Cardamom is a natural spice that has been used for centuries in the preparation of meals and medicinal purposes. It is a common ingredient that is found in Middle Eastern and Arabic delicacies. Moreover, this natural spice has gained prominence around the globe as it now serves a plethora of health benefits.
This exquisite spice is gotten from the seeds of various plants that are part of the ginger family. It possesses an exceptional taste and flavor that perfectly blends with a variety of dishes. People often use cardamom seeds to spice up curries, meat dishes, desserts, and even beverages such as chai tea, and coffee.
As much as people use it as a spice, it is also used as a supplement given its health benefits. Cardamom contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This natural spice could be procured as pods with its seeds inside, cardamom spice powder, spice oil, and an herbal supplement, which regularly comes as capsules.
Researchers have carried out many studies on cardamom, and their findings suggest that it contains some health benefits. We shall consider them one after the other.
Benefits of cardamom
There are several health benefits of cardamom and we are going to be discussing the significant ones.
Helps to lower blood pressure
In the human body, blood pressure naturally fluctuates at different intervals, especially when you engage in physical activities such as walking, talking, or exercising. However, it becomes worrisome when your blood pressure is continuously high even when you are resting.
Cardamom, as a natural spice, contains high-level antioxidants that could help in lowering blood pressure. It also has a diuretic effect that helps to relax the walls of the blood vessels, thereby decreasing blood pressure.
Prevents blood clots
Cardamom fights blood clots by inhibiting platelet aggregation. It increases the body’s ability to dissolve fibrinolysis (blood clots), which invariably reduces the risk of heart disease.
Balances blood sugar level
Cardamom also has an anti-diabetic compound that aids the regulation of insulin metabolism and glucose to balance blood sugar levels. More so, the anti-inflammatory and hypolipidemic properties of the spice could also regulate blood sugar levels in the body.
A study in 2017 showed cardamom to improve oxidative and inflammation stress in obese and overweight prediabetic women.
Improves gastrointestinal health
Traditionally, cardamom has been used as a remedy to cure digestive problems. It is contained with a methanolic extract that controls discomforts in the gastrointestinal system such as flatulence, stomach cramps, and acidity.
However, there has been a scientific backing to the traditional use of the spice in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. There, they concluded that cardamom has a volatile oil that has a strong influence in curing gastrointestinal disorders.
Contains antispasmodic properties
Cardamom reduces potassium-ion-induced contractions in the heart, intestinal and bronchial tissues. It also helps to stimulate tissue relaxation through the bound calcium ion receptors. Thus, the spice reduces blood pressure, asthma symptoms, and gut distress.
Prevents cavities and treat bad breath
It is common in some cultures to eat cardamom pods after a meal to freshen your breath. Although it is an ancient remedy, it is very efficient. Studies have shown that cardamom extracts are effective in fighting bacteria that cause dental cavities. It helps to prevent bacteria growth by up to 0.82 inches.
Also, because cardamom is minty and natural, it can provide a long-lasting fresh breath and fight common mouth bacteria.
Cardamom contains compounds that help to increase the smooth flow of air to your lungs and improve breathing. Using this spice in aromatherapy provides you with a refreshing odor that enhances the flow of oxygen, especially during exercise. It relaxes your airway and makes it easy for you to breathe. A recent study was carried out on a group of people. They inhaled cardamom essential oil for one minute before walking on a treadmill, and it significantly increased their oxygen uptake.
Reduces depression and improves relaxation
Cardamom possesses anti-depressant properties. Using cardamom in anti-stress aromatherapy can be an effective remedy for handling stressful conditions. It helps to calm the nervous system and normalizing acid levels in the body.
Besides, it also rejuvenates the body cells and keeps the body relaxed.
Detoxifies the body
If the body doesn’t get detoxified of toxins, it may have a poor balance of toxins and free radicals, which will most likely result in the development of various diseases.
Cardamom can help to rid the body of toxins by eliminating or passing out waste through the kidneys. Its detoxifying properties are also very beneficial to the skin.
