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Here is all you need to know about Black Cardamom


Black cardamom is also known as badi elaichi or kali elaichi. It is a traditional Indian spice used in every household of India for infusing a smoky flavor to food items. The third most high-priced spice in the world is known worldwide for its smokey, strong, and assertive taste. Black cardamom's scientific name is Amomum subulatum. The pods of Black Cardamom look dried, wrinkly skin and are one inch in length, while the seeds inside are small, dark in color, and sticky. It has a pungent aroma and is grown in Eastern Nepal, India, and Bhutan. 

Nutritional value of black cardamom (100g) 

  • Calories: 311 
  • Total Fat: 6.7g 
  • Saturated Fat: 0.7g 
  • Trans Fat: 0g 
  • Cholesterol: 0g 
  • Total Carbohydrate: 68g 
  • Dietary Fiber: 28g 
  • Protein: 11g

Taste of a Black Cardamom 

Black Cardamom has a strong, smoky flavor. Well, most of the taste in whole black cardamom comes from the tiny blackish seeds that are present inside the cardamom pod. The pungent and strong wood aroma that makes the black cardamom different from other spices comes from drying it in an open fire.

Most of the flavor and taste of a whole cardamom pod comes from the tiny seeds inside the pod. Due to the strong smoky taste, it lends a warm flavor to the dishes. Like Black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, black cardamom is also listed as a warm spice similar to cloves, black pepper, and cinnamon.

Types of Black Cardamom

There are two species of black cardamom, i.e., Amomum subulatum and amomum tsao-ko. In the Indian household kitchen, Amomum subulatum is used, which is as compared to amomum tsao-ko is smaller in size. The amomum tsao-ko species of black cardamom is used often in Chinese cooking.

Cooking with Black Cardamom

To use black cardamom, one can use it whole or can fry it in a little oil so that the flavors and aroma are fully released in the dish. If you like, you can also crush the pod a bit so that the seed is revealed. One can also use the black cardamom powder if they want by removing the skin and grinding the seeds. The black cardamom benefits most when it is slowly cooked in moist heat or mixed with other strong-flavored spices.

How To Store Black Cardamom

  • It is recommended to store the black cardamom in an airtight container and away from heat and direct light.
  • It is also suggested not to store the black cardamom with any other spices or green cardamom.
  • If the black cardamom is stored in an appropriate condition, then it will not lose its flavor for almost a year.

Is Black Cardamom and Badi Elaichi Same?

Black cardamom and Badi Elachi are the same. The Black cardamom is also known as the Badi Elachi. However, black cardamom is different from Green cardamom. Although both are from the same plant family, they are different in color, size, shape and are used differently in cooking as well. Green cardamom and Black cardamom even provide different health benefits.

Health Benefits of Black Cardamon:

Black cardamom is used from ancient times as a medicine because it provides various health benefits. Some of which are mentioned below:

Prevents cough and cold: 

Black Cardamom contains powerful antioxidants and thus helps in curing a cold and cough along with other respiratory problems. People who suffer from such a situation can consume some pods of black cardamom along with honey or can mix it with tea. Black cardamom tea is the most effective cure for the treatment of cold as it provides warmth to the body.

Digestive Health:

Black cardamom not only enhances the flavor but also helps in enhancing digestion. It is suggested to consume black cardamom after heavy meals as it allows the secretion of enzymes that are useful for digestive health.

It is beneficial for treating gastrointestinal problems like indigestion, stomach cramps, flatulence, and constipation as it has certain chemicals that boost the movement of food through the intestine.

The Black Cardamom has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and thus stimulates metabolism. The spice also helps in preventing gastrointestinal ailments like acid reflux, stomach ulcers, heartburn, diarrhea, etc. 

Regulates blood sugar levels:

Black cardamom is a natural remedy for treating blood sugar levels. The spice contains manganese and antioxidants that help in controlling the sugar level in the individual.

