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Do you love to sip on cardamom tea when you want a break from the regular caffeine fix? It is a great way to relax and recuperate after a hard day’s work. Cardamom hailed as the ‘queen of spices’, joins the elevated ranks of some of the most expensive spices such as saffron. It belongs to the group of perennial plants of the family of Zingiberaceae, which has ginger and turmeric as its peers.
The plant contains pods that produce 15 to 20 seeds each. These seeds are often ground to a powder for using in cooking or medicinal purpose. Did you know that there are two kinds of cardamom? One is black (winged cardamom) another is the more common, green (true cardamom).
This kind of cardamom is available in different regions, at different elevations, and people tend to use the local variety to flavor their foods and as medicine. Southern Indian cuisine is more about using green cardamom as it is available local and fresh, whereas the northern Indian and Nepalese cuisines favor more of the black variety. Not to forget, both kinds of cardamom are a part and parcel of Unani and Ayurvedic medicines.
Cardamom Benefits in Ayurveda – Why Does Ayurveda Regard this Tea as a Health Elixir?
There is so much more to this spice than just flavoring your food or lending your dishes a distinct aroma. While there are many black cardamom benefits, there are many green cardamom benefits as well. Let’s put all the benefits here in a nutshell and give you more reasons to have both the green and black variety.
- Optimizes digestion
- Accelerates the healing of respiratory issues
- Fights bad breath
- Eases menstrual symptoms
- Reduces skin irritations
- Prevents the onset of chronic diseases
- Boosts circulation
- Protects hair health
- Aids in weight loss
- Lowers blood pressure
Whoa! That’s quite a list; but as with everything else, don’t go overboard on it, there are some side effects of sipping on Indian cardamom tea. Don’t worry, they are few and far between, just that some people may be allergic to it and people with gallstone issues may have to exercise caution in using it, it may react with certain medications as well. So, like every health remedy, moderation is the key. If you are someone enjoying a piping hot ‘chai’ nestled in the cozy corner of your home watching the rains splashing against your window panes, go ahead sip along, you will sip only the goodness out of this ‘magical tea’.
Tea is a luxury that most people should enjoy amidst loved ones or alone with a book. Ah! The sheer bliss! Okay, let’s talk about the benefits in detail now. What is this cardamom medicinal tea that everyone is going ga-ga over? Is it like one of those health fads? Yeah, I’m scared of those health fads too, you know where one day you will find that a certain food is great for your body and a few days down the line, research will reveal completely opposite facts.
What is Cardamom Tea?
Cardamom is native to India and cultivated in many places around Asia along with the rest of the world. It lends a distinctive flavor to the dishes you add it to. I know of some native Indian desserts which merge harmoniously with cardamom seeds to give it that flavorful edge. For me, I can’t do without my payasam without the crushed cardamom seeds. A big bowl of freshly prepared payasam is stuff that culinary dreams are made of. It teases your olfactory senses besides your taste buds, of course!
Cardamom seeds contain a range of nutrients ranging from camphor, eucalyptol, limonene, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, to myrcene, it is also a receptacle of vitamins such as vitamin A, B and C, iron, potassium, copper, magnesium, copper, and zinc. No wonder it is so great for you.
Cardamom Vitamins – More Reasons to Sip on it!
People suffering from chronic health conditions such as a weak immune system, high blood pressure, iron deficiency, halitosis, respiratory infections, liver toxicity, constipation, indigestion, obesity, and inflammation should definitely sip on cardamom tea. Same, if they suffer from various skin and hair issues such as dandruff, split ends, eczema, psoriasis. Also, women suffering from painful periods can also seek relief by drinking cupfuls of cardamom tea. Cardamom has some potent compounds that can help in cancer prevention as well.
Cardamom has incredible amounts of vitamins and minerals and boasts of certain antimicrobial properties. The rich vitamin and mineral content helps improve a host of skin issues such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, irritation, and inflammation. While you can sip on its healing benefits, you can also apply it to the affected skin areas to get quick relief. It will help control inflammation and in the regeneration of new cells. This spice can be used as a tool to prevent recurrences.
Suffering from hypertension? Well, you now have cardamom tea to your rescue. It is also a great way to protect your heart. It is a potassium-rich herb, which acts as a vasodilator, providing a protective shield to your arteries and blood vessels. This thus lowers your risk for heart conditions such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
Hair loss is a problem that many people face, and they try to frantically look for a solution to stop hair fall and look for something to regrow the hair. While we start looking for possible solutions in the racks of beauty shops, trying to find that one shampoo or oil that will put a stop to hair loss, help comes at hand in the form of a tiny herb called cardamom!
Yes, we have been looking for solutions in the wrong place, just direct your investigations to a more accessible place, the spice cabinet in your kitchen! Why is cardamom so great for your health? It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and works towards helping your hair health. It helps thicken and strengthen your hair strands and protects the scalp against dryness and inflammation, and also prevents infections of the scalp that lead to dandruff and finally hair loss.
