and size and have a smokier flavour. It is used mostly in the preparation of Garam masala, and in rice and lentil dishes.
The Benefits of Cardamom
Some of the health benefits of this peppery, citrusy spice are now making their way into modern studies. It’s well worth adding cardamom to your food for the flavour alone, but these health benefits are also something to consider.
- Digestion – Cardamom is related to ginger and can be used in much the same way to counteract digestive problems. Use it to combat nausea, acidity, bloating, gas, heartburn, loss of appetite, constipation, and much more.
- Detoxify – it helps the body eliminate waste through the kidneys.
- Cold and Flu – It may help prevent and relieve cold and flu symptoms. It’s also used for bronchitis and coughs.
- Antioxidant – Many of the vitamins, phytonutrients, and essential oils in cardamom act as antioxidants, cleaning up free radicals and resisting cellular aging.
- Cardamom is also believed to possess anti-depressant properties. Cardamom essential oil is one of the major oils used in aromatherapy.
How You Can Use Cardamom
Here in Spain it is a spice that is used more and more now to add flavour to desserts. In Soul Spices you will find it in many of my recipes including the delicious and soothing Masala tea, the decadent Flourless Cardamom chocolate cake and some of the rice dishes.