Cardamom or elaichi is a multi-purpose spice popularly used as a flavouring agent in curries, biryani, pulaos, tea and a number of sweet dishes and desserts. Besides providing a distinctive flavour and taste to your dishes, it also offers many health benefits. Cardamom is good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Research has found that the cinnamaldehyde, the compound that gives cinnamon its flavor and odor, has antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Cinnamon is also packed with antioxidants, which protect our cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
Also called the queen of spices, cardamom has been used in traditional Indian medicine or Ayurveda for centuries to treat various ailments. It is used as whole pods, seeds, or ground. Below are some of the top health benefits of cardamom -
Cures digestive issues
Cardamom tea is an effective home remedy for gastrointestinal issues like indigestion, heartburn, bloating, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and spasms. The cooling effects of cardamom can help in relieving acidity. Chewing cardamom (a pod or two) may also help in controlling nausea. Regular intake of cardamom either directly or through foods can also boost your appetite.
Cardamom is used in Ayurvedic medicine to fight depression, stress and other mental health issues. However, the antidepressant qualities of cardamom haven't been studied yet. According to Ayurvedic doctors, one can boil cardamom in water or simply add to your tea to get the benefits.
Improves oral health
Research has shown that cardamom seeds and fruit have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that could help improve your oral health.
The aromatic spice also has anti-bacterial properties which help in neutralizing dental bacteria and get rid of bad breath. Some people chew cardamom after meals to freshen their breath. It is also prescribed as a natural remedy for mouth ulcers and infections of the mouth and throat.
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Prevents blood clots
Cardamom can prevent dangerous blood clots by preventing platelet aggregation and sticking to the artery walls. It is also a wonder spice for people suffering from asthma and bronchitis as it can help improve blood circulation in the lungs by blood thinning action.
Helps with sexual dysfunction
In Ayurveda, cardamom is described as a powerful aphrodisiac that can help with sexual dysfunctions like impotency and premature ejaculation. Ayurveda experts recommend drinking a glass of milk mixed with a little quantity of finely ground cardamom seeds and honey everyday before going to bed to improve your sex life.
Acts as a good detoxifier
Cardamom has diuretic properties which help clear the urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys, by removing waste, salt, excess water, and toxins from the body. This spice helps the body combat infections too.
Cardamom works wonder in relieving period pain and other menstruation-related troubles too, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties. A study published in 2015 found that cinnamon was effective in relieving symptoms of dysmenorrhea, or painful period cramps. Women who were given the cinnamon capsules reported significant reduction the severity and duration of period pain, nausea and vomiting, compared to those who were given the placebo.
Caution: If consumed in heavy doses regularly, cardamom can cuase side effects, including impotency. Therefore, it should be consumed in small proportions.