Cardamom: what it is, useful properties and contraindications.
Without aromatic spices, culinary delights would become boring and monotonous. Many people love the bright and rich taste of oriental spices. And if you know how many useful properties harbor fragrant herbs and oils, you can noticeably improve your health and condition of the body by consuming delicious food. Let's talk about the benefits and possible harms of cardamom, the most valuable spice native to the East.
- What is cardamom and what does it look like?
- Types of Cardamom
- Composition and Calories
- Useful properties of cardamom
- General benefits
- For Women
- For Men
- During Pregnancy
- For children
- How is cardamom useful for weight loss
- Cardamom healing properties
- Cardamom in cosmetology
- Using Cardamom in Cooking
- Where to add cardamom
- What can replace cardamom
- Coffee and tea with cardamom: benefits and harms
- Cardamom oil: characteristics and application
- Damage and contraindications
- How to choose and store cardamom
- How to grind cardamom
- Interesting facts about cardamom
What is cardamom and what does it look like
The cardamom plant is a relative of ginger, which came from India and has spread around the world. Many centuries ago, healers and priests knew it as a healing potion that saves from many ailments. Cardamom is known in the East as the divine seed or queen of spices and is central to Ayurveda, the teaching of how to take care of one's health on all levels, beginning with the bodily.
The plant has long, arrow-shaped leaves that crown a sprig with flowers, and the fruits look like green or whitish pods, depending on the variety. Inside these pods are cardamom seeds which contain a lot of essential oils and exude a distinct aroma. It is these that are used in condiments and as a medicinal remedy.
Types of cardamom
You can meet two varieties of the spice commonly called cardamom:
- The green one is the "real" kind, the botanical name being Elettaria. Its capsules are thin and soft and have an elongated shape, similar to a peanut kernel. The aroma of this plant is intense and fresh - it is spicy, slightly minty and sour, reminiscent of melissa and thyme. On the taste the grains are sweet, creating a feeling of warmth.
- Brown, or dark, cardamom is a colleague of Eletaria called Amomum. It is also called Bengal, Siamese, or Nepalese cardamom. This subspecies has brown, rounded capsules that look more like apple pips. They are larger than green cardamom, also have a smoky aroma and flavor, and their essential oils are not as pungent.
In general, both subspecies have the same properties, but green cardamom has more medicinal power. It is considered one of the most expensive spices in the world: 10 grams of this raw material cost about 70 rubles, only vanilla and saffron are more expensive than cardamom.
On sale, cardamom spice can be found in several forms:
- in the form of ground powder;
- peeled grains;
- Whole cardamom capsules.
Powdered spices are usually offered cheaper because in place of the selected cardamom, they contain a mixture of similar cheaper spices, including ginger powder.
Composition and calories
Cardamom grains are rich in oils, so there are about 300 kcal per 100 g of product. But since the spice is consumed in small portions, there is no need to think about its energy value.
At the same time, cardamom fruits are rich in useful compounds: vitamins, trace elements, antibacterial substances, antioxidants. The whole group of vitamins B, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, zinc, selenium, sodium, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin E and other valuable elements are present in the composition of grains.
Useful properties of cardamom
The spice is distinguished not only by its unusual filling taste, but also by its useful rejuvenating effect. Cardamom is a pleasant way to get rid of many ailments and ailments.
The overall benefits
- Antimicrobial. The product effectively fights viruses and infections, protecting the body from colds and poisonings, especially in the transitional season.
- Anti-inflammatory. Infusion of cardamom seeds is used to stop the inflammatory process, especially in the respiratory organs, gastrointestinal and genitourinary systems. It also helps to eliminate pain in the joints.
- It is an analgesic and antispasmodic. The spice is chewed for attacks of nausea, motion sickness, intoxication, fever, general malaise and weakness. It tones the body, allows you to pull yourself together, relieves stomachaches and headaches, relieves fatigue and muscle aches.
- Antibacterial. Among other things, cardamom is an excellent breath freshener, so it is chewed to clean the mouth from food debris and stop the formation of plaque and unpleasant odor.
- Immunomodulatory. Thanks to the regular use of cardamom, you can significantly increase the body's resistance to disease and increase endurance.
Cardamom also strengthens the nerves, stabilizes sleep and mood, helps fight stress and invigorates.
Its substances are involved in the production of red blood cells and support the health of blood vessels and heart.
Cardamom is very useful for the gastrointestinal tract and digestion: it has a choleretic effect, helps to regulate sugar levels, eliminates nausea, bloating, has a windy, mild laxative effect, helping the body to get rid of toxins and prevent the accumulation of protein products.
