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History and Health Benefits of Cardamom

Last updated: 11 Jan 2024  | 

Cardamom is a type of spice produced from the seeds of several plants from the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the Zingiberaceae family (ginger family). These two genera are native to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, and Pakistan; Cardamom seeds can be identified by their small seed pods, triangular in cross-section, and spindle-shaped, with a thin outer skin, and small black seeds.

There are two primary varieties of cardamom: green cardamom/Java cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) and black cardamom/Sebrang Cardamom (Amomum subulatum). Green cardamom is the most common and popular variety, known for its vibrant green pods and sweet, floral flavor. Black cardamom, on the other hand, features larger, darker pods with a smoky, earthy taste. Both varieties have distinct characteristics and are used in different cuisines and preparations.

The Health Benefits of Cardamom:
Quoted from, cardamom has several benefits, including:
1. Controls blood pressure
Cardamom has long been known as a herbal remedy for hypertension sufferers. A study revealed that cardamom is rich in antioxidant compounds that have the property of lowering and controlling blood pressure.
In addition, research also suspects that cardamom has a diuretic effect, which can reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension.

2. Prevent chronic disease
In addition to maintaining normal blood pressure, the antioxidant content in cardamom is also useful for protecting body cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Not only that, cardamom also has anti-inflammatory compounds that can fight inflammation. Both of these ingredients can reduce the risk of chronic disease if consumed regularly.

3. Overcoming digestive problems
A study states that cardamom extract mixed with other herbal ingredients is thought to be able to overcome digestive problems, ranging from dyspepsia, nausea and vomiting, to stomach ulcers.
However, research to determine the effectiveness of the benefits of cardamom is still limited to animal trials, so further research is still needed to determine its effectiveness in humans.

4. Treat bacterial infections
The next benefit of cardamom is treating bacterial infections. A study shows that cardamom essential oil and extract contain compounds that can fight several types of bacteria, such as E. coli, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, and Campylobacter.
However, this research is still limited to laboratory tests. Therefore, further research is still needed to determine its effectiveness as an antibacterial in humans.

5. Prevent bad breath and cavities
Cardamom is also known for its benefits in preventing bad breath. Not only that, chewing this spice is also known to make your breath fresher.
In addition, thanks to the content of antibacterial compounds in it, cardamom is also thought to be effective in preventing cavities. However, the effectiveness of the benefits of cardamom still requires further research.

6. Against cancer cells
Compounds in cardamom are thought to activate enzymes and immune cells that are useful for fighting cancer cells. However, so far, this potential is still based on experiments conducted on animals only. Therefore, further research is still needed to determine the effectiveness of cardamom in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in the body.

Culinary Uses:
Cardamom is a versatile spice that adds depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes. It is a staple in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian cuisines. In Indian cooking, it is a key component of spice blends like garam masala and biryani. Cardamom's sweet and aromatic notes make it a delightful addition to desserts, pastries, and beverages. It infuses warmth into chai tea, enhances the flavor of baked goods, and complements savory dishes such as curries, rice pilaf, and stews.
Cardamom is known for its medicinal properties and has been used traditionally to aid digestion, soothe stomach ailments, and freshen breath. It contains compounds that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potentially valuable addition to a healthy diet. Cardamom tea or infusions are often consumed to alleviate digestive discomfort and promote overall well-being.
Cardamom holds cultural significance in various regions around the world. In India, it is associated with festive occasions and is used in religious ceremonies, culinary traditions, and Ayurvedic medicine. In the Middle East, cardamom-infused coffee is a symbol of hospitality. Scandinavian countries include cardamom in holiday recipes such as gingerbread cookies and mulled wine. Cardamom's distinct aroma and taste have become intertwined with cultural practices, evoking a sense of tradition and celebration.
Beyond its traditional uses, cardamom has found its way into contemporary culinary creations. It adds a unique twist to cocktails, ice creams, and even savory dishes like marinades and salad dressings. Cardamom's versatile nature allows it to be used in both traditional and innovative ways, appealing to adventurous cooks and chefs worldwide.

Nutrition facts in 100g of Cardamom:

1. Calories 311
2. Fat 6.7g
3. Carbs 68.47g
4. Protein 10.76g

Cultivation Method:
Selection of Planting Locations. Cardamom is generally cultivated by means of monoculture and agroforestry or more precisely plants that require shade and are best planted together with other plants such as mahogany and sengon.
Selection of quality seeds. This selection can be done genetically by seeding or vegetatively or by using new shoots.
Maintenance. Maintaining cardamom is almost the same as maintaining plants in general. Such as providing fertilizer, cleaning grass and weeds, and destroying pests (HPT).
Harvest. Cardamom plants have 2 harvest periods. the first, in general, cardamom begins to flower at the age of 7-8 months. and can be harvested after the age of 12-13 months. the second period is the main harvest which usually occurs in July - October and January - April in the second year.
Post-harvest. the thing to do after harvesting is shelling, namely separating the cardamom from its mother. cleaning is cleaning the cardamom from all the dirt that sticks. Drying is usually done using direct sunlight with a drying time of 4-5 days. and storage packed using plastic sacks.

Cardamom, with its captivating aroma and distinctive flavor profile, has captivated taste buds and influenced culinary traditions for centuries. From its ancient roots to its modern applications, this versatile spice continues to delight and inspire. Whether enhancing traditional recipes or adding a touch of innovation to contemporary creations, cardamom remains a treasured ingredient in kitchens worldwide. Embrace the allure of cardamom and embark on a flavorful journey enriched by its fascinating history and diverse culinary possibilities.
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