Elaichi (Cardamom) – Elettaria Cardamomum

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Elaichi (also spelled as Elachi, Cardamom in English, & botanically Elettaria Cardamomum) has several health benefits. It is beneficial for overall digestive system, respiratory system, kidneys, blood, heart, and skin. It is commonly found in ayurvedic medicines used for the treatment of several diseases of these organs.

Elaichi (Cardamom) seeds are used in ayurvedic medicines for respiratory diseases. It is ingredient of Sitopaladi Churna, which is famous medicine for recurrent respiratory infections, cough, asthma, cold, and several other diseases. Green Cardamom Pod outer skin is also beneficial for improving blood circulation and exerting blood purifier action. The whole pod with seeds is used in making Cardamom (Elaichi) Tea.

Botanical Description

Scientific Name of Elaichi (Green Cardamom) is Elettaria Cardamomum.

Common Names

Botanical NameElettaria Cardamomum
Botanical SynonymAmomum Cardamomum
English NameGreen Cardamom, True Cardamom
Hindi NameElaichi, Elachi, ILACHI, CHHOTI ELAICHI
Sanskrit NameELA, SUKHSHAMELA, TRIPUTTA

Botanical Classification (Plant Taxonomy)

KingdomPLANTAE
Sub-KingdomVIRIDIPLANTAE
Infra KingdomSTREPTOPHYTA  (land plants)
Super DivisionEMBRYOPHYTA
DivisionTRACHEOPHYTA (TRACHEOPHYTES or Vascular Plants)
Sub DivisionSPERMATOPHYTINA (SPERMATOPHYTES or Seed Plants)
ClassMAGNOLIOPSIDA
Super OrderLilianae (Monocotyledons, Monocots)
OrderZingiberales
FamilyZingiberaceae (Ginger Family)
GenusElettaria
SpeciesElettaria Cardamomum (E. Cardamomum)

Plant Description

Type of PlantHerbaceous Perennial
Native Range (Geographic Distribution)India & Sri Lanka
Height (grows up to)5 to 20 feet
Habitat (type of environment)Tropical  regions having temperatures around 35 degrees or higher
LeavesIt has leafy shoots that arise up to 5 to 20 feet, sometimes up to 10 meter
FlowersFlowers shoots can arise up to 1 meter
FruitsFruits are like capsules, which contains seeds

Phytochemistry (Chemical Composition)

Cardamom seeds contain essential oil, which is composed of following phytochemicals:

ALPHA-TERPINEOL45%
MYRCENE27%
LIMONENE8%
MENTHONE6%
BETA-PHELLANDRENE3%
1,8-CINEOL2%
SABINENE2%
HEPTANES2%

Medicinal Properties

Elaichi (Cardamom) is a good aromatic, digestive stimulant and carminative. All these medicinal properties are due to the essential oil present in cardamom. Other properties include:

  1. Diuretic
  2. Antispasmodic
  3. Expectorant
  4. Antitussive
  5. Antitussive
  6. Antacid
  7. Antiulcerogenic
  8. Antiemetic
  9. Antioxidant

Elaichi (Cardamom) increases blood circulation, reduces toxins in the blood and increases elimination of these toxins by inducing mild diuresis. It also has anti-allergic effects, which appear in allergic skin rashes and urticaria. Aphrodisiac effects are also observed with cardamom seeds. It also has immunostimulatory effects, which are noticeable in recurrent upper respiratory infections. It lessens and prevents recurrent infections.

Ayurvedic Properties

According to ayurveda, Elaichi has influence on all three dosha. It balances tridosha in the body, so it is an important ingredient of many herbal tea combinations. The main influence is observable on KAPHA DOSHA. It checks mucus production in the chest and so it is highly beneficial in all types of cough.

