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Therapeutic uses of Elettaria cardomum
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Available online at ISSN 2229-5054
Therapeutic uses of Elettaria cardomum
Shveta Sharma*1, Jagmohan Sharma2, Gurpreet Kaur1
1. Lala Lajpat Rai College of Pharmacy, Moga
2. B.I.S college of Pharmacy, Gagra( Moga)
Received: 13 Sep. 2011; Revised: 22 Oct. 2011; Accepted: 16 Nov.. 2011; Available online: 5 Dec. 2011
Small cardamom, well known as the ‘queen of spices’, belongs to the family Zingiberaceae , order Scitaminae is a rich
spice obtained from the seeds of a perennial plant, Elettaria cardamomum Maton, locally known as “elaichi”1. It is a
perennial herb, indigenous to India, Pakistan, Burma and Sri Lanka2. In India it is mainly found in evergreen forests of
Kerala and Karnataka. It is a shade loving plant cultivated at an altitude of 600 to 1200 m above MSL with an annual
rainfall of 1500 to 4000 mm and a temperature range of 10 to 35ºC3. It is one of the highly prized spices of the world and
is the third most expensive spice after saffron and vanilla. Cardamom shared about 60% of the total import value of
US$204 million in 2004. World production of cardamom is estimated at 30,000 MT. Currently, the major producer is
Guatemala, recording an average annual production of 18,000– 20,000 MT. India is the second largest producer, with an
average production of 11,000–12,000 MT. Indian cardamom is considered a superior quality in the international markets4.
The peak period of harvesting is October–November. The average yield of Cardamom is around 150 kg (dry)/ha;
however, record yield of 695 kg/ha (average of 9 crop seasons) was obtained by adopting high production technology
directly in farmers’ plantations5. Just ripened fruits or physiologically ripened are generally harvested. More splitting of
capsules was observed in over-matured capsules6. Percentage of dry recovery was highest (29%) in the fully ripened
capsules followed by the one harvested at physiological maturity (24%) and in immature stage (14%). Capsules may be
washed in water to remove the adhering soil and a treatment with 2% washing soda (alkali) for 10 minutes enables
retention of the green colour and prevents growth of mould.
Review Article
Cardamom, popularly known as the “Queen of Spices,” has a checkered history, dating back to the Vedic period (ca. 3000 bc).
Mainly used in the dietary habits of millions around the world, Cardamom use ranges from a simple dietary constituent to that
of immense pharmacological benefits. Various pharmacological activities contributed to cardomum are sedative,
antihypertensive, antibacterial and many more.
Key Words:
Elaichi, cardamum oil
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Cardamom generally exists in two major forms “Green or true cardamom” (Elettaria cardamom) and Black or Brown
cardamom” ( Amomum subulatum). Amomum mainly consists of 3% of essential oil which is rich in 1,8 cineol. It also
contains traces of limonene, terpinene, terpinyl acetate and Sabinene7. Mysore, Malabar, Ceylon, Vazhukka, Manjarabad,
Bijapur, Kunnielam, Makaraelam, Thara Guatemala and Nanda are some important cultivated types grown in different
parts of Kerala and Karnataka. Among these, Mysore, Malabar and Vazhukka are most popular cultivated which can be
identified on the basis of morphological characterstics8.
Seeds of Elattria cardamom are rich in volatile oil that mainly includes phenolic and flavonoid components. Starch,
protein, waxes and Sterols are other components of the oil.
1. volatile oil is the major component of all the varieties of Elattria cardamom. In the study, volatile oil for the major
varieties (Mysore, Malabar, Vazhukka and Guatemala) have been reported as 7.9, 8.79, 7.9, 8.6 respectively. Table 2.1
shows the major constituents of volatile oil of cardomum seed9.
Table 2.1: Main components of volatile oil present in different varieties of cardamom.
-Pinene 0.36
β -Myrcene
1,8 cineole
Linalyl acetate
- Terpineol
-Terpinyl acetate
Octyl Acetate
Nerly Acetate
Cis, trans Farnesol
Cis, Cis Farnesol
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Chemical Structures of major constituents of cardamom
1,8- Cineole p-cymene -terpinene
Linalool linalyl acetate terpinen-4-ol
α –terpineol citronellol methyl eugenol
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Nerol geraniol
2. Waxes and Sterols: 1H NMR and MS studies revealed that the nonsaponifiable lipid fraction of cardamom consisted
mainly of waxes and sterols. The waxes identified were n-alkanes (C21, C23, C25, C27, C29, C31, and C33) and n-alkenes (C21,
C23, C25, C27, C29, C31, and C33). In the sterol fraction β-sitostenone and γ-sitosterol are newly reported. Phytol and traces
of eugenyl acetate were also identified in cardamom for the first time10.
