Black cardamom belongs to the ginger family and its scientific name is Amomum subulatum. Black Cardamom is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.
It is used in both sweet and savory dishes. The black cardamoms are placed either under the lid of the pot while cooking to impart their flavor or placed right at the start so they infuse faster.
Black cardamoms are also called green Zeera Pakar in Urdu/Hindi/Nepali languages because it looks similar to green cumin seeds but is larger and darker.
Its strong flavor and aroma is the reason why it is used in most Indian desserts like kheer, halwa, etc. Black cardamom is also available in ground form; however, the whole pods are more flavorful than their ground counterpart.
Varieties of Black Cardamom
The two main types of this spice are amomum subulatum and amomum tsao-ko. There is some confusion about these plants: Some sources list them as belonging to one species while others list them as belonging to two separate species.
The Amomum subulatum has a characteristic rhizome that can grow up to 30 cm in length and 3 cm in diameter at its thickest point.
While this is larger than that of most other varieties on the market, Amomum Tsao-ko has an average rhizome size for all three varieties ‘ averages put together. This plant has a spicy flavor and is rather more pungent than the others.
What Does Black Cardamom Taste and Smells Like?
Black cardamom tastes quite different from the more common green cardamoms. Black Cardamom pods are much larger than their green counterparts, and Black Cardamom is the strongest of all the cardamom.
It has a strong, camphor-like flavor and can be used in place of Black Pepper or crushed Black Peppercorns. Black Cardamom is often combined with other spices to flavor meat dishes. Black Cardamom is also used to flavor Indian Chai Tea.
It has a strong, musty aroma with elements of camphor combined with citrus notes. Black Cardamom actually has a very complex aromatic profile, including hints of rosemary, pine, eucalyptus, and nutmeg.
Is Black Cardamom Good For Health?
The health benefits of black cardamom are immense. It is one of the healthiest spices for your health that you can find in any supermarket. Nature has blessed us with many health-giving wonders and some of them are really hidden from plain sights, like Black Cardamom, which is called badiyan (meaning hidden) in India.
Black cardamom is the seed of the plant Amomum subulatum. It contains antimicrobial, anti-cancer, antioxidant properties that protect our body from diseases.
As per health experts, This spice boosts immunity and gives you relief from ailments like cold and cough. It also aids digestion, soothes stomach tissues, reduces nausea and vomiting, controls blood sugar levels, helps in maintaining cholesterol levels, and much more.
Top Health Benefits of Black Cardamom
Black cardamom is a health powerhouse that should not be overlooked- it has been used for health benefits in both traditional and modern medicine.
It contains a number of health-boosting properties, including antioxidants, phytonutrients, essential oils, minerals, and vitamins. Read on to learn what these health benefits are!
Phytonutrients are substances found naturally in plants that have health-promoting effects on the body- such as antioxidants and enzymes.
It contains a number of phytonutrients including rutin (a flavonoid), quercetin (another flavonoid), and kaempferol (a type of polyphenol). Kaempferol is most known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits.
Quercetin is the most abundant of the flavonoids in black cardamom and it has health benefits including health benefits to the digestive tract, respiratory system, and brain.
Contains Essential Oils
Essential oils are found in many different varieties of spices- they are responsible for their wonderful aromas! These health-promoting substances are used as natural medicine worldwide.
It contains various levels of essential oils, including limonene (a terpene with anti-inflammatory health benefits), phellandrene (which has antifungal properties), 1,8 Cineole (“eucalyptol”), and Linalool (another terpene).
Limonene is most known for its health benefits to the digestive system and colon health.
As a health-promoting spice, black cardamom contains significant levels of minerals such as calcium, magnesium potassium, zinc, and iron.
It also contains small amounts of copper, manganese, and selenium. Selenium has health benefits that include preventing fibrosis (a type of scarring) and preventing tissue damage.
It contains health-promoting vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin C, Vitamin A (as mentioned above), Folate (folic acid or vitamin B9), and Niacin (also known as vitamin B3).
Vitamin C is well known for its antioxidant properties but it also has an immune-boosting activity to help fight off common illnesses like the flu.
Vitamin A improves eyesight and reduces the risk of macular degeneration- leading to blindness. Folate helps with cell health while Niacin boosts the immune system.
Good for Digestion
Black cardamom has health benefits that include improving digestive health due to its antispasmodic, carminative (reduces intestinal gas), stomach-soothing, and laxative properties. It is also used in some parts of the world as a treatment for colic in infants.
Improves Energy Production
Black cardamom health benefits also include improved energy production due to its iron content- it prevents anemia by helping with red blood cell health.
Since black cardamom is so rich in antioxidants, it can improve mitochondrial health which ultimately leads to better energy levels. It also improves energy levels by promoting the health of cellular respiratory enzymes.
Good For Respiratory Health
Its health benefits include good respiratory health, which is related to its anti-inflammatory activity. It also contains 1,8 Cineole (eucalyptol), which has health benefits such as aiding in healthy lung function and helping with nasal and sinus congestion.
Helps Reduce Cholesterol
Its health benefits include cholesterol reduction due to the insoluble fiber content it contains. This type of soluble and insoluble fiber helps promote healthy gut health and reduces the risk factors associated with heart disease and diabetes.
One of the black cardamom’s health benefits is its anticarcinogenic activity due to the thymoquinone content, as mentioned above. Thymoquinone is a compound with anti-inflammatory health benefits that have been shown in some studies to reduce the risk of various cancers.
Improved Brain Health
Black cardamom has brain health-boosting effects due to two compounds found within it: 1,8 Cineole (eucalyptol) and limonene. Both these compounds have been shown in scientific studies to improve memory, mood, and general cognition function.
Side Effects Of Black Cardamom:
The side effects of this spice may include Nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset. Side effects such as dry skin on the face or anus, excessive thirst, increased urination, metallic taste in the mouth might also occur.
So it is recommended not to consume more than the necessary amount of this powder daily. Its side effects can be decreased by reducing its quantity during consumption and by drinking more water every day.
Any other Side effects of this may be considered as signs of an allergic reaction and should be immediately consulted with a doctor.
Side effects of Black Cardamom can appear not only because of an overdose but due to many reasons. So, it is recommended to consult an experienced doctor for specific treatment.