“The secret of happiness is variety, but the secret of variety, like the secret of all spices, is knowing when to use it.”
Cardamom is a spice that belongs to the same botanical family as ginger and turmeric. It is part of the Zingiberaceae family and is sold in pods, seeds, and powder form. Interesting to note, cardamom is one of the world’s oldest spices to be discovered. It is native to the East originating in the forests of the western ghats in southern India, where it grows wild. Today it also grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Indo China, Tanzania, and many other parts of the world.
The spice can be used in a variety of meals including meats and starches such as pilau. There are 5 Different Ways To Cook Pilau
This spice single-handedly has numerous benefits and is even deemed The Queen of Spices. Here are some of them.
- Lowers blood pressure
The ideal blood pressure is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. When it goes above 140/90mmHg it is considered to be high blood pressure. The danger with high blood pressure is that it puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels thereby increasing your risk of a heart attack, kidney disease, or stroke.
Cardamom contains antioxidant and diuretic properties that may lower blood pressure. In a study, researchers gave three grams of cardamom powder a day to 20 adults who were newly diagnosed with high blood pressure. After 12 weeks, blood pressure levels had significantly decreased to the normal range. It increases the urine volume and excretes higher levels of sodium and potassium ions. This, in turn, helps to relax blood vessel walls, which decreases blood pressure.
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- Heals stomach ulcers
If you have ever suffered from ulcers, you know how excruciatingly painful it can be. The intense pain can keep you up at night. The good news? Researchers have found a correlation between cardamom spice and the healing of ulcers.
A study in rats found that cardamom extract alone could completely prevent or reduce the size of gastric ulcers by at least 50%. Cineol is the oil present in cardamom which can heal stomach ulcers. It has anti-bacterial properties and can act against Helicobacter pylori, which are the primary reason for stomach ulcers.
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- Oral health
If you suffer from bad breath or even cavities, you should definitely try adding cardamom to your diet. The use of cardamom to treat bad breath and improve oral health is an ancient remedy. The seeds specifically have an aromatic, sweet flavour and can be used to sweeten your breath. Other than this, it has the ability to fight common mouth bacteria. In fact, a study found that cardamom extracts were effective in fighting five bacteria that can cause dental cavities.
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- Prevents blood clot
Pulmonary embolism is a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot. It can be life-threatening. Cardamom prevents dangerous blood clots by preventing platelet aggregation and sticking to the artery walls. According to the Central Food Technological Research Institute in India, the spice contains several components that relieve blood clots. Pulmonary Embolism: Causes, Symptoms And Risk Factors
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- Treats asthma
If you’ve been around someone having an asthmatic attack then you know it’s a very scary experience. Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. This makes breathing difficult and triggers coughing, a whistling sound (wheezing), and shortness of breath.
Cardamom may improve breathing and oxygen use is by relaxing your airway. It may prevent inflamed airways from restricting and thereby improving breathing. A study in rats and rabbits found that injections of cardamom extract could relax the throat air passage. Health: 11 Natural Remedies For Chest Congestion And Asthma
- Lowers the blood sugar levels
Hyperglycemia is a type of diabetes in which the blood sugar levels are higher than optimum. It occurs when the body does not produce or use enough insulin, which is a hormone that absorbs glucose into cells for use as energy.
It can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems.
Where does cardamom come in? Many scientific studies conducted on the effects of cardamom suggest that the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hypolipidemic properties of the spice may help in regulating blood sugar level. In a study, when rats on a High Fat High Carbon (HFHC) diet were given cardamom powder, their blood sugar did not stay elevated for longer than the blood sugar of rats on a normal diet.
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- Cancer-fighting properties
Cancer has been the cause of so many deaths in our world today. The annual incidence of cancer in Kenya is about 28 000 new cases with an annual mortality of 22 000 cases. As scientists continue to research a cure, there has been some supporting evidence that cardamom spice contains anti-cancer properties.
Studies in mice have shown that cardamom powder can increase the activity of certain enzymes that help fight cancer. The spice may also enhance the ability of natural killer cells to attack tumours.
In one study, cardamom was proven to inhibit chemical carcinogenesis, after observing that feeding Swiss albino mice cardamom oil for two weeks benefitted as a deterrent to cancer.
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- Sexual Health
Cardamom is said to have an aphrodisiac property. It contains a compound called cineole which helps in increasing blood circulation in the body. It can be beneficial in curing erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. Try These 16 Aphrodisiac Foods To Ignite Your Romance
Check out these other spices which have numerous benefits as well- cloves, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, dhania, pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic.