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Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • (+/-)-trans-2,3,3a,7a-tetrahydro-1H-indene-4-carbaldehyde, 1,7-bis(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)hepta-4E,6E-dien-3-one, 1,8-cineole, 2,3,7-trihydroxy-5-(3,4-dihydroxy-E-styryl)-6,7,8,9-tetrahydro-5H-benzocycloheptene, acetyl terpineol, aframomum, Alnus-cardamom, alpha-terpinyl acetate, Amomum, Amomum cardamomum, Amomum tsao-ko Crevost et Lemarié, Amomum villosum Lour, amooman, bai dou kou, bari ilaichi (Urdu), bastard cardamom, black cardamom, buah pelaga (Malay), caffeic acid, cardamom oil, cardamom seed, cardamome (French), cardomomi fructus, cardamomo (Italian, Spanish), cardamon, cardamone (Italian), choti elachi (Hindi), chlorogenic acid, cinnamic acid, elaichi (Hindi), Elettaria cardamomum, Elettaria cardamomum Maton, Elettaria cardamomum Maton var. Miniscula Burkill, elam (Tamil), enasal (Sinhalese), ferulic acid, gallic acid, grains of paradise, grawahn (Thai), greater cardamom, green cardamom, heel kalan, Indian cardamom, kapulaga (Indonesian), Kardamom (German), kardamomma (Iceland), kravan (Thai), large cardamom, lesser cardamom, limonene, linalool, linalyl acetate, Malabar cardamom, minerals, myrcene, Mysore cardamom, Nepal cardamom, phalazee (Burmese), phenolic acids, protocatechualdehyde, protocatechuic acid, Siam cardamom, small cardamom, tannic acid, terpineol, terpinolene, true cardamom, ts'ao-k'ou (Chinese), Unmadnashak Ghrita, vanillic acid, winged Java cardamom, Zingiberaceae (family).
  • Combination product example: Padma®28 (Padma Inc., Switzerland).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Cardamom is the dried, unripened fruit of the perennial Elettaria cardamomum, which is indigenous to India, Pakistan, Burma, and Sri Lanka. It is widely cultivated and important in world trade (1). It is considered a high-priced herb and used predominantly to flavor sweets, baked goods, and coffee, particularly in South Asian and Middle Eastern countries (1). Enclosed in the cardamom fruit pods are tiny, brown, aromatic seeds, which are both pungent and sweet to the taste. Cardamom pods are generally green but are also available in bleached white pod form. Whole pods and decorticated seeds with the outer hull removed are both available.
  • There are several species that are used like "true" cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), including species in the Aframomum, and Amomum genera (Zingiberaceae (ginger) family). In general, Aframomum is used as a spice. Elettaria is used both as a spice and as medicine, and Amomum is used as an ingredient in several traditional medicines in China, India, Korea, and Vietnam (2).
  • In addition to its wide use for culinary purposes, cardamom has been used traditionally for a variety of conditions including as a digestive, carminative, stimulant, breath freshener, and aphrodisiac. Cardamom has been found to have cholinomimetic and calcium channel-blocking activity, which may mechanistically support its use for cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders (3). Based on animal and in vitro study, cardamom has also been found to regulate inflammatory and immune activities and may be useful for cancer prevention (4;5).
  • Although several human trials have been conducted using 1,8 cineole (6;7;8), a main constituent of cardamom and other botanicals, there is insufficient human evidence to support the use of cardamom for any indication. Further study is required before firm conclusions may be drawn.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.