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How to Use Cardamom for Medicinal Purposes

Mrunal Belvalkar
Cardamom is one of the spices that enriches the taste of Indian cuisine. But did you know it also has medicinal significance? Find out here what all you can treat or cure with cardamom.
If we were to take a look at the different plants that humans consume and where they originated from, I would have to say India gave the world 'taste'; because most of the spices commonly used in cooking - garlic, clove, curry leaves, black pepper, cumin, asafoetida, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric - are all native to South-East Asia, particularly to India!
Cardamom is another such spice that native to India (along with Bhutan). The plant belongs to the Zingiberaceae family of plants (the same family that Ginger belongs to). Cardamom is either green (genus Elettaria) or dark brown (genus Amomum) in color.
The green version is the more commonly consumed one. It comes in two main varieties - the Malabar variety, native to Kerala; and the Mysore variety, native to Karnataka.
Apart from being consumed as a spice, cardamom has also been medicinally used for a number of minor ailments. Read on to find out more about the medicinal properties of this condiment.

Medicinal Properties

There are a number of benefits of this spice. It helps you get rid of throat problems. It even keeps tooth infections at bay. Cardamom does wonders on your digestive system and helps settle an upset stomach. There are also references of cardamom being used to treat snake and scorpion bites in ancient medicine.
Cardamom was largely used in ancient Chinese, Indian and many other medicines. Including this spice in your diet on a daily basis is one of the best things you can do for your body.

How to Consume Cardamom

In Hot Beverages

A few seeds added to your daily tea or coffee, and you have yourself a cup of tea/coffee with an interesting twist!
Cardamom is easiest to consume this way. Besides it transforms your plain old boring tea or coffee into a refreshing new drink... and who doesn't like change?

Cardamom Tea

Cardamom, along with a few other medicinal Indian spices such as ginger, cinnamon and clove, will give you a cup of good health.
Herbal tea thus prepared tastes yummy with a dollop of honey and a slice of lemon. Cardamom tea is easy to make and will keep you fresh and energized throughout the day.

In Desserts

Cardamom pods found in the market can be peeled to get the seeds. Grinding the seeds will give you a fine powder.
Add the powder to cakes, pastries, pan-cakes, biscuits, cookies and you have yourself a healthy snack! The spicy taste is quite a welcome surprise and bound to be a hit among your family and friends.

In Salad Sauces

Adding a little bit of cardamom in dips or sauces can be a nice way to give ordinary dishes a different and unique flavor.
For fresh salads without sauces, you can simply sprinkle a little bit of the powder on the salad directly, just the way you add salt and pepper. It will leave your guests wondering what is that special taste, and why your salads always taste different!

Raw Cardamom

The best way to consume cardamom to get rid of minor teeth problems and keep plaque and decay at bay is to chew on raw cardamom.
Pop a few pods into your mouth after every meal. It even acts as a mouth freshener and keeps bad breath away. Cardamom could be a healthy alternative to chewing gums.
Finally, here is a general tip: cardamom can be used in most recipes in place of cinnamon. That does not mean it is a cinnamon substitute, but you can use the powder in almost all those recipes that ask you to use cinnamon, especially to enhance flavor of the recipe.
Cardamom sure has many health benefits, as we have just seen; and there are many ways in which you can use cardamom for medicinal purposes. However, one thing to be remembered with any home remedy is that - they are not for one-time use!
One has to develop it as a good health habit. You cannot have a few pods after you get a tooth cavity it has to be an ongoing process. And it is the same with all other medicinal herbs and spices as well. Nibble your way to good health!