Heart Health:

Black cardamom is a heart-friendly spice. The antioxidant property present in the cardamom improves heart health, and the fiber present in it also helps in decreasing the cholesterol level. People who have the problem of blood pressure are also recommended to take black cardamom.

Prevents bad breath: 

Well, cardamom is a natural mouth freshener. The antimicrobial property helps in fighting the bacteria that cause bad breath and thus promote oral health.

Cancer Prevention:

Cardamom is a natural cancer treatment. The consumption of cardamom can reduce inflammation which hinders the growth of cancer cells and promotes their death.

Mental health and relaxation:

Black cardamom has anti-depressant properties. People suffering from depression, anxiety, situational episode of a stress attack, or any other issue must consume cardamom. The spice can do wonders in improving mental health and relaxing the mind. All you have to do is consume cardamom or its oil. You can also choose aromatherapy to get out of such mental conditions.

Increase life span:

The cardamom has certain components that help in flushing out the toxins and other waste from the body, thus overall clean the internal system. The spice, if consumed daily, makes you healthy and increases the life span of the individual.

Promotes blood circulation: 

The components present in the black cardamom are known to boost the blood circulation level in the body and especially in the lungs. Black cardamom is good for all respiratory disorders as it keeps energy levels up.

Cures sleep problem:

People suffering from any type of sleep issues like insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety are suggested to inhale the sweet and soothing aroma of cardamom essential oil as it helps in curing all these problems.

Balances the doshas: 

The spice is tridoshic which means that it helps in balancing all the three doshas - Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha in our body. The warming properties of the black cardamom help in soothing the body. The cardamom prevents the accumulation of the substance that lowers down the energy level and is a cause of several diseases.

Diuretic Properties:

The diuretic properties of the spice help in aiding the detoxification and is also beneficial in matters of hypertension, heart failure, and epilepsy.

Treat Asthma:

Now you know that cardamom is good for boosting blood circulation through the lungs, and thus it plays a crucial role in fighting breathing issues like wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. The spice also soothes the mucus membranes.

Intensifies Appetite:

Cardamom is an appetite stimulant and thus is suggested to people who lack appetite. The consumption of black cardamom on a daily basis can, or even cardamom oil can treat the lack of appetite. Cardamom oil is also very good for the cure of histoplasmosis. It is a condition in which one of the symptoms is a lack of appetite.

Improves Sexual Health:

If the spark in your sex life is gone, then cardamom is for your rescue. It has a cineole that releases nerve stimulants and enhances sexual desire. So, to improve your sexual health start consuming cardamom daily. It is also said that cardamom is also good for the treatment of impotence. 

Treat Hiccups:

The muscle-relaxing properties in the spice are beneficial in relieving the hiccups. To get rid of hiccups by using cardamom take a teaspoon of cardamom powder and add it to hot water. Keep it for 10-15 minutes, and then after straining, consume it slowly.

Treat Sore Throat:

For the treatment of sore throat, a mixture of cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper is quite effective. The cardamom also has antibacterial properties and even reduces irritation in the throat. 

For the treatment of sore throat, take cardamom and cinnamon powders, along with a little bit of black pepper and honey. Mix all the things and lick this mixture thrice a day. It is also said that cardamom also reduces the chances of nausea and prevents vomiting.

Restricts Blood Clots:

The spice contains several components that help in relieving blood clots.

These were some of the effective yet amazing benefits of black cardamom. The spice might look normal, but it provides several benefits to the human body. For the consumption of cardamom, you can use the whole pod, or in case the taste is strong for you, then you can use the seeds or crush it in a grounded form. After which, mix it in your daily cup of milk, coffee, tea, or even in warm water with honey.