Taste – RASAKATU (Pungent), MADHURA (Sweet)
Main Quality – GUNALAGHU (Light), RUKSHA (Dry)
Potency – VIRYASHEETA (Cold)
Resultant – VIPAKAMADHURA (Sweet)
Therapeutic Effect – PRABHAVARejuvenation & Supplement
DOSHA KARMA (Effect on Humors)Pacifies Tridosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha)
Beneficial for OrgansStomach, Lungs, Kidneys, Heart & Skin

Therapeutic Indications

Elaichi (Cardamom) is an important part of many ayurvedic medicines used for respiratory disorders, sore throat, burning sensation, and skin problems. Independently, it works in –

  1. Throat irritation
  2. Bad breath
  3. Burning sensation in the abdomen, during micturition, and heartburn
  4. Flatulence
  5. Indigestion
  6. Stomachache with burning sensation
  7. Hiccup
  8. Excessive thirst
  9. Vertigo

The main indicating symptom for using Elaichi is burning sensation. Therefore, Cardamom can be used in all types of diseases having burning sensation as a presenting symptom. In conjunction with other herbs, cardamom also provides relief in following diseases:

  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Excessive urination
  • Heart diseases
  • Asthma
  • Pus in urine
  • Urinary retention
  • Leucorrhea
  • Common cold
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urticaria

Benefits & Medicinal Uses

Elaichi (Cardamom) has very pleasant aroma and taste, so it is generally used for flavoring food. It relieves from mouth ulcer, bad breath, stomachache, and for aphrodisiac purposes. It provides strength to the lungs and boosts immunity, so it is used for chronic cough, chest pain, common cold, cough with purulent discharge, and chronic bronchitis.

According to ayurveda, it mainly reduces KAPHA, and then it has effect on PITTA and then on VATA humor. It increases appetite, reduces burning sensation, increases feeling of well being. Its tea can also be used as tonic and immunity booster supplement.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Elaichi (Cardamom) acts as breath freshener. A poor dental hygiene leads to accumulation of food particles. It also increases bacterial growth. The food breakdown by these bacteria causes foul smell from the mouth. This is a very common cause.

Maintaining proper dental hygiene and chewing cardamom pods help reducing bad breath and decreases bacterial growth due to antibacterial characteristics. The essential oil present in the cardamom has significant antibacterial property. (1)

Chewing cardamom pods is also helpful in bad breath that occurs due to specific foods, chronic bronchitis, Dry mouth, and chronic inflammation of nasal mucosa, sinuses and throat. Cardamom (Elaichi) reduces inflammation, provides soothing feeling and gives relief from post nasal drip.

In Ayurveda, Elaichi is used along with betel leaf. Chewing both together reduces bad breath and maintains good dental and gum health.

In chronic cases of bad breath can use following mixture of herbs.

Cardamom (Elaichi)25%
Yashtimadhu (Mulethi) – Licorice25%
Mustak (Nagarmotha) – Cyperus Rotundus25%
Coriander Seeds (Dhania)25%

This mixture in dosage of ½ teaspoon twice daily reduces bad breath and cures chronic Halitosis. This remedy should be used for at least 3 months regularly to get rid of bad breath permanently.

Nausea & Vomiting

Cardamom has antiemetic properties, which appears in mild vomiting and nausea. It is more beneficial when vomitus comes out with sour taste and burning sensation. 2 grams cardamom seed powder provides good relief in nausea. It can be repeated for 3 to 6 times a day depending on the condition.

If vomitus has no sour taste and it is tasteless or sweet or patient feel heaviness in the abdomen, then cardamom seed powder should be given along with Pippali Churna.

Dyspepsia & Heartburn

Cardamom gives relief from heartburn and dyspepsia (indigestion). It improves appetite and promotes good digestion of food. For this purpose, cardamom tea is highly beneficial. 3 grams cardamom pods should be crushed and added in 200 ml water, simmer it and when it reduces to 50 ml, then tea should be taken.

