Properties And Uses

Large cardamom is used as an ingredient as well as a flavouring agent with masala and curry powders; in flavouring sweet dishes, cakes, and pastries; as a masticatory and for medicinal purposes. The seeds are used for chewing along with betel quid (betel leaf, areanut lime, with or without tobacco). In gulf countries large cardamom is used as a cheaper substitute for spicing tea in place of cardamom. In the Indian systems of medicines - Ayurveda and Unani, it is used as preventive as well as curative for throat troubles, congestion of lungs, inflammation of eyelids, digestive disorders and even in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis (Kirtikar and Basu, 1952). The seeds are fragrant adjuncts for other stimulants, bitters and purgatives. The seeds have a sharp and good taste and are tonic to heart and liver. The pericarp is reported to be good for alleviating headache and heals stomatites (Anonymous, 1950). Decoction of the seeds is used as a gargle in afflictions of teeth and gums. With melon seeds they are used as a diuretic in cases of gravel of the kidneys. They promote elimination of bile and are useful in congestion of liver. They are also used in the treatment of gonorrhea. In large doses with quinine, they are used in neuralgia. The seed oil is applied to the eyes to allay inflammation.

The direct uses of large cardamom are in pickles, pulao, meat and vegetable dishes. It is also used in industrial sector for flavouring toothpastes, sweets, soft drinks, toffees, flavoured milk and alcoholic drinks. The ripe fruits are eaten raw by people of Sikkim and Darjeeling and are considered a delicacy (Gyatso et al, 1980).

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