The future of any commodity depends upon the present and potential uses. Being a weak flavourant, cardamom has no strength to substitute other natural flavours like vanilla. But its certain uses especially as mouth freshener, flavouring biscuits, tea and soft drinks are likely to spread to many countries. In India, many people prefer to use cardamom seeds as an excellent mouth freshener to novelties like chewing gum. Though cardamom seed has no chewing-gum properties, because of its mild exciting taste and acceptable smell, the habit of chewing cardamom is becoming popular in many parts of India. Promotional efforts of the Spices Board of India even go to the extent of using it as a substitute for cigarette and beedi smoking. In cola drinks, the aroma of cardamom is highly acceptable and the testing of consumer preference for cardamom-flavoured cola in the capital of India has been positive (Anonymous, 1996).
Medicinal value of cardamom has not been fully studied in any country. If at all some work has been done, it is in India. Ayurveda is the oldest traditional system of medicine in India, as old as Vedas, which mentions the use of cardamom in certain medicinal preparations. It is a stimulant as well as carminative. Ayurvedic formulations containing cardamom is found to be effective against cough and cold. Body massage oil for head, based on cardamom has been found very soothing. But unfortunately much of the known medicinal uses of cardamom are still to be exploited commercially (Anonymous, 1952, Sahadevan, 1965).
At present consumption of cardamom in developed countries such as USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Netherlands, France and Japan is negligible. The total consumption in these countries does not exceed 1000 tons per annum. In the present trend of the movement of people to various countries as tourists or job seekers, the demand for ethnic foods is going up. Cardamom having cool and refreshing aroma and pleasant and sweet taste, the food prepared by adding it is likely to become more acceptable to more people in the coming years. However, certain amount of promotional work in the developed countries will increase the demand for cardamom products.
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