CardamomCardamom is called the queen of spices. It's one the most expensive spices, with only vanilla and saffron being more expensive. In the Netherlands cardamom is mostly known as an ingredient of the so called 'speculaas' herbal mixture, to which it adds a fresh, peppery citrus aroma. Cardamom is a spice that originated in India, but nowadays it's grown in all tropical regions of Asia. In Asia cardamom is widely used in traditional medicine. It has many of the same benefits as the botanically related ginger. Cardamom is used in the Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine for example for treating digestive problems, dental problems, as an aphrodisiac and even in the treatment of depression.

Zwarte & groene kardemomThere are two types of cardamom, the common green variant and the black cardamom. Black cardamom is grown mainly in the foothills of the Himalaya and on Java. It has a slightly more smoky flavor. Outside of Asia this form of cardamom is hardly sold commercially.

Both the seeds and the pods provide a fresh aroma, so they are often added whole to Indian dishes. The use of cardamom is not limited to hot and spicy dishes, the seeds are also used to flavor lots of Indian desserts and sweets. Also, cardamom is an standard ingredient of the Indian chai tea, you can easily add the pods to your own herbal tea.

About 80 percent of the world production of cardamom is exported to Arab countries, where cardamom is often added to the coffee. The caffeine in the coffee normally causes an increased excretion of the minerals calcium, magnesium and sodium, but the cardamom which is added counteracts this undesired effect. Adding a little freshly ground cardamom to your coffee ensures that these beneficial minerals stay available for your body.

Groene kardemomCardamom is a good source of many kinds of minerals, in particular it contains lots of iron and manganese. The mineral iron is among other things necessary for the formation of hemoglobin, which is necessary for oxygen transport in the blood and is, therefore, an important mineral for people suffering from anemia. Manganese is used by the body among other things to remove free radicals that are a cause for lots of diseases. Other minerals which we find in cardamom are zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and copper. Also, cardamom contains some vitamins and it is a good source of dietary fiber.

A few of the many health benefits of cardamom in a row:

  • Cardamom is beneficial with lots of digestive problems such as nausea, constipation, indigestion, heartburn and flatulence.
  • Cardamom is a good remedy for colds, it promotes coughing up of mucus and reduces the mucus secretion.
  • Cardamom aids the body in removing waste from the kidneys, urinary tract and bladder.
  • Cardamom reduces blood pressure significantly because it helps in the removal of waste and because it contains lots of dietary fiber.
  • Cardamom provides a lower and more constant heart rate.
  • Cardamom in your diet reduces your risk for colon cancer by half.
  • Cardamom is a good remedy for muscle spasms and can help if you have the hiccups, but also with stomach and intestinal cramps it can bring relief.
  • Cardamom is a good source of the minerals iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and copper.
  • Cardamom contains the vitamins A, B1,B2, B3, B6, and vitamin C.
  • Cardamom contains lots of dietary fiber that promote digestion.
  • Cardamom has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  • Cardamom promotes oral hygiene, it not only freshens the breath but it also helps to fight all kinds of infections in the mouth.