Uses of cardamom


Cardamom is a spice obtained from the seeds of plants belonging to the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the family Zingiberaceae. It was previously considered to be of Asian origin, but this view has changed with further research showing that it also occurs naturally in substantial amounts in Central America, where it was first discovered by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century.

Origin of the

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Cardamom is native to South Asia, but its cultivation is now spread throughout tropical regions of the world including Central America (e.g., Guatemala), Africa (e.g., Kenya), and Latin America (e.g., Mexico).

Types of

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The most common types are green, white, and black cardamom.


Most parts of the plants are rich in essential oils and several compounds that contribute to their distinctive and pleasant aroma and flavor.

2-White cardamom:

The most abundant compounds in this species include 1-octen-3-ol, eugenol, 4-(4′-hydroxy-3′-methoxyphenyl)-2-butanone, 2-hydroxy-3-methoxy benzaldehyde, 4-(4′-hydroxy-3′ methoxyphenyl) -2 butanone, and eugenol methyl ether.

3-Black cardamom

The major compounds in this species include 1-octen-3 ol, eugenol, 4-(4′-hydroxy-3′ methoxyphenyl)-2-butanone, 2-methoxy 3-methoxy benzoic acid methyl ester, and safrole.

4- Cardamom oil:

Mostly used in perfumery work, these oils are extensively used in the food industry.

Chemical constituents:

The chemical composition of the essential oil isolated from the green cardamom was found to contain 19 components, which included α-terpineol (26.2%), p-cymene (12.4%), γ terpinene (6.3%) and eugenol acetate (5.4%), etc.

The chemical composition of the essential oil isolated from the white cardamom was found to contain 14 components, which included eugenol (21.9%), β-caryophyllene (20.1%), and safrole (11%).

In another study, it has been reported that the volatile oil of Kenyan cardamom contained 1,8-cineole (19.8%), eugenol (18.8%), and trans-cinnamic acid (11.8%).

In a study by Sapariah et al., it has been demonstrated that the essential oil from white cardamom was dominated by compounds such as eugenol (74.7%) and eugenol acetate (8.8%).

Black cardamom essential oil, on the other hand, was dominated by 1-octen-3-ol (19%) followed by benzaldehyde (14%), safrole (6.5%), eugenol (6.4%), and kos

anal (5.7%).

Uses of

1. Flavoring agent:

Cardamom is extensively used as a flavoring agent in the food industry, especially in confectioneries, beverages, and pastries. It is also used in chewing gums, toothpaste, and pharmaceuticals. A study has shown that it can enhance the sweet taste by activating certain sweet receptors on the tongue thus making it useful in diabetes and obesity management.

2. Aromatic:

Cardamom is used in the preparation of perfumes and cosmetics because of its distinct aroma and flavor. It also has a disinfectant effect on harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi that could cause diseases such as dysentery, diarrhea, colds, etc., thus it has been used in the past as a means of preserving food and drink.

3. Medicinal:

Studies have shown that it possesses antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities and thus may be useful in the management and prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. It has also been found to inhibit oxidative DNA damage caused by free radicals.

4. Agriculture:

Cardamom is widely used in agriculture as a repellant to protect crops from pests and diseases. It has also been reported that it could be used against the black witchweed (“Striga hermonthica”), an aggressive parasitic weed that attacks maize, rice, sorghum, sugar cane, and other crops.

5. Other:

Cardamom is also used in the manufacture of cosmetics and perfumes, as an air freshener, and for dental hygiene especially because it has antimicrobial properties that could inhibit the growth of harmful oral bacteria and thus protect the teeth and gums from decay and periodontal diseases like gingivitis.

Cardamom oil is used as traditional medicine, mainly for the treatment of gastrointestinal problems, respiratory diseases and to boost sexual performance. It also has blood pressure-lowering, arthritis pain-relieving properties.

A study by Ruddock et al. has shown that cardamom essential oil inhibits multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA. Another study by Kizhakkayil et al. has demonstrated that the oil inhibited two multidrug-resistant strains of S. aureus and one methicillin-resistant strain of S. epidermidis with minimum inhibitory concentration values ranging from 0.6 to 1 mg/mL.

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