Why do you have bad breath? The condition called Halitosis is a problem for many people, which results from a bacterial overgrowth in the mouth, and/or imbalance in the gut flora. A quick tip that works great is chewing on some cardamom seeds before you venture out. This eliminates bad breath and freshens up your breath with great effectiveness, thanks to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. So, now you know what to do, to eliminate bad breath in a jiffy!
Potent Anti-inflammatory Properties
Ayurveda has great things to say about Indian cardamom tea. It has a possible cure for everything under the sun right from arthritis to headaches and also helps in the process of injury recovery and dealing with chronic pain. Why does it work? Because of the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of cardamom tea. So, if you are recuperating from a surgery or feeling under the weather because of a stomach upset, this tea is just right to help you deal with the pain. Women suffering from painful periods seek relief in cardamom tea to minimize the symptoms of cramps.
This tea is indeed great for circulation, as it has a substantial content of iron, this also helps in red blood cell production. Once there is a boost in the production of red blood cells, it helps in the oxygenation of the skin and other organ systems, thus boosting your overall health.
Helps with Digestive Issues
The antimicrobial and anti-parasitic compounds in cardamom tea help in regulating your gut health, this eliminates parasites and gives you relief from some of the other symptoms related to indigestion such as flatulence, constipation, and diarrhea.
Aids in Weight Loss
Cardamom tea is full of B-family vitamins, which are a great metabolism booster. This boosts your metabolism and helps the body burn more fat as the body starts working harder. This is great news for people trying to shed some extra pounds; something that is so easily available can kick-start your weight loss process. Of course, it cannot be the only way to lose weight, rather it is an integrative process where you combine a lot of things together to reach your weight loss goals, such as maintaining a good diet and exercising. Drinking cardamom tea is just one of the many tools that help you in your journey towards health and fitness.
Helps in the Detoxification Process
The idea of detoxification process gives us the impression that we need to put ourselves through the wringer, doing extreme stuff like undergoing juice fasts, or eating only fruits all day. While all that is good for some people, it may not appeal to some of the others who balk at the very mention of detoxification. But there are other more such not-so-extreme-ways that can aid in detoxification. Drinking cardamom tea is one such way where you can stimulate the liver and help release toxins from the body. This is mainly because cardamom herbal tea has diuretic properties. It increases the urination process, helping you eliminate the toxins from the body.
Organic cardamom tea is a powerhouse of nutrients as cardamom seeds contain antioxidants and volatile compounds. This helps reduce the oxidative damage and also neutralize the free radicals within the body, which leads to cellular mutation and tissue inflammation, the chief cause of the proliferation of rogue cells leading to cancer and tumorous growths.
How to Make Cardamom Tea
Making cardamom tea is fairly easy as the ingredients are available and easily accessible. You can make cardamom black tea, ginger cardamom tea, and cardamom cinnamon tea according to your preference, or you can combine them all together to make a potent herbal concoction. When you add cardamom, remove the seeds at the last moment so as to retain the flavor and potency. To make one cardamom herbal tea, open the pods and grind the seeds to make a coarse powder, this method helps release the oils and the powerful active components.
1 tablespoon of cardamom seeds (crushed)
3 cloves (whole)
4 cups of water (filtered)
1 cinnamon stick
3 black peppercorns (whole)
1 tablespoon of organic honey (you can skip it if you want)
Boil the water in a stainless steel pot. Add all the ingredients such as cardamom seeds, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon stick to the boiling pot. Now let the liquid simmer and steep for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let the liquid sit for another few minutes. Strain the tea and pour it into your cups. You can add a natural sweetener or skip it altogether if you are watching your waistline.
Uses in Medicine – A Few Side-Effects to be Wary of
As we have already mentioned, too much of a good thing may not necessarily prove to be good. This may lead to allergic rashes or hives on your skin. You may be sensitive to cardamom, especially when you suffer from specific respiratory trouble, and excessive cardamom consumption may make the condition worse. The allergic reactions you may suffer from are as follows,
- Respiratory trouble
- Chest or throat tightness
- Chest Pain
- Uncomfortable feeling
- Shortness of breath
- Gallstone Complications
Excessive cardamom consumption may lead to gallstone complications? This happens as our digestive system is not able to absorb the cardamom fully. So, it results in seeds sedimenting in our bodies. So, people suffering from gallbladder conditions will have to steer clear of the herb.
Drug Interactions of Cardamom:
There are some medications that may interfere with cardamom, leading to further health problems. If you are on some of the following medications, control your cardamom intake:
- HIV drugs
- Gallstone medicines
- Liver medicines
- Anti-platelet drugs
- Anti-platelet drugs
- Irritable bowel syndrome medicines
How to Avoid the Cardamom Side Effects – Stop Cardamom Overdose
Don’t worry, cardamom may have some side-effects, but it is still something natural, and if you take it in moderation you may not fear about some of the side effects. To be on the safe side, ask your physician before you start consuming cardamom, especially when you suffer from any particular condition.
So, a keep a tab on some of the side effects and brew yourself a good old masala chai! Enjoy your me-time!
If you have been consuming cardamom tea for some time, have you experienced any benefits? Let us know in the comments section below.