So, what is cardamom good for? According to Ayurveda, the buildup of ama (toxins) blocks normal circulation in the body, reduces energy levels and is the main cause of illness and disease. Cardamom’s warming and detoxifying effects aid in reducing the accumulation of ama (toxins) in the body and maintaining health. In addition, it helps to reduce Kapha in the stomach and lungs (such as congestion and mucous) and pacifies Vata, which when out of balance can lead to anxiety.

Potential Health Benefits of Cardamom in Ayurveda:

Antioxidant activity
Cardamom is rich in antioxidants, which has been shown to protect cells from free radical damage that can cause inflammation and pre-mature aging.2

Supports respiratory health
Black cardamom helps to soothe colds and coughs by lubricating the respiratory pathways.

Aids digestion
Cardamom has been shown to reduce indigestion, gas and bloating by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes which are activated by smelling and tasting the spice. It is especially helpful after a meal as it makes heavy and acidic foods easier to digest. In the Middle East, coffee is often brewed with cardamom to offset the negative effects of the acidic coffee (and it imparts a delicious flavor as well!)

Oral health
A phytochemical found in the oil of cardamom called cineole has been shown to have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that support good oral health. Studies have found that it fights bad breath and aids in healing mouth ulcers. In addition, some studies have found cardamom extracts to be effective against Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans, a common yeast that can cause various digestive issues and infections if it proliferates.3

Supports kidney and bladder health
Due to its diuretic effects, cardamom supports cleansing toxins from the urinary tract, kidneys and bladder.4

Supports blood pressure
Cardamon is a rich source of fiber (2g of fiber in 1 Tbsp). The fiber content along with its diuretic effects may help to reduce blood pressure.4,10

Supports healthy blood glucose levels
A study on the health benefits of cardamom on obese rats found that supplementation with cardamom powder improved blood glucose levels significantly.5 In addition, cardamom is a rich source of manganese, which may play a role in managing blood sugar levels.

Promotes a healthy metabolism
Cardamom’s warming effects boost metabolism from an Ayurvedic perspective, as Pitta dosha governs metabolism. However, modern day studies have shown it to also have potential benefits, including supporting healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as aiding the body in burning fat more efficiently.5, 9

Immune booster
Cardamom is also a rich source of Vitamin C which has been proven to boost the immune system.

Supports more restful sleep
Smelling the fragrant aroma of cardamom essential oil before going to bed has been shown to promote more restful sleep in some people. In addition, cardamom powder is often used along with several other ingredients to create a nourishing and delicious Ayurvedic sleep tonic.

May improve athletic performance
One study of 30 college students evaluated the health benefit of cardamom aromatherapy on heart rate variability during exercise. Aerobic fitness levels were higher in the aromatherapy and exercise group than in the group that just did the exercise. The first group showed in increased ability to utilize oxygen during exercise. While this is certainly an exciting discovery, more research is needed to draw conclusive results.7

The potent oil from cardamom may have the ability to relax smooth muscle in the body, potentially reducing gastric pain, gas, cramps, tremors, hiccups, coughs and aiding in reducing asthma.8 A few drop of oil in a glass of water can be helpful for gastric discomfort, while a few drops mixed into a carrier oil massaged on the skin can help to reduce cramping.

While there are no scientific studies on the aphrodisiac properties of cardamom, it has been praised in Ayurveda as a powerful spice that supports male sexual health and feelings of intimacy.