From these pharmacological investigations the beneficial effects of cardamom and its oil were established. It is not a mere flavouring agent. It imparts carminative, fungicidal and bactericidal effects. It activates the complement system thereby the immunological defense mechanism of the human body is enhanced. Two other studies reported with extracts of cardamom show another aspect of its therapeutic utility. Extracts of cardamom enhance the percutaneous absorption of medicament. Yamahara et al. (1989) studied the dermal penetration of prednisolone using mouse skin model and reported that terpineol and acetylterpineol are the active constituents in cardamom extract, which facilitates the absorption. Huang et al. (1993) used rabbit skin model and in vivo and in vitro studies were conducted. They observed that the extract of cardamom enhanced the skin penetration both in vivo and in vitro. Hence addition of cardamom extract or terpineol or its acetate in balms and ointments enhances the absorption of medicaments through skin. Terpineol and bornyl acetate exhibits disinfectant and solvent properties and hence used with other volatiles for cough and respiratory tract disorders. Cineole is an ingredient along with other volatile substances for the treatment of renal and biliary calculi (Martindale, 1996).
Yaw Bin et al. (1999) also investigated the effect of cardamom extract on transdermal delivery of indometacin. The permeation of indometacin was significantly enhanced after pretreatment with cardamom oil both in the in vitro (rat, rabbit and human skin) and in vivo (rabbit) studies. The indometacin flux decreased as the length of the pretreatment increased. Both natural cardamom oil and a cyclic monoterpene mixture composed of the components of the oil showed similar enhancement of indometacin permeation, indicating cyclic monoterpenes are the predominant components altering the barrier property of stratum corneum. This study also showed that three minor components in cardamom oil (a-pinene 6.5 per cent, ^-pinene 4.8 per cent and a-terpine-ol 0.4 per cent) had a synergistic effect with 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol) and D-limonene to enhance the permeation of indometacin.
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