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Elettaria cardamomum

Latin Name : Elettaria cardamomum
English Names : Cardamom, Lesser Cardamom
Sanskrit Name : Ela
Nepali Name: Allichi

A tall, herbaceous perennial with branching subterranean rootstock of 5 to 18 feet, from which arise a number of upright leafy shoots of 1 to 3 foot. It has the inflorescence upto 4 feet long. The fruits are triangular, yellowish green containing 15 to 20 black seeds.

Distribution: mostly in 2500 to 5000 feet.

Part used: Seeds

Phytochemical properties:
Cardamom owes its aroma and therapeutic properties to the volatile oil, potassium salt, starch present in the seeds. The major components of the oil are 1,8-cineole and terpinyl acetate, cineol, terpineol, limenene and sabinene. Volatile components of cardamom exhibit antimicrobial activity. The oil has anti-aflatoxin substances.

Medicinal properties:
Cardamom is chewed slowly to sweeten the breath, as aphrodisiac, to soothe digestion, stimulate the appetite, used against flatulence, colic and disorders of the body, often combined with purgatives to offset griping.
It is also reported to possess anti-inflammatory, analgesic and cardiotonic properties. In medicine, it is used as an adjuvant to carminative drugs. It is used as an aromatic stimulant, carminative and flavoring agent.

Therapeutic Uses :
Digestive disorders:
Cardamom reduces the air and water elements, increases appetite and soothes the mucous membrane. It relieves gas and heart burn caused by garlic and onion. Ground cardamom seed mixed with ginger, cloves and coriander, is an effective remedy for indigestion. A tea made from cardamom is valuable in headache caused by indigesion.

Genito-urinary disorders:
Its powdered seeds mixed with a tablespoon of banana leaf and Amala juice taken thrice a day, will serve as an excellent diuretic for the treatment of gonorrhoea, cystits, nephritis, burning micturation or urination and scanty urination.

Powdered seeds of cardamom are boiled in water with tea. It gives a very pleasing aroma to the tea. This can be used as a remedy in the treatment of depression.

The herb is useful in sexual dysfunctions like impotency and premature ejaculation. A pinch of powdered cardamom seeds boiled in milk and sweetened with honey every night would yield excellent results. Excessive use of cardamom at times may lead to impotency.

Oral disorders:
Gargling with an infusion of cardamom and cinnamon cures pharyngitis, sore throat, relaxes uvula, or the fleshy conical portion at the back of the tongue, and hoarseness during the infective stage of influenza. Its daily gargle protects one form the flu.

Dosage: 0.5 to 1 gm

Ayurvedic preparations: Aladichurna, Aladigutica, Aladyarista

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