The biochemical present in cardamom aids metabolism in the body and eliminates skin toxins, which helps to prevent premature aging. Moreover, aside from the removal of toxins from the kidneys, it also removes waste products from the urinary tract and bladder.
Cardamom also combats asthma. The crude extracts in cardamom fight symptoms of asthma such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Its anti-inflammatory properties provide comfort to the respiratory system.
However, cardamom also naturally opens constricted windpipes, improves blood circulation to the lungs, and relaxes tracheal tissues and mucus membranes.
Prevents cold and cough
A lot of persons that suffer from acid reflux always complain of dry cough too. The pods of cardamom are very beneficial to people that suffer from severe cough and cold.
It helps in the stimulation of the salivary glands, which indirectly strengthens the mucosal lining of the stomach and boosts digestion.
Subsequently, chewing cardamom daily, for half an hour, can also help to cure bronchitis.
When there is an irregular neural signal in the body, it could lead to fatigue, which indirectly causes painful muscle spasms or contractions.
Due to its anti-inflammatory effect and the number of bioactive ingredients it possesses, cardamom helps to decrease muscle spasms and pains. It also limits pain and swelling in the mouth, throat, and mucus membranes.
Studies have proven that the oil extracted from cardamom seeds is capable of terminating bacteria and fungi. A study revealed that cardamom essential oil was effective in the killing of various types of bacteria and fungi.
Researchers surmised that the oil’s antimicrobial function is as a result of its ability to destroy the cell membrane of specific bacteria. The oil also showed antibacterial activity against almost all microorganisms that were tested. Further research also suggested that it would serve as an excellent component in the creation of an antibacterial drug.
Improves cardiovascular performance
Some research carried out on animals has found cardamom to be helpful in the improvement of cardiovascular functions. The findings of a study that was experimented on rats suggested that it could help in the prevention of a heart attack. It showed that its antioxidant properties could improve the heart, and it has a higher tendency to have the same effect on humans.
Cardamom is rich in anti-inflammatory properties that fight inflammation in the body.
Inflammation takes place when the body is exposed to foreign substances which could be harmful. It helps in fighting off germs that gain entrance into the body, but a long-term inflammation could lead to chronic diseases and even damage to some organs.
Antioxidant properties in cardamom aid in the protection of cells from damage, and it also prevents the occurrence of inflammation.
Cardamom has been used for centuries to help with digestive problems. It is often added to other medicinal concoctions to lessen discomfort and vomiting. It is quite helpful in the relieving of stomach issues and its ability to heal ulcers.
Cardamom could help in the fight of cancer cells. Studies that were carried out on rats revealed that cardamom powder aids in the increment of specific enzymes that help in the combating of cancer cells. For instance, a study showed that ingesting cardamom supplements in mice for over 15 days resulted in the size reduction of skin tumors.
Optimizes liver functions
Over the years, people have made use of cardamom solely for detoxification. However, this spice has proven to have a positive effect on the liver. It enhances the liver’s function, thereby aiding in the removal of toxins from the body.
A study once carried out revealed that people who had fatty liver disease (non-alcoholic) and were obese and overweight regularly took cardamom supplements. The result, surprisingly, was that they had more improvement in their liver health than those who ingested placebos.
Helps in losing weight
A study which was carried out on prediabetic and obese patients revealed that there was a connection between cardamom and their waist becoming reduced slightly. Yes, it helps in the reduction of the circumference of the waist, and it could also prove useful in the detoxification of the body.
Cardamom contains anti-depressant properties that aid in relaxation of the mind. This spice oil has been used as one of the major components used for anti-stress aromatherapy.
Moreover, a 2016 research that was published by a group of Iranian scientists indicated that cardamom is effective in the reduction of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms.
In summary, cardamom has proven to be quite essential in the preparation of varieties of dishes and also for a wide range of health benefits. In other words, we could say it spices our dishes and health!