A member of the ginger family, cardamom has been used in medicine, perfumery, and as a flavoring in food and drink for thousands of years. It’s extremely tenacious aroma is spicy-sweet, warming, fresh, penetrating, and stimulating with woodsy and balsamic undertones that play on the senses and uplift the heart.
If you haven’t tried cardamom essential oil, you’re missing out – a lot!
The Benefits and Properties of cardamom Essential Oil
Cardamom seed and cardamom
Zingiberaceae (ginger family)
Cardamom is native to tropical Asia and is now cultivated in Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Guatemala, and India. It is a perennial herb with long stems that are adorned with lance-shaped leaves. The flowers are white in color with beautiful yellow or red stripes.
Cardamom is reputed to be one of the oldest spices used. Medicinally, cardamom has been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic practices for thousands of years. The spice was brought to Europe by the Greeks as early as the 4th century BC.
The name cardamom is thought to have originated from the Arab word hehmama – a derivation of the Sanskrit word for something hot and pungent.
Extraction Method and Essential Oil Characteristics
Cardamom essential oil is produced via steam distillation of the seeds of E. cardamomum. These small dark seeds are encased in the green pods of the cardamom plant. The husks of these pods should be removed from the seeds before distillation.
Historical and Traditional Use
Traditionally, cardamom was used for treating cardiac disorders, pulmonary disease, epilepsy, spasms, rheumatism, paralysis, fever, and all digestive issues.
It was even used to negate the lingering odor of garlic on the hands and breath.
Other Possible Uses
Cardamom essential oil may also help treat loss of appetite, colic, coughs, dyspepsia, flatulence, halitosis, headaches, mental fatigue, nausea, heartburn, sciatica, menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms, and digestive upset like vomiting and nervous indigestion.
Cardamom can be used in many of the same ways as ginger but is less irritating to the skin.
The typical chemical composition of cardamom essential oil is as follows:
• 1,8-cineole (36.3%)
• citronellol (0.3%)
• geraniol (0.5%)
• limonene (11.6%)
• linalool (3.0%)
• linalyl acetate (2.5%)
• methyl eugenol (0.2%)
• myrcene (1.6%)
• nerol (0.5%)
• sabinene (2.8%)
• terpinen-4-ol (0.9%)
• trans-nerolidol (2.7%)
• α-phellandrene (0.2%)
• α-pinene (1.5%)
• α-terpineol (2.6%)
• α-terpinyl acetate (31.3%)
• β-pinene (0.2%)
• γ-terpinolene (0.5%)
Cardamom essential oil is:
Pharmacological and Clinical Studies
Cardamom essential oil is known to have powerful antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antispasmodic activity with suppressive action on carrageenan-induced edema by reducing the synthesis of eicosanoid mediators of inflammation.
It has also been shown to be particularly effective in reducing pre-operative nervousness and anxiety when inhaled before surgery.
Astrological – Venus and Mercury
Body Type – Ectomorph
Chakra – 1
Character – Yang
Crystals – Carnelian
Element – Water and Air (some argue Earth)
Number – 4
Energetics – Cold dampness (Sp-9 and 6), Qi deficiency spleen (Sp-6)
Fragrant Influence and Characteristics
Cardamom essential oil is an almost colorless to pale yellow oil that darkens in direct sunlight.
The scent of cardamom essential oil is sweet, spicy, and balsamic with floral undertones and a slightly penetrating camphoraceous-cineole like odor. The scent becomes more balsamic and woodsy on the dry out.
Oil produced from green cardamom has more cineole than the lighter yellower types.
In perfumery, cardamom essential oil fits well into floral bases due to its warm and spicy notes. Coriander, in particular, is considered a great modifier for cardamom.
Middle (50-80% of the blend)
Personifier and Modifier
Blends Well With
• Balsam fir
• Cinnamon bark
• Sweet orange
• Ylang ylang
Indications for Cardamom Essential Oil
Cardamom essential oil is especially suitable for digestive complaints like colic, cramps, dyspepsia, and flatulence and is regarded as a general tonic for the body.
It is an excellent companion to have on boat, car, and plane rides because it relieves nausea and settles the stomach.
Cardamom essential oil is known to be an effective yet gentle tonic for the nervous system and is recommended for treating nervous exhaustion, depression, and anxiety.
Using cardamom essential oil in a diffuser, personal nasal inhaler, or in a sickroom spray is good for treating coughs, chronic bronchitis, and allergies. This is due to cardamom’s oxide and ester molecules which are known to have an affinity for the respiratory and digestive systems.
Cardamom is generally not used in skin care except to impart a warming and spicy aroma to body care recipes.
Cardamom essential oil is known to be a Qi tonic and has warming qualities that help stimulate stagnant digestion. It is also useful for treating damp catarrhal conditions of both the digestive and respiratory systems.
It is good for those whose endurance is tested and who constantly worry.
Cardamom personalities are people who are strong-willed, up front, motivating, and enthusiastic. They often instill inspiration in others and tend to make good leaders.
Mode of Administration and Application
• Topical application via massage, compress, bath, in body care recipes
• Inhalation via a diffuser, personal nasal inhaler, sprays, etc.
Cardamom essential oil is considered non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing
Is it Kid-Safe?
Yes, for children 6 years and older due to its cineole content. Read more here.
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