Cardamom is excellent for warming up during the cold season and makes hot dishes even more pleasant for the body.
Women have long used the spice to relieve pain, malaise and nervous excitability during the critical days and after menopause. The spice soothes cramps, upset stomach and helps restore normal blood composition.
Cardamom also clears the skin of acne, comedones, irritations, healing micro-damage. It helps retain more moisture in the skin and hair, stimulates the production of natural collagen, keeping the face and body fresh, youthful and supple contours for longer.
No less important are the properties of an aphrodisiac. The use of cardamom helps maintain sexual sensitivity and elasticity of organs, increases libido, reduces the likelihood of fungal and other diseases.
Another valuable property of the spice for many women is its ability to help fight excess weight. When used externally and internally, the spice boosts the metabolism, stimulating fat burning, helps get rid of cellulite, normalizes appetite, removes toxins, and supports the nervous system, protecting it from exhaustion during diets.
For men, cardamom is useful for the overall strengthening of the body, increasing stamina, toning. The use of the spice during strength training will reduce muscle pain and get back into shape faster.
Cardamom is an excellent remedy in the fight against impotence, adenoma, circulatory disorders. This remedy has a complex effect:
- strengthens the nerves, helping to combat overstretch;
- Stimulates the healthy blood supply to the pelvic organs;
- Participates in the production of male hormones;
- Strengthens muscles and soft tissues, increasing their resistance;
- It eliminates inflammatory processes.
- The spice will also be useful for maintaining healthy hair.
It is important for pregnant women to maintain a strong immune system and body strength for the development of a healthy fetus. Consumption of tea with cardamom will help overcome nausea, mood swings, drowsiness and swelling. Also spice will contribute to the normal development of the immune, nervous and circulatory system of the child.
Nevertheless, do not get carried away with this exotic spice. Use it only if you are not allergic to cardamom, ginger and other related spices no more than 2 times a week.
During lactation at first, pediatricians and nutritionists recommend refraining from using cardamom, so as not to provoke an allergic reaction in the newborn. After 3 months, you can gradually introduce cardamom. It will improve the quality of milk by enriching it with calcium, help to clean the mother's body from toxins and infections, and help to recover faster in the postpartum period.
Some sources say that cardamom is used when a woman has no milk, to stimulate its production.
Introduce the spice to your baby gradually to let the body get used to it and make sure there is no rejection. If the spice has come in handy, you can introduce it in small portions to strengthen the baby's overall body, the normal development of the skeleton and nervous system and stabilize digestion.
Cardamom is often used for colic, bloating, nausea and vomiting. It is a safe means of prevention and treatment for colds, SARS, sore throat, especially for children attending playgrounds, kindergarten and school. It is excellent against runny nose, thinning phlegm and improves expectoration, relieves fever and inflammation, eliminates weakness and maintains a normal appetite.
Children are also given tea and coffee with cardamom, because the additive reduces the negative effects of caffeine on the nervous system. Drinking milk or tea with cardamom at night helps to calm and sleep, so it can be given to active children to calm the nervous system. Such drinks help to calm down and after caprices, children's tears, improving the mood.
What is the usefulness of cardamom for weight loss
Drinks with cardamom are often recommended for cleansing the body and shedding excess weight. Cardamom normalizes appetite and metabolism, stimulates the blood supply of the digestive system, so that the absorption of useful elements improves and all excess is eliminated.
The remedy cleanses the liver and biliary tract, normalizes acidity, removes toxins from the body, so that in the process of losing weight the complexion improves and other processes in the body are normalized.
The ability of the spice to increase the production of skin collagen helps to tighten the shape after weight loss, stimulates cell renewal, helps to readjust to a new regime.
Therapeutic properties of cardamom
Cardamom is distinguished by the fact that it can quickly eliminate a number of unpleasant symptoms. The following is a very simple way to get rid of nausea, headache, bad breath, drowsiness and fatigue by chewing a few grains of cardamom. This is not to be taken as a flavoring or a drink additive on the same day, so that you do not overdose on it.
From a sore throat, runny nose, to relieve inflammation in the body, as well as to stimulate erectile function, drink a warm drink with milk: it should be boiled, add cardamom, let stand for 5-6 minutes, cool a little, add honey (a mandatory component) to taste.
Folk recipes using cardamom
- For the treatment of joints, cardiovascular diseases, nervous disorders and impotence, alcoholic tincture with cardamom is used. To make it, take 250 ml of 40% alcohol, the same amount of water, 150 g of sugar and 2 g of cardamom seeds. Seeds should be poured in alcohol and infused for 2 weeks, then strain and inject sugar syrup into the liquid (bring water to a boil, add sugar, stir until dissolved, cool). After stirring thoroughly, the tincture should be cooled and taken 50 g with meals.
