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Cardamom

Nutrient description/background:
  • Comes from a dried, unripened fruit in the form of a pod which encases small brown seeds. The seeds are ground to produce an aromatic and sweet herb;
  • The pods which contain about 20 seeds are hand-picked and dried, then sorted and grated;
  • Ayurvedic medicine, an alternative medical practice derived in India more than 5,000 years ago, has and continues to use cardamom for its many health benefits;
  • Eastern, Arab and some Scandinavian countries use cardamom in cooking, particularly in spice blends, sweet and savory dishes;
  • Use of the herb dates back to fourth century B.C. when Greek physicians recognized and documented its medicinal value;
  • One of the most expensive herbs in the world, it has been used for medicinal, spiritual and culinary purposes for ages and is currently used in many cuisines around the world;
  • Low in saturated fat, sodium and has no cholesterol, making it an ideal addition to many dishes;
  • High in calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, iron, zinc and magnesium.

Nutrient function:
  • Functions in the body in helpful ways due to its volatile oils;
  • Aids in digestive health through increased production of bile and reduction of stomach acid;
  • Works as an antibacterial agent.

DRI/RDA:
  • While there is no DRI or RDA for cardamom, researchers suggest a daily consumption of cardamom at 1.5 grams of powder to be sprinkled in food or added to beverages;
  • Cardamom is generally safe, but people with gallstones should talk with a physician before taking it as a tea or supplement.

Indications/Health claims:
  • Has many therapeutic properties and reported benefits may include improved digestive stimulation - reducing gas and counteracting stomach acidity;
  • May cleanse the kidneys and bladder, and improve circulation to the lungs, reducing the severity of asthma or bronchitis.

Evidence for or against claims:
  • There has been no substantial proof of these claimed benefits; therefore it should not replace conventional medicine or prescription drugs.