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Cardamom The Queen of Spices

In this article we dive into another essential spice of Indian food: cardamom, a member of the ginger family.

 

Origins: Cardamom is often referred to as The Queen of Spices, and it is used extensively in Indian cuisine but it has also been adopted worldwide mostly in Scandinavian dishes. It originated in India but is available worldwide today and used in both sweet and savoury recipes. Today it also grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Indo China and Tanzania.

History: It is quoted in Charaka Samhita, a Sanskrit text on Ayurveda, written between the 2nd century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D.. It was then quoted in the 4th century B.C. in a Sanskrit manuscript regarding political affairs. The ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner; the Greeks and Romans used it as a perfume.

Health benefits: Alongside its fascinating origins, it has many properties and health benefits which are worth exploring.

The seeds, oils and extracts of cardamom are thought to have impressive medicinal properties and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Cardamom has a complex flavour. It’s citrusy, minty, spicy, and herbal all at the same time, and it’s highly fragrant, too. Due to this, it’s widely used in all sorts of dishes.

Here are some health benefits of cardamom, backed by science.

  1. Its diuretic properties can lower blood pressure which makes it a natural detoxifier and is good for skin.
  2. It is rich in antioxidant compounds that can fight inflammation.
  3. it is used to treat infections due to its antibacterial effects
  4. Compounds in cardamom can help increase airflow to your lungs and improve breathing.
  5. Cardamom extract can decrease elevated liver enzymes, triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
  6. It can be used to improve anxiety as it rebalances low blood levels of antioxidants, which have been linked to the development of anxiety and other mood disorders.
  7. It is believed that it helps with weight loss due to its diuretic properties.
  8. Its cooling effect and antibacterial properties improve digestion and work on gastrointestinal issues
  9. Some compounds contained in cardamom can help fight some types of cancer

 

Interesting facts: Cardamom offers an interesting twist to your usual cup of tea, with its refreshing aroma and minty notes. It can also be used by infusing the seeds or cardamom pods in hot water. The tea often features notes of apple and is consumed alongside sweet dishes. It is a great option as a winter warmer and keeps at bay all the bugs as its vitamins and minerals boost our immune system. Cardamom is also used in cakes, buns and sweets. Go ahead and enjoy!

 

Did you know? Cardamom features regularly in the Arabian Nights as the Arabs credited this spice with aphrodisiac properties and the ancient Indians regarded it as a cure for obesity. It has been used as a digestive since ancient times.

 

For more interesting facts about spices, see our post on Turmeric

Some of our sources :
Healthline,The Spruceeats, Web MD, Indian Mirror, The Epicentre, Spicely .
Disclaimer: The information provided has been well researched and written from many sources available online and the views provided is not of Namaste Delhi. Namaste Delhi do not take any responsibility for any technical error in the article. Moreover this article is purely informative and does not intend to replace and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. The information expressed in this article has no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice or other institution.

Fresh Turmeric and powder from it

Turmeric – the saffron of India

Turmeric or The Saffron of India

 

Historic background

While the use of this spice dates back 4000 years to the Vedic culture in India, we do know that the Vedic people used Turmeric and products derived from it as far as 4000 years back and slowly spread through other regions with Marco Polo describing Turmeric’s properties as very similar to those of Saffron.

 

Etymology

Today, turmeric is widely cultivated in the tropics and goes by different names in different cultures and countries. In North India, turmeric is commonly called “haldi,” a word derived from the Sanskrit word haridra, and in the south it is called “manjal,” a word that is frequently used in ancient Tamil literature. It is known as terre merite in French and simply as “yellow root” in many languages. In many cultures, its name is based on the Latin word curcuma. In Sanskrit, turmeric has at least 53 different names.

 

Cultivation

Turmeric itself is a plant belonging to the ginger family, which is native to tropical South Asia. As many as 133 species of Curcuma have been identified worldwide.  The turmeric plant needs temperatures between 20°C and 30°C and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive.

India produces nearly all of the world’s turmeric crop and consumes 80% of it. With its inherent qualities and high content of the important bioactive compound curcumin, Indian turmeric is considered to be the best in the world.

 

Common uses

Turmeric has been put to use as a foodstuff, cosmetic, and medicine. It is widely used as a spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. The spice lends curry its distinctive yellow colour and flavour. It is used as a colouring agent in cheese, butter, and other foods.

 

Health properties

Some cultures give herbs and spices almost magical powers and turmeric is no exception. This cure-all spice, is well known for various health benefits from reducing inflammation, helping alleviate and cure asthma, bronchial hyperactivity to different respiratory allergies, indigestion, bloating, stomach aches and various eating disorders.

Consuming turmeric on a regular basis can help purify the blood, dissolve clots and thin the blood, which promotes better blood flow and increased absorption of oxygen. This helps raise your energy levels, increase sleep quality and lowers heart disease risk.

On top of this, the antioxidants found in turmeric, not only help slow the aging process, but have been proven to help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Interesting facts:

  • While turmeric can help with many different ailments, it is not magic but consistency is key for the effects to take place!
  • Turmeric paste is applied to the skin of the bride and groom before marriage in India where it is believed to make the skin glow and keep harmful bacteria away from the body. No wonder several multinational companies are involved in making face creams based on turmeric!
  • Erode, a city in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world’s largest producer and the most important trading centre for turmeric. It is also known as “Yellow City,” “Turmeric City,” or “Textile City.”
  • Recently the plant has been praised for its ability to prevent multiple types of cancer (skin cancer, breast cancer, oral cancer, and stomach cancer), as well as slowing the aging process. If used in combination with other herbal remedies, it can be as effective and often times more so then high-end medication and all at a fraction of the cost!

 

 Conclusion: Turmeric has a lot of underlying potential and should be looked at by anyone trying to improve their health and make any dish tastier!  

 

Disclaimer: The information provided has been well researched and written from many sources available online and the views provided is not of Namaste Delhi. Namaste Delhi do not take any responsibility for any technical error in the article. Moreover this article is purely informative and does not intend to replace and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

Also check our article on cardamom

Some of our sources used for this article are:

www.healthline.com, www.webmd.com, www.wikipedia.org, www.nullfieldhealth.com, www.everydayhealth.com