- To prepare a cleansing infusion for weight loss, you need to boil water and pour it over the grains at the rate of 1 tsp. fruits (whole) per 250 ml of liquid. Insist for 20 minutes. Strain the drink to take portions before meals, 250 ml is enough for 1 day (3-4 times). The course of purification and weight loss - 2 weeks. After that, it will be necessary to take a break.
Cardamom in cosmetology
Cardamom has been used in cosmetology for centuries, and ancient recipes are being modified to keep up with the times and used in cosmetics. The spice is added to many lifting creams and scrubs, which give:
- Antibacterial effect, gets rid of acne, heals irritation, peeling, even on very sensitive skin.
- Nourishing and moisturizing dry, fading and problematic skin.
- A tightening effect that stimulates cell renewal and smoothes wrinkles.
- Gently exfoliates dead skin cells.
Powder of cardamom seeds or their infusion can be used at home for masks and emulsions that will help cleanse, rejuvenate and refresh the skin, as well as nourish the hair.
Using cardamom in cooking
The spice has been added to food for centuries, not only to give it a special spicy taste, but also for practical purposes. Cardamom kills pathogenic organisms, so in the South it was added to marinades to extend the shelf life of meat products and to soften tough fibers.
In dessert dishes, such as candies, lukums, and sherbets, the oily additive keeps products fresh longer.
Cardamom is added to fatty dishes to stimulate digestion and have a choleretic effect. This ensures that the meat is not burdened by the gastrointestinal tract and is better digested.
Where to add cardamom
Cardamom is added to many dishes in cooking, both as dessert and main courses: first, second, all kinds of snacks and baked goods. The peculiarity of cardamom is that its true taste is revealed when it is cooked, so it is added to hot dishes and drinks, as well as to those that are boiled, stewed and baked.
- Cardamom is added to dough instead of vanilla to give it a tangy savory flavor. Commonly referred to are muffins, cookies, and pies.
- Often the sweet spice is added to marzipan or other fondant candies with nuts and seeds, alcohol.
- The spice brightens up boring breakfast cereals, protein smoothies and other "healthy" mixes well.
- The spice sounds good in vegetable broths and puree soups, in stews, hummus.
- In vegetables, cardamom goes well with potatoes, beans, peppers, tomatoes, pumpkin, celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, and beets.
- Cardamom is also an excellent flavor enhancer for stewed and steamed fish, meats, including poultry. It is added to pilaf or lasagna with seafood.
- Pickles and marinades are even unusual combinations. Cardamom goes well with pickles, zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic. It is used to make brine for casseroles as well as marinades for meat and fish.
- Cardamom seeds inimitably fill the flavors of black tea, coffee, chocolate drink and even compotes, morsels and herbal teas.
Experienced chefs recommend adding cardamom to stews and beverages as a whole along with the box, so its aroma is better revealed. But pastries and cream snacks are flavored with powdered peeled grains. It is advisable to use fresh, freshly ground powder rather than ready-bought mixtures.
Cardamom has a very bright, intense taste, so it should be added to dishes carefully. When familiar with the spice - 1/3 of the suggested amount in the recipe. So that the spice does not give the dish too much ether, it is customary to take it out beforehand, add it before turning off the fire or strain liquid dishes - drinks and broths.
How you can substitute cardamom
In the kitchen, cardamom can be replaced: if you can not find or buy an expensive spice, use a combination of its other flavor analogues. Here are a few secrets:
- In meat dishes, 1 tsp of ground cardamom will equal 0.5 tsp of allspice.
- In desserts, it is replaced by cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in equal proportions.
- A mixture of ginger and cinnamon or cloves will work with meat and vegetables.
- In curry or garam masala, cardamom can be replaced by cumin and coriander in a 1:2 ratio.
- In teas, a mixture of melissa, cinnamon, and ginger is suggested.
This will not bring out the unique aroma and flavor of cardamom, of course, but it can enhance the dish and give it the necessary spicy flavor.
Coffee and tea with cardamom: benefits and harms
Spices have long been used to give tea and coffee an exquisite flavor. Spicy and smoky spices with a sweet flavor are especially good for shading the taste of coffee, chocolate and black tea. This is why cardamom is used as an additive to hot drinks. But not everyone is aware of the beneficial properties that are revealed when the aromatic spice is added to tea or coffee.
