Cardamom or Elaichi:
‘Elaichi’ or Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices of the world which have a strong, unique taste, and aromatic fragrance. Green cardamom or chhoti elaichi is a most important part of Indian sweet dishes. In addition, it is also used in traditional natural remedies to treat some health problems. Actually, cardamom (elaichi in Hindi) plant is an herbal plant which is native to southern India. India was the largest producer of cardamom until the late 20th century. But by 2000 Gautemala country had become the biggest producer and exporter of cardamom in the world. However, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia and Nepal also produce cardamom. At present, Laos, Vietnam and Sri Lanka also started production of cardamom. Cardamom grows in a small seed pod and has two species.
Types of Elaichi:
There are two main types of cardamom – green cardamom (chhoti elaichi) and black cardamom (badi elaichi). You can recognize them by their small seed pod. Green cardamom has a thin papery outer shell of green color whereas black cardamom has a thin papery outer shell of dark brown color. Both forms of cardamom have seeds in pod and these seeds are used for flavoring of food and drink. Generally, green cardamom seeds are used in Ayurvedic medicines and also in traditional natural remedies. Use of black cardamom is also popular in traditional and Ayurvedic medicines for some extent.
Properties of Cardamom:
Cardamom (elaichi) is a good source of potassium, magnesium and vitamin-C. It is excellent in anti-oxidants. The seeds of the cardamom contain a variety of important minerals such as calcium, sulfur, and phosphorus. They also contain dietary fiber, protein and carbohydrates. In addition, cardamom is also known for its volatile oil composed of acetic and formic acids. This oil has aromatic and medicinal properties and helps to cure many diseases.
Health Benefits of Elaichi or Cardamom:
1. Elaichi for Throat Infection:
To clear sore throat, chew 1-2 green cardamom (chhoti elaichi) on an empty stomach in morning and at night and drink lukewarm water.
Cardamom has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce throat inflammation. You can use the paste of green cardamom with some radish (mooli) juice to cure swelling of throat glands. (To know about the remedy in detail, read ‘Remedies for swollen throat glands‘).
2. Elaichi for Teeth & Gum Problem:
Cardamom is widely used for teeth and gum problems; especially in South Asia and China, it is very common. As far as India is concerned, elaichi has been used in Ayurvedic medicines for dental problems since long back.
Green cardamom is good for teeth and gums infection as some studies revealed its anti-microbial and anti bacterial properties. (1, 2) It is a good source of calcium and magnesium which are essential for dental health. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to prevent gums swelling due to oral infection.
Therefore eat one cardamom daily after meal to prevent tooth decay because when you chew a green cardamom pod, it increases saliva flow that helps to cleanse the teeth. It also helps to control acid reflux which can harm to teeth. Moreover, its powerful anti-oxidants help to protect from oral cancer.
3. Elaichi for Cough & Cold:
Cardamom is a supportive natural medicine of curing cough and cold. To cure cough and cold, take one cardamom, one small piece of ginger (adrak), one clove (laung) and five Basil (Tulsi) leaves and eat them with betel (Pan) leaf.
4. Cardamom for Vomiting:
For controlling vomiting, take some black cardamom seeds and boil them into 500 ml water till it remains half. Then drink it lukewarm. Vomiting is stopped within few minutes.
5. Good for Mouth Ulcers:
Elaichi or Cardamom is an excellent herb to cure oral infection. To cure mouth ulcers, use of black cardamom seeds (badi elaichi) and mishri works well. (For more details, read ‘Remedies for mouth ulcers‘).
6. Cardamom for Indigestion:
Green cardamom is an ideal solution to treat digestive problems. Research shows that cardamom increases the secretion of stomach’s bile acid which affects overall digestion. (3) It helps to prevent gastric problem, acidity and indigestion effectively.
- Collect green cardamom, dry ginger and cloves in equal quantity.
- Grind all the three ingredients to make fine powder and keep this powder into a jar.
- Ingest 1 tsp powder with lukewarm water whenever you feel indigestion or flatulence.
7. Elaichi for Motion Sickness:
Some people feel nausea or vomiting and convulsions (chakkar) during travelling by car, taxi or bus; it is called motion sickness. Green Cardamom not only controls this motion sickness but also treats spasms and convulsions. Therefore chew one pod of green cardamom while travelling by car, taxi or bus. It has no harm and you can use it whenever you need.
8. Urinary Tract Infections:
Elaichi or cardamom has diuretic properties and helps to detoxify the toxins from the body. Therefore, chew one cardamom with one clove daily after meal. It is good for curing urinary tract infections (mutra rog).
In South Asia, it is a common traditional medicine of urinary problems. They use cardamom with banana leaf and amla juice to remove kidney stones. Its diuretic properties help to break down stone into very small pieces and remove through urine.
9. Cardio Vascular Diseases:
Cardamom is rich in minerals like- potassium, magnesium and calcium. It is a supportive natural herb for controlling cardiovascular diseases like- hypertension and regularizing heartbeat; some studies proved it. (4) Therefore, include it in your daily diet plan; chew a pod of cardamom after every meal or whenever you need regularly.
10. Elaichi for Bad Breath:
Green cardamom has an aromatic and sweet flavor. Simply, by chewing the seeds of cardamom, you can control bad breath. Its anti-microbial effects kill the oral bacteria and remove bad breath. Therefore, chew a pod of cardamom after every meal or whenever you need to control bad breath.
All the above health benefits and natural remedies are quite safe and has no side effect. But if it doesn’t suit you, stop it and try some other way.