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  Latin Name Elettaria cardamomum
English Name Lesser Cardamom
Hindi Name Chhoti Elachi
Part Used Seed

Cardamom is used world over as a flavoring agent. It is the world’s second most expensive spice, right behind saffron. It is often used as a mouth freshener in Indian society. It is native to the mountainous rain forests of Kerala and Sri Lanka where it grows wild. The brownish black seeds are enclosed inside 1/4”-3/4” long oval shaped pods. The larger variety known as black cardamom is really brown in color, and the smaller variety is called green cardamom. Green pods have excellent fragrance compared to the yellow or white bleached ones.

Cardamom has a pleasant flavor and aroma and in India it is used in tea, cool drinks, confectionaries and sweets, as well as vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Cardamom seeds are either crushed coarsely or powdered fine before using. These seeds lose their flavour quickly when ground; and it is ideal to buy only whole pods and crush them just before using. Cardamom is used internally for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, disease of oral cavity, dry and wet cough and external piles. It can be used with a laxative to prevent stomach pain, griping, as well as flatulence. The seeds are also chewed to sweeten the breath and taken to detoxify caffeine in people taking excessive amounts of coffee. They are also used as a spice in cooking and as a flavoring in other medicines.

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