- Cardamom reduces the influence of caffeine on the nervous system and has a positive effect on blood pressure. This makes it possible for hypertensive people, pregnant women and children to drink coffee.
- The regulation of blood sugar levels and the promotion of weight loss make drinks with cardamom useful for diabetes and during the observance of diets for weight loss.
However, in order not to harm the body with a high concentration of essential oil, experts recommend drinking no more than 4 cups of such a drink a day, with no more than 1 tsp of cardamom in each. You can drink them throughout the day, but not one after the other, so that the body has time to digest the received portion of useful substances.
Cardamom oil: properties and uses
Rich in valuable fats, cardamom kernels are cold pressed to obtain a useful oil. It is most commonly used to heal abrasions, burns and bites, added to cosmetics, and used in aromatherapy.
Cold and hot inhalations with this remedy help:
- Get rid of headaches;
- Relieve swelling and irritation of the respiratory tract in allergies and colds;
- eliminate nausea, cope with seasickness;
- to improve sleep and normalize mood.
When buying such oil, you should pay attention to the packaging with a quality label. Store the oil in a cool dark place and use a drip, as an overdose can cause irritation and poisoning reactions in the body.
Harm and contraindications.
With all the undeniable pros, cardamom also has disadvantages. You should not use the spice if you are allergic to plants of the ginger kind, as well as if you are hypersensitive to essential oils. Cardamom is a rather strong spice, the use of which in large quantities can lead to irritation of the mucous membranes of the stomach, excessive bile secretion, high blood pressure, fever and nausea.
Do not use the spice even rarely and in small quantities in such cases:
- acute gastrointestinal diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, cholecystitis;
- tendency to diarrhea and liquid stools;
- High blood pressure (in acute form);
- acute infectious and fungal diseases.
In the presence of such disorders, it is imperative to consult with your doctor before introducing the exotic seasoning into your diet.
How to choose and store cardamom
In order to buy a quality spice that can be safely used not only in cooking, but also in the preparation of home cosmetics and medicines, you need to pay attention to a few important features.
- Cardamom is an expensive and rare spice - you can find the real product in specialized online stores and shops. Cardamom cannot cost cheap, otherwise it is a fake.
- It is better to choose whole boxes, because they naturally preserve the flavor and aroma of the spice, but peeled and the more so ground grains much faster become tasteless and lose their medicinal properties.
- Packaging should be well sealed, airtight. Spice should neither weathered nor absorb extraneous odors, dust and moisture.
Of course, the brightest in smell and more valuable in properties will be green natural cardamom. But his brown counterpart will also come in handy in the kitchen and in the medicine cabinet. Therefore, if you can not afford the "gold" spice, it is quite possible to do with the "copper".
Do not stock up strategically on cardamom: it is valuable only for the first few months, even if properly stored. The maximum period is 2 years, after which both the powder and the pods will have to be replaced.
If you buy cardamom powder, pay attention to its consistency: no lumps or foreign impurities are allowed.
The color of the kernels and powder is brownish-earthy, brownish. The normal color of the capsules of the green variety as the haulm of corn is soft green or yellowish, large capsules in color similar to badanian or chocolate.
Store the spice in a glass jar or ceramic dish with a tightly closed lid, away from direct sunlight, as oxygen and ultraviolet light are not the best friends for products containing essential oils.
How to grind cardamom
To make cardamom powder yourself, you will need a coffee grinder or spice grinder. To get 1 tsp of the spice, you need to take 6 capsules.
You can immediately press them with the flat side of a knife to extract the seeds, or burn the pods in a dry pan to enhance the flavor of the spice. After that, it is not necessary to remove all the husks: if a few dry fragments get into the powder, it will not spoil the flavor. The seeds should be crushed and used at once. Cooks do not recommend storing cooked powder to avoid loss of flavor and health benefits, including when used in marinades.
Interesting facts about cardamom
- With the popularization of cardamom, it began to be grown not only in India, where it comes from, but also in the Bengal Peninsula. Today, the natural spice is produced in France and in the south of the North American continent.
- Cardamom has made its way into many cuisines around the world. In India, cardamom is most commonly used in desserts, rice and meat dishes. In African and Middle Eastern countries cardamom is often added to traditional drinks and stews. Unexpectedly, in Scandinavian countries this spice is very popular in pastries and confections.
- White cardamom is the same spice, treated with sulfur oxide for longer shelf life as well as to eliminate the overly pungent, aggressive aroma of the ester. It can also be used in any recipe.
If you've heard of cardamom but have never tried it before, now you know how to get to know this spice with great pleasure.
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