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Cardamom

Binomial Name – Elettaria cardamomum

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Binomial Name – Elettaria cardamomum

Cardamom (/ˈkɑːrdəməm/), sometimes cardamon or cardamum, is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia. They are recognized by their small seed pods: triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin, papery outer shell and small, black seeds; Elettaria pods are light green and smaller, while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown.

Species used for cardamom are native throughout tropical and subtropical Asia. The first references to cardamom are found in Sumer, and in the Ayurvedic literatures of India. Nowadays, it is also cultivated in some other countries, such as Guatemala, Malaysia and Tanzania. The German coffee planter Oscar Majus Kloeffer introduced Indian cardamom to cultivation in Guatemala before World War I; by 2000, that country had become the biggest producer and exporter of cardamom in the world, followed by India.

Both forms of cardamom are used to add flavor to both food and drink, as cooking spices and as a medicine. Elettaria cardamomum (the usual type of cardamom) is used as a spice and in medicine; it is also smoked sometimes; it is used as a food plant by the larva of the moth Endoclita hosei.

In South Asia, Green cardamom is often used to treat infections of the teeth and gums. It is also used against troubles of the throat, congestion of the lungs and pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of eyelids and also digestive disorders. It has been used to break up kidney and gall stones, and as an antidote against the poison of certain snake bites.

Cardamom is the world’s third-most expensive spice, surpassed in price per weight only by vanilla and saffron.

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