Known as the “queen of spices,” this tiny seed has been used throughout history to fight bad breath, but cardamom will also help keep you healthy in more ways than you know!
Cardamom has been one of the most used and expensive spices in human history. Though there are varieties from China, Indonesia and Thailand, there is only one original green cardamom, and that comes from India.
The spice is the fruit of the plant, which you can find in three forms: whole (pods with a uniform green color); as seeds (round, brown or black, oily to the touch and with a lemon-like aroma); and ground into a powder. If possible, buy the pods, since they retain their flavor, aroma and benefits for a longer period of time.
Though it has been mainly used as a breath freshener by chewing the seeds or cooking with them, cardamom contains the antioxidant cineol, a chemical compound that has shown the three important benefits beyond dental health:
- Digestive: besides its effect as an antiseptic that eliminates bacteria that causes bad breath, cineol relaxes the muscle of the digestive system, alleviating spasms and improving digestion.
- Respiratory: due to its muscle relaxant effect, cineol could be used to help relieve asthma symptoms and also to treat sinus infection (by inhalation of the oils present in cardamom).
- Cardiovascular: cineol has been found to reduce blood pressure and prevent clog formation in animal studies.
This spice is useful and versatile in the kitchen, where it gives flavor to recipes with chicken, rice, fruits, lamb, nuts, infusions, and even your morning tea or coffee (just add a few seeds to the water you use to brew it).
Learn more about the amazing health benefits of herbs and spices with the book “Condimenta tu Salud”, available for kindle in Amazon in the following link, or like Dr. Jay’s Facebook page.
Photo credit @gastrobrand