Botanical Name; Aframomum corrorima
Species: A. corrorima
Common Names: Korarima, Ethiopian cardamom, or False cardamom
Vernaculr Names: Korarima, cardamome d’Ethiopie, poivre d’Ethiopie (Fr). Korarima, Ethiopian cardamom, false cardamom (En).
Aframomum corrorima is a perennial, rhizomatous, aromatic herb with leafy stems 1–2 m tall; rhizome subterete, up to 1 cm in diameter, profusely branched, red-brown, covered with thin, subovate scales up to 6 cm × 4 cm and bearing thin, fibrous, pale brown roots; stem unbranched, mainly formed by the leaf sheaths, subterete, up to 1 cm in diameter but at base usually thickened up to 3 cm diameter. Leaves alternate, distichous, simple; sheaths covering each other, yellow-green, with prominent veins and scarious, ciliate margins; ligule deeply bilobed, thin, ciliate, lobes acute, up to 3 cm long; petiole 4–10 mm long, deeply grooved above; blade elliptical to oblong, 10–30 cm × 2.5–6 cm, obliquely obtuse at base, cuspidate at apex, margin entire, glossy dark green above, paler green and often a bit reddish below, lateral veins fine, pinnately arranged but parallel, making a very sharp angle with the midrib, 4–9 per 5 mm above, 12–16 per 5 mm below. Inflorescence a shortly stalked head arising from the rhizome near the base of a leafy stem, sometimes situated at the end of a rhizomatous runner, up to 5-flowered; peduncle up to 7 cm long, covered by imbricate, purplish-brown, subovate scales 2.5 cm × 1.5 cm; head covered with imbricate, purplish-brown, ovate to square bracts up to 4.5 cm in diameter; each flower surrounded by a scarious, suboblong bract up to 6 cm × 2 cm, bidentate, ciliate. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic; calyx spathaceous, up to 4.5 cm × 1 cm; corolla tubular, 3-lobed at apex, white to pale violet, tube up to 4.5 cm long, densely woolly in upper 2 cm, lateral lobes ovate-oblong, up to 4 cm × 2 cm, dorsal lobe up to 4 cm × 3 cm, labellum obovate in outline, with a half-tubular fleshy claw up to 3 cm × 1.5 cm and a subovate to orbicular lobe up to 3 cm × 3.5 cm, thin, slightly notched, yellow at throat inside; fertile stamen 1, filament fleshy, slightly rounded, 6 mm × 5 mm, connectivum fleshy, at apex with 2 lateral horns 4 mm long, thecae 2, narrowly ellipsoid, about 11 mm × 1 mm; ovary inferior, 3-locular, style thin, terete, up to 5 cm long, stigma funnel-shaped, 2 mm wide, ciliate, top of ovary provided with 2 (sometimes more) lobed, fleshy outgrowths (probably nectaries), partly clasping the style. Fruit an indehiscent, subconical berry up to 6 cm × 3.5 cm, usually showing 3 longitudinal furrows but sometimes more, shiny green when immature, turning bright red at maturity, with 3 cells containing 45–65 seeds each. Seeds subglobose in outline but usually somewhat angular, 2–5 mm in diameter, testa finely lined, glossy brown, hilum circular, whitish, aril thin, a bit fleshy, completely covering the seed.
Dried seeds are extensively used in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. It is an ingredient in berbere, mitmita, awaze, and other spice mixtures, and is also used to flavor coffee.
Korarima seed has a mild, sweet flavour and is less peppery or pungent than seed of Aframomum melegueta K.Schum. (grain of paradise). The seeds contain essential oil which has a typical odour and is sometimes called ‘nutmeg-cardamom’. After distillation of dried comminuted fruits, 3–3.5% of a pale yellow volatile oil with a flat cineolic odour can be obtained, in which the following compounds have been found (all monoterpenes, approximate amount of the major ones): 1,8-cineol 32–35%, limonene 7–14%, ?-pinene 4–7%, sabinene 7–9%, terpinen-4-ol 3–5%, geraniol 5%, P-cymene 4%, ?-pinene, ?-terpineol and ?-terpinene 3% each. Sesquiterpenes were identified in another analysis; the total was dominated by about 75% monoterpenes including 1,8-cineol (38%) and terpinyl acetate (11%), and 17% sesquiterpenes including nerolidol (11–14%), ?-caryophyllene (2%) and caryophyllene oxide (1%).
In Ethiopian herbal medicine the seeds are used as a tonic, carminative, and laxative.
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.