Healing Herbs Found in Your Kitchen: Cardamom

Cardamom is common spice found in most kitchens. It comes in the form of either green pods full of seeds, just the seeds, or ground into a powder. The scientific name for cardamom is Elettaria cardamomum. It is a plant native to India. The pods are green or brown and when opened contain many little black seeds which exude a wonderfully pleasant aroma when crushed.

My favorite way of using cardamom is to buy the pods in bulk and grind the seeds by hand with a mortar and pestle at the time of use. This method preserves the oils in the seeds. Cardamom can be used in many recipes such as curries and also in many Scandinavian baked goods such as breads and cookies.

The health benefits of cardamom are many. They include improving cardiovascular health, assisting in digestion, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, some suggest that cardamom may help with depression. Along with the benefits are certain caveats. Some people may be allergic to cardamom. In addition, cardamom may have some drug interactions with specific medications such as antidepressants, liver medications, anticoagulants and aspirin. Contact your physician prior to starting any herbal remedies.


Spicy Cardamom Tea

This is a lovely spiced tea that features cardamom.

4 Cups of pure water- bring to a boil

Add the following:

1TBS of crushed cardamom seeds

3 whole cloves

3 pepper corns

1 cinnamon stick

2 slices of orange with the rind

Steep for 20 min and add honey to sweeten

Strain into a teapot or teacups

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