Common Names: Black cardamom, Hill cardamom, Bengal cardamom,Greater cardamom, Indian cardamom, Nepal cardamom, winged cardamom, or Brown cardamom
Italian: cardamomo, cardamone
Indian: chhoti elachi, e(e)lachie, ela(i)chi, illaichi
Thai: grawahn, kravan
In Bengali It is called baro illach for Black Cardamom and choto illach for green Cardamom.
Habitat: Black cardamom is native to India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bhutan.
Black Cardamom is a herbaceous plant.It is a perennial bush of the ginger family, with sheathed stems reaching 10-12 feet in height.
It has a large tuberous rhizome and long, dark green leaves 30-60 cm (1-2 ft) long, 5-15 cm (2-6”) wide.
Trailing leafy stalks grow from the plant base at ground level, these bear the seed pods.
The flowers are white with blue stripes and yellow borders.
The fruit is a small pod or capsule with 8 to 16 brown seeds; the seeds are used as a spice.
The pods are used as a spice, in a similar manner to the green Indian cardamom pods, but with a different flavor. Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used in sweet dishes. Its smoky flavor and aroma derive from traditional methods of drying over open flames.
At least two distinct species of black cardamom occur: Amomum subulatum (also known as Nepal cardamom) and A. costatum. The pods of A. subulatum, used primarily in the cuisines of India and certain regional cuisines of Pakistan, are the smaller of the two, while the larger pods of A. costatum are used in Chinese cuisine, particularly that of Sichuan; and Vietnamese cuisine.
Black cardamom is often erroneously described as an inferior substitute for green cardamom by those unfamiliar with the spice; actually, it is just not as well suited for the sweet/hot dishes which typically include cardamom, and that are more commonly prepared outside the plant’s native range. Black cardamom, by contrast, is better for hearty meat stews and similar dishes. Although the flavor differs from the smaller green cardamom, black cardamom is sometimes used by large-scale commercial bakers because of its low cost.
In China, the pods are used for jin-jin braised meat dishes, particularly in the cuisine of the central-western province of Sichuan. The pods are also often used in Vietnam, where they are called thao quo and used as an ingredient in the broth for the noodle soup called pho.
The content of essential oil in the seeds is strongly dependent on storage conditions, but may be as high as 8%. In the oil were found ?-terpineol 45%, myrcene 27%, limonene 8%, menthone 6%, ?-phellandrene 3%, 1,8-cineol 2%, sabinene 2% and heptane 2%. Other sources report 1,8-cineol (20 to 50%), ?-terpenylacetate (30%), sabinene, limonene (2 to 14%), and borneol.
In the seeds of round cardamom from Jawa (A. kepulaga), the content of essential oil is lower (2 to 4%), and the oil contains mainly 1,8 cineol (up to 70%) plus ?-pinene (16%); furthermore, ?-pinene, ?-terpineol and humulene were found.
The largest producer of the black cardamom is Nepal, followed by India and Bhutan. In traditional Chinese medicine, black cardamom is used for stomach disorders and malaria.
Green cardamom is broadly used in South Asia to treat infections in teeth and gums, to prevent and treat throat troubles, congestion of the lungs and pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of eyelids, and digestive disorders. It also is used to break up kidney and gall stones, and was reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venoms. Amomum is used as a spice and as an ingredient in traditional medicine in systems of the traditional Chinese medicine in China, in Ayurveda in India, Pakistan, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Among other species, varieties, and cultivars, Amomum villosum cultivated in China, Laos, and Vietnam is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat stomach problems, constipation, dysentery, and other digestion problems. Tsaoko cardamom, Amomum tsao-ko, is cultivated in Yunnan and northwest Vietnam, both for medicinal purposes and as a spice.
Some Home Remedies:
- Large cardamom when mixed with palmyra palm and honey if taken in small quantity cures cough, asthma and weakness.
- Burning the small cardamom on a frying pan till it becomes cool, after it becomes cool, crushing it into powder and taking its four rattis (1 ratti=8 grains of rice) four times a day, mixed with ghee and honey, cures dry cough.
- Crush the large cardamom seeds to fine powder, four “rattis” of this powder along with four “rattis” of powdered dry ginger, when taken with honey cures cough. (1 ratti=8 grains of rice)
- Powdered large cardamom, powdered rock salt mixed with ghee and honey cures disease connected with phlegms.
- Large cardamom if taken along with either “Amla” juice or powder of “Amla” cures inflammation, it also cures the burning sensation in hands and feet and inflammation while urination.
- If a large cardamom is burnt along with its skin, if 5 “rattis” of this ashes are taken with honey at regular intervals, then it stops the occurence of vomit due to phelgm.
- Six “rattis” of powdered large cardamom, one “ratti” of asafoetida (hing). After roasting these mixtures of powder, mix it with lemon juice and have it, it will cure flatulence, abdominal pain etc.
- Mixing equal quantities of powdered large cardamom and powdered fig roots and having it daily in the morning with “honey”, cures heart disease.
- Powder of large cardamom if taken with honey cures “Uraemia”.
- Powder of four seeds of large cardamom when taken with honey stops vomit due to excessive humor of bile in the body.
- Powder of large cardamom when taken with curd neutralizes the poison of a mangoose.
- Cardamom should not be used by a pregnant woman because there is a fear of abortion.
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Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.