Elettaria cardamomum-green cardamom

Green cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is an herbaceous perennial plant native to southern India. This cardamom is known as the “Queen of Spices” for its very pleasant aroma and taste. The green seeds inside the pod are used in Indian, Nepalese and other Asian cuisines, either whole or ground. Green cardamom oil is a precious ingredient in food preparations, perfumery, health foods medicines and beverages. It is cultivated widely in tropical regions and reportedly naturalized in Réunion, Indochina and Costa Rica.

Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Elettaria
Species: E. cardamomum
Binomial name: Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton
English name: Green cardamom, true cardamom
Nepalese name: sukamel
Indian names:  Sanskrit- Ela, Hindi- Chhoti elaichi, Gujarati – Elaychi, Marathi- Velchil, Bengali -Chhoti elachi,  Punjabi – Elaychi.
Other names: Japanese- Karudamon, Chinese- Pai-tou-k'ou, Spanish – Cardamomo, French –Cardamome, German –Kardamom, Swedish- Kardemumma and  Italian- Cardamomo.
Trade name: green cardamom, small cardamom
Parts used: Fruit (Capsule)

Habitat: Commonly found in South India

Chemical constituents: Major chemical constituents are a-pinene, b-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, a-phellandrene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, y-terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-oil, a-terpineol, a-terpineol acetate, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol and trans-nerolidol.

Elettaria cardamomum (green cardamom) is a pungent aromatic perennial, herbaceous and rhizomatous plant. It grows up to 2–4 m (6 ft 7 in–13 ft 1 in) in height. The leaves are alternate in two ranks, linear-lanceolate, 40–60 cm (16–24 in) long, with a long pointed tip. The flowers are white to lilac or pale violet, produced in a loose spike 30–60 cm (12–24 in) long. The fruit is a three-sided yellow-green pod 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) long, containing several black and brown seeds.

  • Green cardamom contains anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties.
  • Cardamom spice pods contain many essential volatile oils that include pinene, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-oil, a-terpineol, a-terpineol acetate, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol, trans-nerolidol, limonene and 1, 8-cineole.
  • The therapeutic properties of cardamom-oil is applied in many traditional medicines as antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and tonic.
  • Small cardamom is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium that helps to control heart rate and blood pressure and to produce red blood cells.
  • It is also a rich source of iron and manganese. 100 g pods contain 13.97 mg or 175% of daily-required levels of iron.
  • Cardamom seeds are rich in many vital vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C that is essential for optimum health.

Medicinal use:
The therapeutic properties of cardamom oil have found application in many traditional medicines as antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and local anesthetic, antioxidant in addition to health promoting and disease preventing roles. Cardamom is used internally for indigestion, nausea, vomiting and pulmonary disease with copious phlegm. It can be used with a laxative to prevent stomach pain, griping, as well as flatulence. Cardamom seeds are chewed to sweeten the breath and 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. The oil made from cardamom seeds is very good for digestive system. It functions as a laxative and soothes colic, wind, dyspepsia and nausea.  It also works to warm the stomach and helps with heart burn. It is also used to prevent throat troubles, congestion of the lungs, pulmonary tuberculosis and inflammation of eyelids. Cardamom is also brought in used to kidney stones and gall stones.

Culinary use:
It is used as aromatic spice mostly in Nepalese, Indian, Bhutanese, Central and Southern Chinese cuisines. Cardamom is widely used as a flavouring material in whole and ground form. In India and Pakistan, black cardamom seeds are often an important component of the Indo-Pak spice mixture garam masala. In China, the pods are used for long-braised meat dishes, particularly in the cuisine of the central-western province of Sichuan. In Europe and North America it is an ingredient in curry powder and in some sausages products.

Green cardamoms are packed in jute sacks with capacity of 40 to 100 Kg. The packaging practices, however, differ with the intended duration of stocking.

  • Storage period less than 15 days, cardamom packed in jute bags and left unstitched
  • Storage period more than 15 days, packed in jute bags with plastic sheet lining