Attention & Memory Disorders

According to traditional medicine, Cardamom (Elaichi) improves intelligence and learning skills. Cardamom facilitates acetylcholine activity, which is essential for memory, attention and learning. This effect appears because cardamom decreases acetyl cholinesterase activity and improves acetylcholine effect. (2)

In Ayurveda, Elaichi (Cardamom) seed powder in dosage of 1 gram is given along with 500 mg Vanshlochan powder twice a day for 3 months. Its regular use improves intelligence, attention span, and memory.

Nosebleed (Epistaxis)

In nosebleed, cardamom alone is not effective; it is used in combination with ayurvedic medicines like praval pishti, vanshlochan, giloy sat, Tragacanth gum (Gond Katira) and sugar. All ingredients are mixed in following proportion.

Cardamom Seed12.5%
Praval Pishti12.5%
Vanshlochan12.5%
Giloy Sat12.5%
Tragacanth Gum (Gond Katira)12.5%
Sugar50%

In frequent nosebleeds, this mixture should be taken for 4 to 6 weeks. It is helpful for prevention of frequent nosebleeds. It is also helpful in other bleeding disorders and checks bleeding.

Tachycardia

Cardamom (Elaichi) along with Vanshlochan and Sharbat Unab helps in the treatment of tachycardia. Other medicines according to underlying cause of tachycardia should also be included in the treatment. It alone is generally helpful in cases of high blood pressure, stress disorders, smoking, excessive intake of alcohol or caffeinated beverages, etc.

Frequent Urination

Frequent urination may have multiple underlying causes. Cardamom may not work in all cases, but it provides relief from frequent urination that occurs due to kidney infections, diabetes, interstitial cystitis, nephritis, overactive bladder syndrome and urinary incontinence. Along with Pippali Churna (Piper Longum), Shilajit (Asphaltum), cardamom provides relief from frequent urination. One can also use Chandraprabha Vati and cardamom seed powder for curing several PITTA and KAPHA dominant urinary disorders.

Cardamom seed powder can also be taken with Shatavari Juice, Chandanadi Vati and Gandhak Rasayan if frequent urination occurs along with severe burning sensation. Generally, this combination is indicated in urinary tract infections and kidney infections.

Common Cold

Cardamom (Elaichi) plays a supportive role in management of common cold. It reduces stuffy nose, throat itching, congestion, cough, headache and fatigue that occur due to common cold. The following decoction formulation is highly beneficial for quick relief from common cold.

Cardamom Seed20%
Black Pepper (Kali Mirch)20%
Cinnamon (Dalchini)20%
Ginger20%
Coriander seeds20%

1 teaspoon of this mixture should be added in one glass of water. Boil and then simmer this mixture until liquid remains around 50 to 60 ml. This decoction should be taken thrice daily.

Hiccup

Cardamom (Elaichi) has smoothening effect and anti-spasmodic properties, which helps relaxing diaphragm and gives relief from hiccup. In acute cases, chewing 2 to 3 cardamom pods is very helpful. In chronic cases, cardamom seeds should be taken with one teaspoon of Holy Basil (Tulsi) juice.  2-3 cloves can also be taken along with cardamom seeds and Tulsi Juice for enhancing anti-hiccup and anti-spastic effects.

Cough

Cardamom (Elaichi) seeds have antitussive and mucolytic properties, so it is an important ingredient in Sitopaladi Churna, which is commonly used for all types of cough.

In productive cough, Elaichi seeds can also be taken with cinnamon, Pushkarmool (Inula Racemosa) and honey. The proportion of these herbs should be as follows:

Cardamom Seed1 grams
Cinnamon500 mg
Pushkarmool (Inula Racemosa)250 mg
Honey1  tsp.

This mixture can be taken thrice a day for 5 to 10 days. This mixture clears lungs and provides relief from productive cough.

Excessive Thirst

Elaichi (cardamom) is drug of choice for excessive thirst. Its decoction and tea give immediate relief from excessive thirst. Cardamom seeds can also be taken with honey for getting relief from excessive thirst.

Flatulence

A fine powder of Elachi with Hing (Asafetida) helps relieving flatulence.

Cardamom1 grams
Hing (Asafetida)100 mg

This combination gives quick relief from gas, flatulence, bloating, abdominal distension and heaviness in the abdomen.

