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Cardamom

Drugs & Medication

Cardamom

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Cardamom
True Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
 
True Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
 
Division: Magnoliophyta
 
Class: Liliopsida
 
Order: Zingiberales
 
Family: Zingiberaceae
 
Genera
Aframomum
Amomum
Elettaria

The name cardamom (sometimes written cardamon) is used for species within three genera of the ginger family Zingiberaceae, namely Elettaria, Amomum and Aframomum.

Contents

Types of cardamom and their distribution

The three main genera of the ginger family that are named as forms of cardamom are distributed as follows:

  • Elettaria (commonly called cardamom, green cardamom, or true cardamom) is distributed from India to Malaysia.
  • Amomum (commonly known as black cardamom, Kravan, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Siamese cardamom, white or red cardamom) is distributed mainly in Asia and Australia.
  • Aframomum (Madagascar cardamom, grains of paradise) is distributed in mainland Africa and Madagascar.

Uses

All the different cardamom species and varieties are used mainly as cooking spices and as medicines. In general,

  • Elettaria subulatum (the usual type of cardamom) is used as a spice, a masticatory, and in medicine; it is also sometimes smoked; it is used as a food plant by the larva of the moth Endoclita hosei.
  • Aframomum is used as a spice (see Grains of Paradise);
  • Amomum is used as an ingredient in traditional systems of medicine in China, India, Korea, and Vietnam.
  • Can be used as a traditional flavouring to Turkish coffee.

Uses in cuisines around the world

Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. It is often used in baking in Scandinavia. One of the most expensive spices by weight, little is needed to impart the flavour. Cardamom is best stored in pod form, because once the seeds are exposed or ground, they quickly lose their flavour. However, high-quality ground cardamom is often more readily (and cheaply) available, and is an acceptable substitute. For recipes requiring whole cardamom pods, a generally accepted equivalent is 10 pods equals 1 teaspoons of ground cardamom.

In traditional medicine

Cardamom fruit and seeds
Cardamom fruit and seeds

In India, green cardamom (A. subulatum) is broadly used to treat infections in teeth and gums, to prevent and treat throat troubles, congestion of the lungs and pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of eyelids and also digestive disorders. It is also reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom.

Species in the genus Amomum is also used in traditional Indian medicine. Among other species, varieties and cultivars, Amomum villosum is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat stomach-aches, constipation, dysentery, and other digestion problems. "Tsaoko" cardamom is cultivated in Yunnan, China, both for medicinal purposes and as a spice.

References and external links


Home | Up | List of medicinal herbs | Aloe | Bay Laurel | Cardamom | Liquorice | Papaya

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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