Cardamom is one of the oldest known spices.1 It was used as far back as the ancient Egyptians in cosmetics and perfumes.1 It has also been used in Indian medicine for thousands of years as an herbal remedy for a variety of conditions.1 The herb belongs to the ginger family and is grown in areas of Sri Lanka and India.2 Cardamom seeds and oils can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes.2 It features a spicy scent and can be used in cooking as a spice to add flavor to teas, coffees, and even sweet breads.1 The seeds are commonly ground into a powder.1
Cardamom has long been used for both aromatherapy and oral remedy purposes. In India, the herb has been used for digestive issues such as gas and indigestion.1 In ancient times, Egyptians chewed on cardamom seeds to whiten their teeth, and Romans ate cardamom to ease stomach distress.2 Cardamom tea is even said to reduce your risk of roundworm infection.3 Among cardamom benefits, it’s said to be antibacterial, antiseptic, and act as a decongestant, diuretic, and stimulant.2
Other cardamom uses include for:
Cardamom side effects are minimal, and the plant is considered non-toxic.5 In some cases, however, allergic reaction may occur. Place a diluted drop of cardamom oil on your skin before using it to test if you’re allergic. Do not take cardamom if you are pregnant, nursing, or have gallstones.1 Do not take cardamom in amounts exceeding normal food amounts. Overdosing on cardamom or its essential oils can lead to uneasiness and overheating as well as bowel irritation.5 Talk to your doctor about any other medications or herbs you’re taking to ensure they won’t interact with a cardamom diet.