Cardamom: The Boon of Nature - Everything You Need to Know

by Somya Agrawal

Cardamom is a spice that comes from the seeds of a plant in the ginger family. It is frequently used to enhance the flavor and aroma of various foods during baking and cooking. Cardamom has a strong, aromatic, and slightly sweet taste with hints of citrus and mint. It is used in both savory and sweet dishes and is commonly found in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian cuisine. Cardamom can be used in whole pod form, ground form, or as an essential oil. It is also popularly used in beverages like tea, coffee, and cocktails.

Through this article, let’s dig deep into cardamom, its types, health benefits, and day-to-day usage.

Types of Cardamom

There are several types of cardamom, which is a spice derived from the seeds of plants belonging to the ginger family. The two most common types are:

1) Green Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum): This is the most widely used and highly valued type of cardamom. It is grown in India and Guatemala and has a strong, pungent flavor with a slightly sweet and citrusy aroma. Green cardamom is used in both savory and sweet dishes, including curries, desserts, and beverages like chai tea.

2) Black Cardamom (Amomum subulatum): Black cardamom has a smoky and earthy flavor with a hint of camphor. It is grown mainly in the eastern Himalayas and is commonly used in savory dishes, such as curries, soups, and stews. Black cardamom pods are larger than green cardamom pods and have a rougher outer shell.

Apart from these two main types, there are also other varieties of cardamom such as:

3) White Cardamom: White cardamom is green cardamom that has been bleached to remove the outer shell, resulting in a lighter appearance. It has a milder flavor compared to green cardamom.

4) Madagascar Cardamom (Amomum madagascariensis): This type is native to Madagascar and has a similar flavor profile to black cardamom but is milder and sweeter.

5) Nepal Cardamom (Amomum subulatum var. nepalensis): Grown in Nepal, this variety is similar to black cardamom but is smaller and has a milder, more aromatic flavor.

It’s worth noting that green and black cardamom are the most commonly used and easily available varieties, while white cardamom and other types may be less widely used or harder to find.

What is the Nutritional Value of Cardamom?

Cardamom is a highly nutritious spice that is rich in various vitamins and minerals. The nutritional value of cardamom per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is as follows:

  • Calories: 311
  • Protein: 10.8 grams
  • Fat: 6.7 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 68.5 grams
  • Fiber: 28 grams
  • Calcium: 383 milligrams
  • Iron: 14 grams
  • Magnesium: 229 milligrams
  • Potassium: 1119 milligrams
  • Vitamin C: 21 milligrams
  • Vitamin B6: 0.23 milligrams

It is important to note that the serving size of cardamom used in recipes is usually much smaller than 100 grams, so the actual intake of the above nutrients is usually much lower.

Health Benefits of Cardamom

There are several health benefits associated with Cardamom consumption, including:

1) Digestive Health: Cardamom contains compounds that stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, which can help improve digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion, bloating, and gas.

2) Anti-Inflammatory Properties: The antioxidants found in cardamom, such as polyphenols and flavonoids, have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Consuming cardamom may help reduce inflammation and protect against chronic conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and certain types of cancer.

3) Heart Health: Cardamom is rich in fiber and antioxidants, which are beneficial for cardiovascular health. It may help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and prevent the formation of blood clots, reducing the risk of heart disease.

4) Oral Health: Chewing cardamom pods can help freshen breath and improve oral health. It has antimicrobial properties that can combat bacteria responsible for bad breath and dental cavities.

5) Respiratory Health: The aroma of cardamom can help clear nasal congestion, soothe sore throats, and alleviate symptoms of respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis.

6) Detoxification: Cardamom has diuretic properties, meaning it helps promote urination and flush out toxins from the body. This can help improve kidney function and prevent the buildup of waste products.

7) Weight Management: Cardamom may aid in weight loss due to its thermogenic properties, which can boost metabolism and increase calorie burning. Additionally, its high fiber content can promote feelings of fullness and reduce overeating.

8) Mental Health: Cardamom has been used in traditional medicine to uplift mood and promote mental clarity. It contains compounds that can improve cognitive function and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

9) Anti-Cancer Properties: Research suggests that cardamom may have anti-cancer properties due to its high antioxidant content. It may help protect against certain types of cancer and inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells.

10) Immune Support: The antioxidants in cardamom can support a healthy immune system by neutralizing harmful free radicals and strengthening the body’s defense against infections and diseases.

How to Use Cardamom?

Cardamom is a highly aromatic spice that is commonly used in both sweet and savory dishes. Here’s how to use cardamom:

1) Ground Cardamom: Cardamom pods can be ground into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. This powdered form can be used in a variety of recipes.

2) Baking: Add cardamom to your baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, or muffins, to infuse them with a unique flavor. It pairs particularly well with citrus flavors and nuts.

3) Hot Beverages: Sprinkle a pinch of ground cardamom into your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate for a subtle spicy note. 

4) Curries & Stews: Cardamom adds depth and warmth to savory dishes. Use it sparingly in curries, stews, and soups to enhance the flavor profile.

5) Rice Dishes: Add a few whole cardamom pods or ground cardamom to your rice while cooking to infuse it with a delightful fragrance.

6) Pickling: Cardamom can be used in pickling recipes to add complexity and a unique twist to your homemade pickles.

7) Whole Cardamom Pods: The whole pods can be used in various ways, depending on the dish you are preparing.

8) Infusing Flavor: Crack open the pods slightly to release the seeds, and then add them to your dish while cooking. This method works well in rice, lentil dishes, and broths.

9) Tea: Steep crushed cardamom pods in hot water along with other spices like cinnamon and cloves for a fragrant herbal tea.

10) Muddling: Muddle the whole pods with other ingredients, such as mint and lime, to create unique cocktails or mocktails.

11) Cardamom Oil: Cardamom oil is highly concentrated and should be used sparingly. It is commonly used in making liqueurs, flavoring ice creams, and adding aroma to baked goods.

Remember to start with a small amount of cardamom and adjust the quantity according to your taste preferences, as it has a strong and intense flavor. Cardamom can also be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place to maintain its freshness.


Cardamom is a spice widely used in cooking and has several health benefits. It is native to India and is often referred to as the “queen of spices.” cardamom has a strong, unique flavor that can enhance both sweet and savory dishes. It is commonly used in baked goods, such as breads, cookies, and cakes, as well as in various traditional Indian and Middle Eastern recipes. Cardamom pods can be used whole or ground, and the seeds inside the pods have the most intense flavor. Apart from its culinary uses, cardamom has been used for centuries in traditional medicine.

Overall, cardamom is not only a flavorful addition to dishes but also a spice with potential health benefits. Its unique taste and versatility make it a popular choice in various cuisines. Whereas, its medicinal properties have been recognized and utilized for centuries.