Benefits of black cardamom

Know in one minute about the benefits of black cardamom

  • Black cardamom helps to lose weight, treat diarrhea, dysentery, and indigestion.
  • Reduce pain, inflammation, and high blood pressure problems.
  • Prevent infection from viruses, bacteria, nematodes, and insects.
  • Treat stomach ulcers, lower cholesterol levels, and protect the liver from damage.
  • Good for the heart, liver, kidney, and stomach.
  • It helps to remove toxins from the body thus good for skin and hair.

Introduction

Black cardamom (family Zingiberaceae) is a perennial herbaceous plant. It possesses a sharp smoky flavor and is used in Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, and Middle East cooking (1). Cardamom is the third most expensive spice in the world (after saffron and vanilla). The benefits of black cardamom are improved antioxidant levels, stomach ulcers. Healthy kidney and heart. There are two different types of cardamoms found in the spice world: 

  1. Green cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) popularly known as Chhota Elaichi or the true cardamom, lesser cardamom, Malabar cardamom, and small cardamom.
  2. Black cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb) also called Bada Elaichi or big cardamom (2).

History

Black cardamom has been used in Ayurvedic preparations and the Unani system of medicine. 

The botanical description

The black cardamom plant is 1.5 to 2.5 m tall. The plant produces flower bunches from the base of the plant which produces fruits. The pods are dark brown to black and have tough, dried, wrinkly skin, hence the name ‘black’ cardamom.  

Geographical distribution

Grown mainly in tropical wet evergreen forests of Eastern Himalayas in India, Nepal, and Bhutan.

Common name

Greater Indian, Nepal cardamom, Large cardamom, Heel kalan, Bari Ilaichi, Badi elaichi, Kali elaichi, alainchi or Bengal cardamom 

Nutritional value of black cardamom

The seeds of black cardamom are an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and iron. Black cardamom is also rich in many vital vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C which are essential for the best health (3). Moreover, it also contains phytochemical compounds such as cardamonin, falvanone, cineol, terpinene, and volatile oil (4).

Black cardamom seeds when stem distilled give golden yellow colored oil (3 %). It consists of monoterpenic hydrocarbons (16.3%), oxygenated monoterpenes (75.2%) and sesquiterpenes (6.3%). Its major constituents are 1,8‐cineole (61.3%), α‐terpineol, α‐ and β‐pinene, and allo‐aromadendrene (5).

Health benefits of black cardamom

Some of the benefits of black cardamom are as follows

1. Treat Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a link with high blood pressure, blood sugar, obesity, and abnormal cholesterol levels. It also affects the heart, liver, and gastrointestinal function. However, the intake of black cardamom is more effective to treat all these symptoms than green cardamom. Due to the presence of 1,8-cineole, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber in them (6).

2. Presence of antioxidants

Black cardamom contains phenolic compounds that help to remove harmful radicals from the body (7).  It also activates the antioxidant enzymes and protects them from various diseases (8).

3. Treat stomach ulcer

Black cardamom contains phenolic compounds (flavanones, aurones, or anthocyanins) that are effective in the healing of ulcers of the stomach (9)

4. Keep liver healthy

Black cardamom improves liver function by reducing the activity of the bad enzymes and promotes the removal of bile. Black cardamom also decreases plasma lipid concentrations thus prevent the build-up of fat in the liver and prevent liver damage (10)

5. Antimicrobial properties

Black cardamom oil is effective to fight against Escherichia coli, Bacillus pumilus, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (11). Additionally also inhibits the growth of Streptococcus mutans, Aspergillus niger, and Candida albicans thus helps to cure dental caries. Altogether, black cardamom promotes oral hygiene and it also fights bacteria that cause bad breath  (12).

6. Good for heart health

Intake of 3 g cardamom powder for 12 weeks helps to reduce cholesterol levels, inhibit blood clot formation in the arteries. Moreover, ingestion of one teaspoonful of cardamom powder, twice a day acts as a cardiotonic. Thus, black cardamoms enhance the antioxidant status and are good for heart disease patients (13).

7. Treat cancer

Black cardamom contains cardamonin which helps to kill the cancer cells of the breast and cervical as well as induce apoptosis. (14, 15).

8. Treat hypertension

Black cardamom causes the widening of your blood vessels, which in turn increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure thus treating hypertension (16).

9. Treat inflammation and pain

The topical application of black cardamom essential oil helps to reduce swelling and pain in injured tissue and joints (17). This oil is also effective to relieve inflammation in the eyelids (18).

10. Insecticidal properties

Black cardamom shows nematocidal activity against Caenorhabditis elegans. This oil is also useful to kill the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) and the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta x richteri) (19).

Other benefits of Black Cardamom

  1. Black cardamom helps to flush out the toxins from the body and give clearer skin. 
  2. The spice also improves hair growth, nourishes the hair follicles, and enhances its strength (20).
  3. It is also very useful in curing disorders of the digestive system by reducing the air and water elements and increasing appetite.   
  4. Black cardamom oil is also used as an antiseptic,    antispasmodic,    carminative, digestive,   and tonic to the heart and liver.

Q &A

What is black cardamom used for?

Black cardamom is applicable as a spice in various dish preparations, food essences, perfumes, and medicines. Rice pilaf, meat stews, and lentil curry are prepared using black cardamom. This cardamom is used in Ayurveda to balance all three doshas – Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha in our body.  Cardamom helps in curing colds and coughs and certain respiratory disorders. Black cardamom boosts energy and metabolism as well as treats high blood sugar levels. Apart from this inhalation of black cardamom essential oil may help to treat insomnia and anxiety. Infect black cardamom helps to treat inflammation, cancer, and exhibit antimicrobial properties. Therefore, black cardamom helps to lose weight, lower blood pressure and is good for the heart, liver as well as stomach. 

What is the difference between green and black cardamom?

or

Black cardamom vs green

Black cardamom and green cardamom are from the same plant family, but they are different in many ways from each other. Its quality characteristics are different from those of green cardamom. This spice is useful for its acceptable taste, flavor, and aroma let’s look at some of the differences between these cardamoms.

Green cardamom is harvested before it reaches maturity and the pods are often used without any processing. Whereas, black cardamom was harvested much later and dried by placing it over open flames.

  • The green cardamom is one of the most exotic and highly-priced spices, unlike black cardamom which is much cheaper.
  • Green cardamom can be used as a whole while pods of black cardamom should be discarded and used after the seeds are extracted. Although both types of cardamom are best bought as pods and should only be ground when required.
  • The seeds of black cardamom have properties like those of green cardamom but are much larger (three times).
  • Green cardamom has a sweet flavor while black cardamom adds an intense smoky flavor to dishes. 
  • The black cardamom is used as a spice like green cardamom but cannot be substituted in the same recipes.
  • Green cardamom is used in desserts and savory dishes. Because of its strong, smoky flavor and aroma, black cardamom is only applicable as a spice. 
  • Black cardamom is more effective for heart, liver, and digestive health issues than green cardamom.

What does black cardamom smell like?

Black cardamom has a smoky however not bitter, aroma, with coolness like a mint smell. Due to its pleasant aromatic odor, it can be used as a flavoring agent for various vegetables and meat preparation.

Is black cardamom good for health?

Yes, black cardamom is good for health; Used in low amounts due to its strong smoky flavor. In short black cardamom has various health benefits but takes precaution because no one knows its long-term effect on health.  

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