AMAZING BENEFITS OF CARDAMOM (ELAICHI)
Cardamom, popularly known as Elaichi in India, is basically a seed pod that is used in various dishes ranging from starters to desserts. It is mainly grown in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Indonesia. Presently Guatemala is the largest producer of cardamom. Considered as the “Queen of Spices”, cardamom seeds are triangular and used for aromatic purposes. It is the world’s third most demanded and expensive spice, after saffron and vanilla. It is made from plants belonging to the family Zingiberaceae and is mainly of two types- Green and Black cardamom. Though used mainly as a flavouring spice, Elaichi also has numerous medical values mainly due to its rich contents. Besides a variety of nutrients, it also contains numerous vitamins, electrolytes and minerals that make it a storehouse of medicinal products.
The main medical benefits of cardamom include the following:-
- GOOD FOR THE HEART- Because of the presence of antioxidants and fibre, cardamom (especially black cardamom) has proved to be beneficial for the heart. It lowers both cholesterol and blood pressure levels which, in turn, helps to maintain a healthy heart. A teaspoon of cardamom powder mixed in water when consumed daily, helps to avoid heart problems.
- HELPS IN DIGESTION- Cardamom seeds are used in dishes not only to add flavour but to enhance digestion. It stimulates metabolism as well as the rate of secretion of bile acid in the stomach. Furthermore, the spice prevents gastro-intestinal ailments like heartburn and acid reflux.
- PREVENTS ASTHMA ISSUES- Cardamom reduces asthma symptoms like coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath as it helps in blood circulation in lungs. It makes breathing easier and reduces inflammations in extreme cases.
- ACTS AS A CANCER TREATMENT SPICE- Many studies have proved that Elaichi can effectively prevent, reduce or even reverse the action of cancer forming cells. It reduces the formation of tumours and encourages death of cancer cells. Thus, it has been proved that cardamom prevents fore stomach, colorectal and other fatal cancer diseases.
- ENHANCES ORAL HEALTH- Due to its anti-bacterial properties, Elaichi prevents oral pathogens from harming oral tissues. It also reduces bad breath when mixed with various other spices like fennel seeds. Its pungent taste reduces salivary flow and enhances oral hygiene.
Other minor benefits include: it reduces depression; lowers the risk of diabetes; cures lack of appetite; fuels passion and improves sexual health; lowers blood sugar and blood pressure levels; reduces sore throat and irritation; treats hiccups; relieves blood clots; reduces sleep trouble; enhances weight loss; increases life span(drinking cardamom tea can assure longevity).
Besides medical benefits, cardamom also helps in physical fitness as well. The benefits for skin include the following:-
- TREATMENT OF SKIN ALLERGIES- Cardamom effectively helps in reducing allergies on the skin surface. Its anti-bacterial properties prevent irritation. When applied on skin with small amount of honey, it yields the best results.
- HELPS IN ACHIEVING A FAIR AND CLEAR SKIN- The essential oils present in Elaichi helps to flush out harmful toxins, thus detoxifying the body. Applying a mixture of cardamom powder along with honey as a face mask removes blemishes and makes you look fairer.
- HELPS IN BLOOD CIRCULATION- Cardamom also contains vitamin C which produces essential antioxidants that, in turn, regulates blood circulation. Its many layers of phytonutrients improve skin health as blood circulation is enhanced throughout the body.
- ENCOURAGES LIP CARE- The essential oils in cardamom are often used in various lip care products like lip balm, lipsticks in order to make them smooth and healthy.
- THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS- It serves as a good source of antiseptic to soothe the skin and prevent inflammations. Particularly known as Aromatherapy, the beauty products use cardamom in perfumes to arouse senses and in various soaps for warmth and care.
- AS AN ODOUR MANAGER IN MASKS- The spice is also used in various toners and masks in order to prevent the bad odour of the ingredients present and retain its benefits.
Cardamom also helps in improvement of hair growth and various hair-care issues:-
- ENHANCES HAIR GROWTH- Elaichi helps in improving the texture of hair. It strengthens hair roots and offers shine to the hair. Moreover, it actively participates in hair growth by offering nourishment.
- IMPROVES NATURE OF SCALP- The antioxidant properties of especially black cardamom provides nourishment to the scalp. It also strengthens the hair follicles and helps in proper growth.
Thus it can be seen how cardamom justifies its title as the QUEEN OF SPICES. Its aromatic flavour, rich contents, texture and properties encourages its use. Though cardamom benefits in all spheres, it is to be noted that pregnant women and gallstone patients must consume it wisely. In many cases, it can lead to dreadful circumstances, like miscarriage in pregnancy or undue pain for gallstones.