Cardamom, sometimes cardamon or cardamum, is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the family Zingiberaceae.
Both genera are native to the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia.
They are recognized by their small seed pods: triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin, papery outer shell and small, black seeds; Elettaria pods are light green and smaller, while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown.
Cardamom is a spice with an intense, slightly sweet flavor that some people compare to mint.
It originated in India but is available worldwide today and used in both sweet and savory recipes.
The seeds, oils, and extracts of cardamom are thought to have impressive medicinal properties and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
Cardamom may be helpful for people with high blood pressure.
In one 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.
The promising results of this study may be related to the high levels of
antioxidants in cardamom. In fact, the participants’ antioxidant status had
increased by 90% by the end of the study. Antioxidants have been linked to
lower blood pressure.
Researchers also suspect that the spice may lower blood pressure due to
it's diuretic the effect, meaning it can promote urination to remove water that builds
up in your body, for example around your heart.
Cardamom extract has been shown to increase urination and decrease blood
pressure in rats.
Summary Cardamom may help lower blood pressure, most likely due to
its antioxidant and diuretic properties
The compounds in cardamom may help fight cancer cells.
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
In one study, researchers exposed two groups of mice to a compound that causes
skin cancer and fed one group 500 mg of ground cardamom per kg (227 mg per
pound) of weight per day.
After 12 weeks, only 29% of the group who ate the cardamom developed cancer,
compared to over 90% of the control group.
Research on human cancer cells and cardamom indicate similar results. One study
showed that a certain compound in the spice stopped oral cancer cells in test
tubes from multiplying.
Even though the results are promising, these studies have only been conducted
on mice or in test tubes. Human research is needed before stronger claims can
Summary Certain compounds in cardamom may fight cancer and stop the
growth of tumors in mice and test tubes. Human research is needed to validate
if these results apply to humans as well.
Inflammation occurs when your body is exposed to foreign substances. Acute
inflammation is necessary and beneficial, but long-term inflammation can lead
to chronic diseases.
Antioxidants, found in abundance in cardamom, protect cells from damage and
stop inflammation from occurring. The antioxidant compounds in cardamom may
help protect cells from damage and slow down and prevent inflammation in your
Cardamom has been used for thousands of years to help with digestion.
It’s often mixed with other medicinal spices to relieve discomfort, nausea and
vomiting. The most researched property of cardamom, as it pertains to relieving stomach
issues are its possible ability to heal ulcers.
Cardamom may protect against digestive issues and has been shown to reduce the
number and size of stomach ulcers in rats.
The use of cardamom to treat bad breath and improve oral health is an
In some cultures, it’s common to freshen your breath by eating entire cardamom
pods after a meal.
Even the chewing gum manufacturer
Wrigley uses the spice in one of its products.
The reason why cardamom can lead to minty fresh breath may have to do with its
ability to fight common mouth bacteria.
However, all of these studies have been conducted in test tubes, making it
unclear how the results may apply to humans.
Cardamom is often used to treat bad breath and is a component of some chewing
gums. This is because cardamom might be able to kill common mouth bacteria and
Cardamom also has antibacterial effects outside of the mouth and may
Research shows that cardamom extracts and essential oils have compounds that
fight several common strains of bacteria.
The essential oils and extracts of cardamom may be effective against a variety
of bacterial strains that contribute to fungal infections, food poisoning, and
stomach issues. However, research has only been conducted in test tubes and not
Compounds in cardamom may help increase airflow to your lungs and improve
When used in aromatherapy, cardamom can provide an invigorating odor that
enhances your body’s ability to use oxygen during exercise.
Cardamom may improve breathing by stimulating better oxygen uptake and relaxing
air passage to the lungs in humans and animals.
In addition to the aforementioned health benefits, cardamom may be good for
your health in other ways as well.
protection: Cardamom extract may decrease elevated liver enzymes, triglyceride and cholesterol levels. They may also prevent liver
enlargement and liver weight, which reduces the risk of fatty liver disease).
- Anxiety: One
rat study suggests that cardamom extract may prevent anxious behaviors.
This may be because low blood levels of antioxidants have been linked to
the development of anxiety and
other mood disorders
loss: A study of 80 overweight and obese prediabetic women found a link between cardamom and slightly reduced waist circumference. However, rat studies on weight loss and the spice have not
found significant results.
The number of studies on the link
between cardamom and these potential benefits is limited and mostly done on
Furthermore, the reasons why the spice may help improve liver health, anxiety
and weight is unclear.
A limited number of studies suggests that cardamom supplements may decrease
waist circumference and prevent anxious behaviors and fatty liver. The reasons
behind these effects are unclear but may have to do with the spice’s high
Cardamom is generally safe for most people.
The most common way to use cardamom is in cooking or baking. It’s very
versatile and often added to Indian curries and stews, as well as gingerbread
cookies, bread, and other baked goods.
The use of cardamom supplements, extracts, and essential oils is likely to
become more common in light of the promising results of research on its
However, there is currently no recommended dose for the spice since most
studies have been on animals. The use of supplements should be monitored by a
Furthermore, cardamom supplements may not be suitable for children and women
who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Most supplements recommend 500 mg of cardamom powder or extract once or twice a
Using cardamom in cooking is safe for most people. Cardamom supplements and
extracts have not been thoroughly researched and should only be taken under the
guidance of a healthcare provider.