In Indian systems of medicine — Ayurveda, Sidha and Unani, cardamom is used as a powerful aromatic stimulant, carminative, stomachic and diuretic. It also checks nausea and vomiting and is also reported to be a cardiac stimulant. Powdered cardamom seed mixed with ground ginger, cloves and caraway is helpful in combating digestive ailments. Tincture of cardamom is also made and used chiefly in medicines for windiness or as stomachic. A good nasal application is prepared by using extracts of cardamom, neem and myrobalan along with animal fat and camphor. Cardamom seeds are chewed to prevent bad smell in mouth, indigestion, nausea and vomiting due to morning sickness, excessive watering in mouth (pyrosis) etc. Gargling with the infusion of cardamom and cinnamon cures pharyngitis, sore throat, and hoarseness during infective stage of flu. Its daily gargle protects one from flu infection (Pruthy, 1979).
Powdered seeds of cardamom boiled in water with tea powder imparts a very pleasant aroma to tea and the same can be used as a medicine for scanty urination, diarrhea, dysentery, palpitation of heart, exhaustion due to overwork, depression etc. (Singh and Singh, 1996). Eating a cardamom capsule daily with a tablespoon of honey improves eyesight, strengthens nervous system and keeps one healthy. It is believed by some people that excessive use of cardamom causes impotency.
One of the main properties of cardamom is its effect on different dermatological disorders. Medicated cardamom oil and cardamom powder can retard various types of hypo-pigmentation on the face (Nair and Unnikrishnan, 1997). Cardamom powder is a safe emetic that can be used in bronchial asthma patients when excess of sputum is present in the lungs. Further it is a very good cough suppressant. Cardamom finds a place in the formulation of lozenges for the management of common cold and associated symptoms (Nair and Unnikrishnan, 1997).
In the form of tincture or powder, cardamom is used as a frequent adjunct to other stimulants, bitters and purgatives. A decoction of cardamom together with its pericarp and jaggery added is a popular home remedy, which relieves giddiness caused by biliousness. A compound powder containing equal parts of cardamom seeds, ginger, clove and caraway is a good stomachic in atonic dyspepsia. A powder made of equal parts of parched cardamom seed, aniseed and caraway seed is a good digestive. Cardamom is used in as many as 24 important preparations in Ayurveda in the form of decoctions, oils and powders as well as medicated fermented beverages like Arishta and Aasava (Sahadevan, 1965). Cardamom seeds along with saffron (Crocus sativus), galengal (Alpinia galanga) and "nealgor of the corryrium'' cure cataract and other eye ailments like tumours in eyelids, fleshy growth and ophthalmia.
Cardamom fruit is an emmenagogue, the only spice to qualify for this. Cardamom, cinnamon, tejpatra (Cinnamomum tamala) and iron wood tree (Mesua ferrea) taken together is known as Chaturjata. They are used to flavour electuaries and to promote their actions (Warrier, 1989).
Cardamom is also a component of medicinal preparation used to cure skin diseases, poisons, cold and inflammation. Preparations such as Eladigana (Ela-cardamom) are a common cure for vata (arthritis) and kapha (congestion) diseases, poisons, to improve complexion and to cure itching. It is also an ingredient of mixtures for improving digestion, curing vomiting, cough etc. It is used to stimulate diuresis, particularly in the case of snakebite poison. A group of medicines known as Ariyaru kashayam (six grains) for skin diseases of children contains cardamom.
The Burmese (Myanmar) traditional medicine formulation — O2 (TMF-O2) consists of four basic plant ingredients one of which is cardamom (others being Anacyclus pyrethrum, Glycyrrhiza glabra and Syzygium aromaticum).
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