Cardamom, I wonder what should I write about this wonderful herb of nature. Okay let me put it this way that whenver you would pass any cafe or eat-joint, the strong smell that attracts you towards the food is nothing when compared to the smell of this wonderful herb which is a part of myriad dishes and beverages.
Cardamom hydrosol has a sweet, spicy scent that can provide a refreshing and uplifting effect. It is especially beneficial for dry and mature skin. As a massage hydrosol or diluted in the bath, cardamom oil has been prescribed by aromatherapists to assist with the digestive system and as a general tonic.
Cardamom grows as an herbaceous perennial plant resembling reed canary grass. It belongs to the family of ginger (characterized by the presence of rhizomes) and grows at an average altitude in moist tropical forests. It stands among the most expensive spices of all, with saffron and vanilla, and exists in various types (white, black and green), green cardamom being the most in demand.
Cardamom is widely used in Asia (notably in China and India) and highly appreciated in Great Britain as well as in Scandinavia. It enters in the preparation of the increasingly popular chai tea and is used to flavor the spice-loaf.This aromatic has been used for numerous centuries. During Antiquity, it was burned for the aroma, included in perfumes, consumed as an aromatic and used for its therapeutic properties (digestive, disinfectant and soothing). Interestingly, in the Middle Age, cardamom enters in the preparation of the famous fortified red wine Hypocras, served as an appetizer, popular among very important kings, of which Louis XIV.
The Egyptians were big fans of cardamom oil. They used cardamom to whiten their teeth and the oil was used in perfumes and for incense in religious ceremonies. When the Romans eat too much they drank cardamom to aid digestion, and the Arabs mixed it in their coffee to enhance the aroma and flavor of the brew. The Chinese use cardamom for cooking, but cardamom and India have enjoyed a rich history because the Indians saw the export value in this incredible herb and the oil it produced.
Cardamom is the second most expensive spice in the world. It’s right behind saffron so there are many imitators in the spice market that masquerade as the real cardamom, which actually comes from the Elettaria cardamomum plant. There are two varieties of that Indian plant -
Mysore contains high levels of limonene and cineol so it is much more aromatic than the Malabar variety.
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