Cardamom is the dried, unripened fruit of the perennial Elettaria cardamomum. Enclosed in the fruit pods are tiny, brown, aromatic seeds, which are both pungent and sweet to the taste. Cardamom pods are generally green but are also available in bleached white pod form. It is available both in the whole pod and as decorticated seeds with the outer hull removed.
The spice known as cardamom is the fruit of several plants of the Elettaria, Aframomum and Amomum genera in Zingiberaceae, or ginger family. In general, Aframomum is used as a spice. Elettaria is used both as a spice and as medicine, and Amomum is used as an ingredient in several traditional medicines in China, India, Korea and Vietnam.
Cardamom has been used traditionally for a variety of conditions including as a digestive, carminative, stimulant, breath freshener and aphrodisiac. Current research has implicated cardamom's potential therapeutic value as an inhibitor of human platelet aggregation.
Aframomum, Amomum, Amomum cardamomum, Amomum subulatum Roxb, amooman, bai dou kou, Bari Ilaichi, bastard cardamom, buah pelaga (Malay), cardamom oil, cardamome (French), cardamomo (Italian, Spanish), cardamon, cardamone (Italian), cardomomi fructus, chhoti elachi (Indian), elaichi, e(e)lachie (Indian), ela(i)chi (Indian), Elettaria cardamomum, Elettaria cardamomum Maton var. Miniscula Burkill, elam (Tamil), enasal (Sinhalese), grains of paradise, grawahn (Thai), greater cardamom, Heel kalan, illaichi (Indian), Indian cardamom, kapulaga (Indonesian), Kardamom (German), Kardamomma (Iceland), kravan (Thai), large cardamom, lesser cardamom, Nepal cardamom, Malabar cardamom, Mysore cardamom, phalazee (Burmese), protocatechualdehyde, protocatechuic acid, Siam cardamom, true cardamom, ts'ao-k'ou (Chinese), Unmadnashak Ghrita, winged Java cardamom, Zingiberaceae (family).
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.