Benefits of Black Cardamon on hair:

  • Black cardamom, apart from offering numerous health benefits to human health, also provides benefits to hairs and helps in making your hair grow, strong and shiny. Have a read below to know some amazing benefits black cardamom provides to hairs:
  • The antioxidant properties present in the black cardamom improve hair health and also provide nourishment to hairs. The spice enhances the strength of hairs and nourishes the hair follicles.
  • To provide nourishment to your hairs by using the black cardamom, follow the following things. Wash your hair with cardamom water or mix the powder with water. After washing your hairs with cardamom water, don't forget to wash it with shampoo to get the desired results. Also, the antibacterial properties present in black cardamom help in treating the infection of the scalp.
  • Black cardamom contains zinc which is very important for hair growth. For your information, zinc also helps in repairing damaged, dried, and frizzy hairs. For increasing your hair growth, take 3-4 black cardamoms and grind them well to make a fine powder. Before doing a shampoo, take this powder in a cup of water and wash your hair for the expected results.
  • No matter how much we save our hairs from dust and sunlight, the dirt happens to rest in our scalp resulting in providing harm to our hairs. Right? Well, we do apply many hair care products, but they are merely effective. In this case, black cardamom can help in removing the dirt completely from hairs, and even it makes the hair follicles stronger. 
  • The thickness of the hairs is a desire of everyone. Thus, to improve the thickness level of your hairs apply cardamom to your scalp before every wash. Usage of black cardamom regularly in your hairs is going to make your hair thick, strong, and shiny.
  • People often suffer from the problem of dandruff between their hairs. Most people have tried many hair care products to get rid of dandruff, but nothing works for long. Right? Thus, black cardamom is best for removing dandruff. Before every wash, all you have to do is apply a hair mask made of cardamom or cardamom water.

How to make a hair mask:

  • Take cardamoms and grind them will well to make a fine powder
  • Mix the lemon juice into the cardamom paste
  • Mix it well, and then apply it to your hairs.

A simple spice usage daily can transform your hair health. After mentioning all the amazing benefits of black cardamom, I think you are now convinced to include this spice in your daily life.

Black Cardamom Powder Uses

  • There are several uses of black cardamom as a whole pod or in powder form. The Black cardamom gives a pleasant flavor and aromatic taste when it is fired in a little bit of oil. Even before adding it to any dish, it can also be used in a crushed form so that the taste of seeds is also infused.
  • It is suggested to use black cardamom powder in every recipe. For making a powder form of this spice, all you have to do is remove the skin of the cardamom and grind the seeds well. One can also use black cardamom as a whole pod.
  • The right benefit of consuming black cardamom is through a long and slow cooking process, as in this case, the flavor of the black cardamom mixes well with the other spices.
  • Mixing the crushed cardamom to any dish enhances the flavors of other ingredients and spices used.
  • The smoky, strong and aroma of black cardamom incite the taste buds.
  • Many people know that black cardamom is used in dishes, beverages, and sweets, but many don't know that the main ingredient in making a pan masala is black cardamom.
  • The pods of black cardamom can be used in soups, casseroles, chowders, and other things for a smoky flavor.
  • The black cardamom infuses great taste in payasam, rice pudding, ginger fig chutney, and cakes.
  • The spice can be used in making a garam masala which is put in snacks, curries, and rice.
  • There is also herbal use of black cardamom. For that, all you need to start mixing the black cardamom powder in chai, coffee, and warm water.
  • There are several ways in which black cardamom is incorporated in rice. But, the most common one is putting it in boiling water along with rice. By doing so, the rice tends to absorb all the flavors of black cardamom, giving the rice a more aromatic taste.
  • To incorporate more flavor and smoky taste in an Achari chana pulao or pickled Kabuli, you can add black cardamom. Thew spice, when mixed with chana, pickled and other spices, gives a flavorsome taste.
  • To enhance the flavors in the Hyderabadi sofiyani briyani, the vegetables and other spices can be sauteed with black cardamom before adding rice to it. Including the black cardamom adorns the flavor of koftas in biryani.
  • For infusing the taste of black cardamom in any dish is the best way is to add biryani masala. It is made from grinding and roasting of all the spices, including black cardamom, which perfectly balances all the flavors. Black cardamom also lends a smoky & intense flavor to gravies.

