What Is Cardamom Used For + 6 Reasons Why It’s Good For You

From curries to pastries, cardamom is used to give great flavour to the foods you love. But it’s also used for its potent medicinal properties, which range from supporting digestion to heart health. Here are some of the things cardamom is used for and some ways you can use it at home.

What is cardamom?

Cardamom is a fragrant spice with a rich and long history dating back centuries. It is the third most expensive spice in the world (by weight). This is because it can only be grown in a select few warm regions around the world and is a very labour-intensive crop to harvest, which is mainly done by hand.

The parts used are the pods and the seeds of the cardamom plant. On average, there are 10-20 seeds in each cardamom pod. There are two types of cardamom seeds, green and black, and they are from different varieties of the cardamom plant.

Green cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is picked earlier than black cardamom and is not processed. Green cardamom is smaller in size and used in sweet recipes more than black cardamom. It is also significantly more expensive than black cardamom.


Black cardamom (Amomum subulatum) is larger, and once picked, it is dried at high heat to give its smoky flavour. It is often used in savoury dishes and more like a black pepper. It is described as having a menthol note making it great in stronger curries.  Black cardamom is not as common as green cardamom and does not have the same benefits, although some people do use black cardamom to support digestion.

This amazing spice originates from the ginger family and is celebrated for its distinct flavour and impressive health benefits. Here are some of the things cardamom is used for.

What is cardamom used for?

1. Cardamom is used to help support digestion

Cardamom has been traditionally used to support digestion and to help reduce gastrointestinal discomfort. Research suggests that the active compounds (such as its volatile oils) possess carminative (calming) properties, which can help soothe issues like bloating, excess gas, and indigestion.

Cardamom may also help stimulate digestive enzyme secretion, which can help with better nutrient absorption and overall digestive efficiency. This is one of the reasons why we use cardamom in our Liver Bitters.


2. Cardamom is anti-inflammatory

Chronic inflammation can be linked to many health conditions. Studies have shown that cardamom contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce inflammation.

Cardamom has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects due to its bioactive components, cineole and limonene. These compounds have demonstrated the ability to reduce inflammatory markers in the body, which could potentially support conditions associated with chronic inflammation, such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases.

3. Cardamom can support heart health

Cardamom holds promise in promoting cardiovascular health through its potential to support blood pressure and improve lipid profiles. Research suggests that the antioxidants present in cardamom may help protect the heart by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.

Cardamom consumption has been found in certain studies to be associated with improvements in cholesterol levels, particularly reducing LDL (the ‘bad’) cholesterol and triglycerides. Which in turn can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

4. Cardamom can support blood sugar regulation

Fluctuating blood sugar levels can add more stress to the body, so having stable blood sugar levels is important. Cardamom supplementation may help improve glycemic control and reduce insulin resistance, which can be helpful in the management of diabetes and metabolic issues such as PCOS. It is able to help by enhancing insulin sensitivity and helping to support lowering blood sugar levels.

5.  Cardamom is antimicrobial

Cardamom contains strong antimicrobial properties from its active constituents, such as cineole and limonene. These compounds have been found to possess antimicrobial activity against a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. 

6. Cardamom is high in antioxidants

Cardamom holds a large amount of antioxidant properties. This is due to its high content of phenolic compounds (such as catechins and flavonoids). They are able to help counteract harmful free radicals and help to reduce oxidative stress in the body. 

How to use cardamom

Now that you know what cardamom is used for medicinally, here are some ways you can use it at home.

  • Use it in your cooking - You can use it more in your diet such as adding to porridge, cereal, dals, stews, yoghurt or baking. It is one of the spices in the popular garam masala mix.

  • Cardamom tea Steep crushed cardamom pods or seeds in hot water for 5-10 minutes. Strain and drink as desired.

  • Cardamom tinctureCombine crushed cardamom seeds with alcohol (such as vodka) and let it sit for 4 weeks. Strain and take as directed. A simpler and cheaper way could be buying a few packets of cardamom powder and adding it to a large jar of 50% alcohol and leaving it to infuse for 4 weeks. Strain through a coffee filter or through a french press coffee plunger into a clean and labelled bottle. You would only need to use a small amount of the tincture e.g. 1-2ml and you could add that to coffee, tea or hot water.

  • Cardamom essential oil - Dilute a few drops of cardamom essential oil in a carrier oil and use for aromatherapy, massage, or inhalation. Cardamom has been used in an aromatherapy sense to support mood and stress.

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