Cardamom is reputed to be an aphrodisiac which features in the old Persian tale of ‘The Thousand And One Nights’. Cardamom is good for the digestion, stimulates appetite, relieves colic, and is soothing to the mucous membranes. Cardamom is supposed to be a good spice to use with ‘windy’ vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli, and beans and lentils, because it relieves flatulence.
Medicinal Uses for Cardamom: Cardamom can be used as a treatment for coughs, colds, and bronchitis, and as a medicine to help stop vomitting. (see Reader’s Digest ‘Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal’, edited by Tom Sanders, 1997.) For treating coughs, I like to use it with a little cinnamon and honey in a hot lemon drink.
Cardamom in Desserts and Cooking: It combines well with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, paprika, orange, lemon, cocoa, or coffee. Cardamom, either freshly ground, or powdered, goes well in milk puddings, or halva, and other desserts such as chocolate steamed pudding, and biscuits and cakes such as gingerbread.
The Eleteria Cardamomum grows in India and Ceylon. This is the plant which produces the wonderful Cardamom seeds which are used in Indian curry, and sweet condiments. A close relative of the Eletaria Cardamomum is the Aframomum Meleguata, which grows on the West Coast of Africa. The seeds of the African variety are often referred to as ‘Grains Of Paradise’. According to Jane Colin, in ‘Herbs and Spices for Health and Beauty’, the ‘Grains of Paradise’ were used by the Welsh Physicians of Myddrai, in Wales, from the 13th century onward. Some of the uses put to the ‘Grains of Paradise’ by the Welsh Physicians were to flavour wine and to fortify beer.
Here is a delicious coffee recipe which is spiced up with Cardamom. This is a coffee with a difference which you can serve up to your dinner guests. You can use a good instant coffee if you wish, but freshly made coffee from the real coffee grounds is always best.
How To Make Cardamom Flavoured Coffee:
6 cups boiling water
4 tablespoons coffee grounds or instant coffee
1 teaspoon powdered cardamom
Make the coffee in the usual way in a plunger by pouring the boiling water over the coffee grounds which has the teaspoon of powdered cardamom added to it. Let the plumger sit for two minutes before pushing the plunger down. Then serve immediately. This coffee is very nice served with whipped cream.