Recipes you can try by using Black Cardamom:

Black cardamom or Badi Elaichi is often used in Indian dishes like curries, gravies, dals, payasam, rice, biryani, marinate meat, and others to incorporate intense, smoky, and strong taste.

Five-spice powder mix

This mix is mostly used in Chinese and Taiwanese dishes, but we can use it in our Indian cuisine as well. The five-spice powder has all the five tastes, i.e., sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami & are prepared by using the five different spices. The mixture is made from star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan (Szechuan) peppercorns, and fennel seeds, and it's easy to prepare in the kitchen.

Ingredients required:

  • Sichuan peppercorns
  •  star anise
  • ground cloves
  •  ground Chinese cinnamon
  • ground fennel

Steps to make it:

  • In a dry pan, firstly toast the Sichuan peppercorns on a low to medium flame till the time you can smell its aroma. It will take 2-3 minutes.
  • In a blender, grind the toasted peppercorns along with star anise.
  • After grinding, takes a stainer and pass all the contents to get an even consistency.
  • Then, take ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and ground fennel seeds and mix them well.
  • After mixing the spices, take a blender and grind all the spices until you get a fine powder.
  • Take it out from a blender and store it in an airtight container and keep it in a cold and dark place. 

You can use the five-spice powder for 1 month as, after that, it will lose its potency. You can use the five-spice powder in marinating the meat, dishes, gravies, fried food as well.

Garam Masala:

Garam Masala, or magic spice, is the heart of almost all Indian dishes. It is easy to prepare and is an amalgamation of various spices. Well, the word garam means warm, and masala means to mix. Thus, it is known as a warm spice mix in English.

In the different parts of India, the recipes for garam masala are also different. Some regions make it by roasting the ingredients, while others make it by dry roasting the ingredient. Once you have garam masala, you can use it in various recipes and put it in food items according to your need.

Ingredients required for making garam masala:

  • coriander seeds
  • cumin seeds
  • black peppercorns
  •  black cumin seeds
  • cloves
  • cinnamon 
  •  crushed bay leaves
  • black cardamom
  • dry ginger

Steps to prepare Garam masala:

  • In a pan, on a medium flame, roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, black cumin, cloves, cinnamon, and crushed bay leaves till the color of all the spices is darker. Make sure you don't roast it on a high flame—the low flame cooking results in an aromatic flavor.
  • When the color is darker, turn off the flame and put it on a plate until it is cooled down. Then, remove the skin of black cardamom and mix it with roasted spices and also add dry ginger.
  • In a blender, grind them all till you get a fine and even consistent powder.
  • Take out the powder in an airtight container and put it in a cold and dark place.

These two spices you can use in making numerous dishes as they will offer you a strong, smoky, and aromatic taste.

Black cardamom side effects:

There are also some side effects of Badi elachi that people who consume it daily for health, hair, and skin benefits must know. Below we have listed all the disadvantages of a Black Cardamom:

  • Can cause Allergies: People can be allergic to the enzymes present in the Badi elaichi, which can cause some skin allergies. 
  • Abdominal pain: People who are suffering from problems like stones and any other issue in the gallbladder can face pain there due to the presence of some components in black cardamom.
  • Impotency: It is said the over intake of cardamom can cause impotency. Thus, it is suggested that people consume black cardamom at a limit.
  • Drug Interactions: People who are on any type of medication are recommended to consume black cardamom in a limit or according to the consultation of a doctor. The black cardamom can cause a health problem if they interact with other medicines.

Most people don't remain aware of the side effects of black cardamom and continue to consume it, which can provide harm to their bodies.

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Dr. Shailendra Chaubey, BAMS

Ayurveda Practioner

A modern-day Vaidya with 11 years of experience. He is the founder of Dr. Shailendra Healing School that helps patients recover from chronic conditions through the Ayurvedic way of life.

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