Ayurvedic Spice Cabinet: Cardamom for Digestion, Oral Health & More
Sweet, aromatic cardamom is a staple in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking—not only for its rich, pleasant taste, but also for its numerous warming and detoxifying benefits. In particular, it is revered for its ability to rid the body of toxins and to strengthen the digestive system. In Ayurvedic tradition, it is believed that agni—or our digestive fire—is our central source of life; if our agni becomes impaired or imbalance, disease and illness can result. Thus, it is essential to keep our digestive system strong in order to maintain our overall health.
Fortunately, cardamom is one Ayurvedic ingredient that can help stimulate agni. Furthermore, cardamom is considered to be tri-doshic, which means that any dosha can reap its benefits (though those with Pitta imbalances should only consume it in moderation). Here’s a breakdown of the many benefits of cardamom—which include and extend beyond our digestive health.
Benefits of Cardamom
It aids digestion
In Ayurvedic tradition, cardamom has been used for hundreds of years to combat various digestive problems, including bloating, gas and nausea. It also boosts our digestive processes, also making it easier to digest acidic foods. Furthermore, research suggests that cardamom can help combat ulcers. Since Ayurveda views agni as crucial to maintaining our overall health, these benefits for the digestive system also radiate outward—with a healthy digestive system, we are better able to combat illness and experience improved vitality and rejuvenation.
It boosts oral health
In addition to its use as a digestive salve, cardamom also traditionally serves as a means of improving oral health. In fact, whole cardamom pods are often chewed after a meal to freshen breath. Research backs up this ancient wisdom: as one study showed, cardamom can effectively combat cavity-causing bacteria; another study traced the link between these bacteria-fighting properties and freshened breath. By incorporating cardamom into your routine, you’re also taking a step toward strong oral health.
It helps lower blood sugar levels
Studies have shown that cardamom may also lower blood sugar. Cardamom also contains manganese, which is known to help regulate blood sugar levels.
It promotes restful sleep
One additional benefit of improved digestion is that one might experience better sleep as a result of having their discomfort relieved. Furthermore, cardamom contains limonene, which has sedative effects, and melatonin, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Many use cardamom essential oil before bed as a way to unwind and promote more restful sleep.
It has antibacterial effects
Several studies have shown that cardamom has powerful antibacterial properties, which enable it to combat infection and promote healing. For example, research has demonstrated that cardamom is effective in combating E. coli and Staphylococcus, which can cause food poisoning.
It may relieve stress and anxiety
Many use cardamom essential oils as a way to experience tranquility and calm. Research has also shown that cardamom may combat anxiety—especially since anxiety has been linked to low antioxidant levels, cardamom’s antioxidant properties may enable it to effectively reduce signs of anxiety and stress.
- Ayurvedic cooking, Ayurvedic Spice Cabinet, cardamom, digestion, digestive health, Words of Wellness
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