Cardamom has been used for thousands of years in medicine and food. But why should you use it? Read on to learn all about cardamom oil and how to use cardamom in your wellness routine.
by James Han
A close relative of ginger, cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is the third-most expensive spice in the world, after saffron and vanilla. In fact, it’s known informally as the “queen of spices.” Though you may not be familiar with the way it tastes on its own, you’ve probably encountered cardamom’s warm, aromatic flavor in South Asian curries, Scandinavian pastries, Turkish coffee and more.
Though cardamom is most commonly used for culinary purposes in its spice form, cardamom oil has an equally impressive and longstanding history of therapeutic use.
In fact, incorporating cardamom oil into your daily routine has a range of benefits, including improved energy and better digestion. Here, we’ll dive into a quick history of cardamom oil — including its production and traditional applications — as well as discuss its benefits and how to use it in your everyday life.
What Is Cardamom Oil?
Typically grown in hot and humid conditions, the cardamom plant is spangled with small, pistachio-like pods that each contain between 5 and 12 seeds, depending on the species. While these seeds can be dried and ground to produce cardamom spice, they can also be steam distilled before they are ripe to produce cardamom oil, which is chock-full of the highly fragrant essential oils terpinen, cineol and limonene.
Uses of Cardamom and Cardamom Oil
Cardamom likely originated in southern India, and there are texts that reference the plant dating back almost 5,000 years. In many ancient traditional medicines, cardamom was thought to help with a variety of conditions.
According to a critical review in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, some of these conditions included “asthma, teeth and gum infections, cataracts, nausea, diarrhea, as well as cardiac, digestive and kidney disorders.” It was also thought of as both a stimulant and aphrodisiac, as well as a breath freshener. Around the world, many people still chew cardamom seeds like chewing gum, particularly after a meal. Currently, half of the world’s cardamom production is used for flavoring coffee, predominantly in Middle Eastern countries. It’s also largely used in Scandinavian and Baltic pastries and cakes, as well as in South Asian spice mixtures, korma blends, masalas and more.
Energizing Benefits of Cardamom Oil
Cardamom oil is prized for its therapeutic properties, including the ability to help you feel more energetic and less stressed. It is also rich in antioxidants. Here are some more reasons why cardamom oil can be a great addition to your wellness pack:
- Gives increased focus and energy. In one study, cardamom was shown to help relax participants’ airways, considerably improving airflow and increasing oxygen uptake. Increased oxygen to the brain can help boost alertness and cognitive function.
- Great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help the body fight the oxidative stress that comes with a poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and other factors. Cardamom, which is rich in antioxidants, has been shown to combat free radicals in the body.
- May help with digestion. Cardamom has been used for millennia to help with digestion. Some research indicates that cardamom can help alleviate stomach issues, though more research is needed.
- Can freshen breath. Cardamom oil’s antimicrobial properties allow it to penetrate the membrane of certain bacteria. As such, it can help with the microorganisms that cause bad breath, cavities and more. One randomized controlled study found that chewing cardamom and fennel for five minutes restored the pH balance of the mouth.
Though cardamom is widely regarded as safe for most individuals, check with your doctor if you have any questions about its safety for you.
How To Use Cardamom Oil in Your Life
Cardamom oil is a versatile, nontoxic and safe essential oil. If you’re wondering how to use cardamom oil into your life, you have options, ranging from aromatherapy to tinctures. If you want to boost focus and energy for an upcoming meeting or test, you can add a few drops of pure cardamom oil into a diffuser and let it run near your desk. You can also add a drop to marinades, smoothies, desserts, stews or other dishes to give yourself both mental and digestive support. Keep in mind that cardamom oil is potent, so a little goes a long way in your food.
The best — and most convenient — way to take cardamom oil is with the GO CBD tincture: a blend of Ayurvedic essential oils including cardamom, ginger and rosemary, and amplified with hemp extract to give you long-lasting focus and productivity. If you want a pure essential oil blend without CBD, you can get the GO Essential Oil tincture instead.
To learn more about cardamom and other Ayurvedic herbs that can help you find greater mind-body balance, check out our blog.
James Han is a writer, editor and content strategist based in Los Angeles. When he’s not deep in a Google Doc, you can find him reading, watching films and taking long walks.
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