Black cardamom is one of the well-known nutritional spices that has gained importance over the period of time. It has been used in Ayurvedic practices for thousands of years for its therapeutic and medicinal values. Black cardamom is more than 4 times the size of the small and delicate looking green cardamom pods. Its outer layer is highly fibrous but is often discard before eating. Its pods are use as a spice, in a similar manner to the green cardamom pods. But unlike green cardamom, black cardamom is rarely use in sweet dishes as they differ entirely in taste. Its seed pods have a strong, camphor-like flavour, with a smoky character derived from the method of drying.
Scientific name for black cardamom is ‘Amomum subulatum’, a perennial herbaceous plant in the family Zingiberaceae. Black cardamom is also popular as hill cardamom, Bengal cardamom, greater cardamom, Indian cardamom, Nepal cardamom, winged cardamom, big cardamon, and brown cardamom. In Hindi it is called ‘badi elaichi’. The largest producer of the black cardamom is Nepal, followed by India and Bhutan. The largest producer of cardamom is Sikkim, in India, which alone contributes to about 50% of the world’s production of black cardamom.
As per Ayurveda, black cardamom has the ability to balance the doshas or the three basic forces that regulate the body – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. It is use to provide relief from cough due to its Ushna (hot) properties. It helps to remove excess mucus from the respiratory passages and provides relief. Consuming ashes of burnt black cardamom leaves along with mustard oil reduces the symptoms of cough and cold. Furthermore it is very useful in Asthma because it balances Vata- Kapha doshas. It also helps to melt and expel out excessive sputum from the lungs due to its Ushna (hot) nature.
Other several beneficial properties are it may:
- Relieve pain and have potential as an analgesic.
- Helping with ulcers by having antiulcer properties.
- Ability to fight against microbial infections.
- Acting as an antioxidant, it helps to eliminate harmful free radicals and manages diabetes as it lowers the blood glucose levels.
- Potential to lower lipid and lipoprotein levels in the blood.
- Contains antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Help protect the heart by lowering cholesterol levels and liver.
- Stimulates digestion and improves appetite
- Treat Bad Breath and Prevent Cavities
Black cardamom essential oil also helps in managing inflammatory conditions such as swellings, tissue injuries or rheumatism due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Helps to reduce bone and joint pain when applied to the affected area. The aroma of black cardamom is believe to purify the environment, promote relaxation, and enhance meditation practices.
In Tibetan medicine, it is believe to strengthen the digestive fire, known as “Agni,” and promote the assimilation of nutrients. It is often incorporated into herbal formulas for treating indigestion, bloating, and loss of appetite. The spice is also value for its carminative properties, which help alleviate flatulence and abdominal discomfort.
Known as “bai dou kou” in Chinese, black cardamom is a popular spice in Chinese cuisine. It is highly value for its unique flavor, medicinal properties, and cultural significance. It is particularly use in dishes such as braised meats, stews, and soups, as its robust aroma imparts a rich and earthy taste. Also, black cardamom is sometimes use in traditional Chinese wedding ceremonies. It is incorporated into various rituals and offerings, symbolizing overall good luck, fortune, and a harmonious union. The spice’s distinct aroma is believe to create an auspicious and joyful atmosphere during the celebration.