Vertigo

Elaichi (cardamom) pod (with outer skin and seeds both) has anti-vertigo effect. In ayurveda, Elachi is used with jaggery (gur) for the treatment of vertigo. Many people taking PROCHLORPERAZINE for nausea, vertigo (reeling sensation) and dizziness can get promising relief by using cardamom pods. For this purpose, 3 to 4 cardamom pods with 2 to 3 grams jaggery should be chewed thrice a day for 3 to 7 days. In chronic cases, treatment duration with cardamom may take up to 4 to 6 weeks to get complete relief from the vertigo.

Pyuria

Pyuria (white blood cells or pus in the urine) indicates bacterial infections. Essential oil in cardamom seeds (Elachi) inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microbes. It also has diuretic action, which increases urine output and clears the urinary tract from infection. However, its antibacterial action is not as potent as antibiotics, but it plays a supportive role in management of pyuria. In ayurveda, Chandraprabha Vati, Vanga Bhasma and Chandanadi Vati are also given with cardamom seed powder.

Dysuria

Cardamom has diuretic property. Along with Amla Powder or Amla Juice or curd (yogurt), cardamom seed powder in dosage of 2 grams thrice daily gives relief from dysuria (difficult or painful urination). Cardamom along with Amla also helps to reduce burning micturation.

Leucorrhea

Leucorrhea is a very common problem in women, which can be treated at home with cardamom seeds. It is effective when discharge has yellow-greenish color and foul smelling. In ayurveda, along with Vanshlochan and rice water, cardamom seed powder is given for 1 to 3 months depending on the condition of the patient.

Menorrhagia, Metrorrhagia & Menometrorrhagia

Cardamom (Elachi) along with Rumi Mastagi (Mastic Gum), Nagkesar, and Vanshlochan is very useful in cases of prolong periods and heavy uterine bleeding.

Nicotine Withdrawal

Cardamom (Elachi) can also help people want to quid nicotine use. Chewing cardamom pods 4 to 6 times a day reduces craving for nicotine, restlessness, irritability, impatience, and anxiety. It also improves sleep quality and prevents depression. For effective results, some anxiolytic and anti-stress herbs should also be used along with cardamom. These herbs include Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri), gotu kola (Centella asiatica), Licorice (Mulethi), Vacha (Acorus Calamus), and Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera or Indian Ginseng) etc.

Dosage & Administration

The general dosage of Elaichi (Cardamom) is as follows.
Infants (Age: Up To 12 Months)250 mg *
Toddler (Age: 1 – 3 yrs)500 mg *
Preschooler (3 – 5 yrs)750 mg *
Grade-schooler (5 – 12 yrs)1 gram *
Teenager (13 -19 yrs)2 grams *
Adults (19 to 60 yrs)3 grams *
Geriatric (above 60 yrs)2 grams *
Pregnancy500 to 1000 mg *
Lactation1 to 3 grams *
Maximum Possible Dosage12 grams Per Day (in divided doses)
* Twice a day with appropriate adjuvant
When to Take: It can be taken anytime in a day. For best results in digestive ailment, it should be taken an hour before meal. For headache and vertigo, it should be taken an hour after food.

Safety Profile

Elaichi (Cardamom) is considerably safe for most individuals. It is used in food as spice and food additive.

Side Effects

There are no side effects reported with Cardamom pods, seeds, tea or decoction.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Elaichi (Cardamom) is likely safe in food amounts in pregnancy and breastfeeding. But extracts of cardamom should not be used in pregnancy. Cardamom in raw, natural and crude form is safer than its extracts.

Contraindications

No Absolute contraindications

Drug Interactions

Not known

Ayurvedic Formulations of Elaichi (Cardamom)

  1. Eladi Choornam (Eladi churna)
  2. Eladi Vati
  3. Eladi Grita (Ghee)
  4. Eladi Thailam (Eladi Oil)
  5. Eladi Lepa


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