This reference book is based on the history, cultivation, processing, breeding, protection, phytochemistry, and pharmacological importance of cardamom. Cardamom is scientifically known as Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton and is a member of the Zingiberaceae family. It's a shade-loving plant that grows well at an altitude between 600 and 1400 metres above sea level, with annual rainfall ranging from 1300–4000 mm and temperatures ranging from 10 to 35°C. Cardamom is highly cross-pollinated and depends on honeybees for pollination. Cardamom is classified into three types based on the nature of the panicles, namely, Malabar (prostrate panicle), Mysore (erect panicle) and Vazhukka (semi-erect panicle), a natural hybrid between Mysore and Malabar varieties. In India, currently, six research institutions, namely, Cardamom Research Station (CRS), Pampadumpara (Kerala Agricultural University, Kerala), ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR), Kozhikode, Kerala; Cardamom Research Centre, Appangala, Karnataka; Indian Cardamom Research Institute (ICRI), Myladumpara, Kerala and its Regional Research Station, Sakleshpur, Karnataka and Regional Research Station, Mudigere (University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences) are engaged in research for the improvement of cardamom farming. These research institutions have begun doing routine surveys to exploit desirable genes using a variety of traditional and modern crop improvement techniques. Also, these research centres/institutes are holding enormous genetic wealth of different accessions. Recently, many researchers have used various biotechnological approaches to conduct studies on micropropagation, assess the diversity in germplasm collections, and elucidate the biotic and abiotic stress tolerance mechanisms in cardamom.
Fungal, bacterial and viral diseases pose severe threats to the successful cultivation of this crop. Major pests of cardamom include thrips, shoot and capsule borer, root grub, and whiteflies. Injudicious pesticide applications to manage pests and diseases rises the residue levels in the cured product, limiting its export value. Bio-pesticides control pest in an eco-friendly manner and are considered as the best alternatives to synthetic pesticides. It includes the effective utilization of microbials (bacteria, fungi, virus, and nematodes), macrobials (predators, parasitoids, and parasites), botanicals, organic amendments, semiochemicals, endophytes, and reduced risk pesticides in managing pest and diseases.
Cardamom is grown in the throughout tropical mountains mainly for its capsules and its essential oil. Cardamom capsules/seeds accumulate essential oil and other bioactive metabolites, which contribute to their distinctive aroma and are used in the functional food, pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical industries. More than 100 secondary metabolites have been identified from cardamom essential oil. The essential oil of cardamom capsules possesses predominantly monoterpene constituents, such as 1,8-cineole, α-pinene, α-terpineol, linalool, linalyl acetate and nerolidol and the ester constituent α-terpinyl acetate all of which have therapeutic benefits including antioxidant, anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral and gastroprotective activities. Cardamom capsules contain substantial concentration of flavonoids like catechin, myricetin, kaempferol and quercetin. Lutein is said to be the most abundant carotenoid in small cardamom. According to recent investigations, cardamom phenolic constituents’ flavonoids, alkaloids, terpenoids, and anthocyanins are being used to treat cardiovascular, pulmonary, kidney, and lung disorders. Cardamom capsules are a nutraceutical and functional food that can protect humans from several chronic diseases when taken daily. Cardamom oil is a new potential natural source for food, aroma, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.
Since the 4th century BC, Indian Ayurvedic physicians, as well as Greek and Roman doctors, have used small cardamom capsules to treat bronchitis, asthma, and constipation, as well as colds, coughs, diuretics, carminatives, teeth and gum infections, urinary and kidney disorders, congestion of the lungs, pulmonary tuberculosis, irritation of the eyelids, cataract, nausea, and diarrhoea. Cardamom was used to treat constipation, stomach aches, bladder infections, and dysentery in children in traditional Chinese medicine. Cardamom is also used in Ayurvedic medicine to cure food sickness. Cardamom oils are being employed in the production of plant-based hand lotions and soaps. Digestive problems can be treated with powdered cardamom capsules mixed with pulverised cloves, ginger, and caraway. In addition, using cardamom capsules helps to relieve inflammation and headaches.
This reference book entitled “Cardamom [Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton]: Production, Breeding, Management, Phytochemistry and Health Benefits” is comprises of twelve chapters contributed by different authors and provide complete information about this wonderful herb. Its occurrence, history, cultivation, post-harvest processing, botany, crop improvement, biotechnology, protection, ethnopharmacological uses, phytochemistry and pharmacological activities are well described with supporting references.
The book contains latest information pertaining to cardamom and its cultivation. The information provided in this book will be very useful for students, academicians, researchers, and scientists, as well as others interested/involved nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.