Cardamom is an ancient spice and has the longest influence in India, its birthplace. The ancient Greeks and Romans also
use it in food, medicines and perfumes1.
Traditional use:
Matsya Purana : a constituent of an antivenom drug.
Ayurveda: seeds are used as abortifacient, alexiteric, aromatic, acrid, sweet, cooling, carminative, cardiac tonic, digestive,
diuretic, expectorant,stimulant, and tonic, beneficial in asthma, bronchitis, strangury, haemorrhoids, renal and vesical
calculi, halitosis, anorexia, dyspepsia, gastropathy and burning sensation.
Siddha : dried fruit, seed and stem-bark are used to prepare drugs cell 'Elam', 'Elarici' .
Unani: preparations used as antidote to poison, astringent, exhilarant and in nausea.
Pharmacological uses
Antibacterial Activity: Ethanolic extract of E. cardamomum possess antibacterial effect at the dose of 512μg/mL11.
Toxicity of the extract was observed at 0.3 mg/g, which showed inflammation in brain, oxidative stress and cells necrosis
in heart. The use of E. cardamomum as spice should not exceed the 0.003 mg/g since at this amount no negative effects
were observed12 .
Gastroprotective Activity: Gastroprotective activity of E. cardamomum was best found in the petroleum ether soluble
extract which inhibited lesions by nearly 100% at 12.5 mg/kg in the aspirin-induced gastric ulcer. Methanolic extract also
possess gastroprotective effect 13.
Blood Pressure Lowering Activity: powdered E. Cardamomum posses antihypertensive activity. At a dose of 3g, it
significantly decreases diastolic pressure. It enhances fibrinolysis and improves antioxidant status, without significantly
altering blood lipids and fibrinogen level in hypertensive patients14. exhibits gut excitatory and inhibitory effects. These
effects are mediated through cholinergic and Ca++ antagonist mechanisms respectively and lowers BP via combination of
both pathways15.
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Anti-inflamatory, Analgesic & Antispasmodic Activity: Seeds of E. cardamomum possess anti-inflammatory, analgesic
and antispasmodic. In Carrageenan-induced rat paw oedema the oil extract of Elettaria cardamomum seeds, in doses of
175 and 280 microliters/kg were found to reduce the inflammation. Analgesic activity was evaluated by p-benzoquinone-
induced writhing method but antispasmodic activity was evaluated in-vitro 16. Studies reveal that antispasmodic action is
produced through muscarinic receptor blockage.
Antioxidant activity: Cardamom oil is effective as an antioxidant and can increase levels of glutathione9, a natural
antioxidant in body. The effect is increased by increasing the content of the oil from 100 to 5000 ppm 17.
Insecticidal Activity: The volatile oil from cardamom acts as a potential grain protectant by killing various life stages of
the stored product insects attacking wheat, e.g. Tribolium castaneum and Sitophilus zeamais, via contact and fumigant
action 18.
Haematological and Lipid Peroxidation activities: Aqueous extract of cardamom have lipid peroxidation as well as
activity against platelet aggregation. The inhibitory activity of cardamom extract was studied on human platelets. Platelet
aggregation and lipid peroxidation were evaluated with platelet rich plasma (PRP) and platelet membranes, respectively,
obtained from blood of healthy volunteers. The inhibitory effect was dose dependent with concentrations varying between
0.14 and 0.70 mg and time dependent at IC50 19.
Lipid peroxidation induced by iron – ascorbic acid system in platelet membranes was analysed with malondialdehyde
(MDA) as an index. An increase in concentration of cardamom has decreased the MDA formation significantly.
Skin Disorders : Group of 27 plants including cardamom is used in promoting skin complexion, destroying itching and
Sedative and anticonvulsant Activity: Unmadnashak Ghrita, an ayurvedic formulation which contains Ellatria
cardomum as one of the component possess CNS depressant as well anticonvulsant activity. Unmadnashak Ghrita’ (UG)
is a ayurvedic formulation containing Ferula narthex (6 g), Gardenia gummifera (6 g), Ellataria cardamom (6 g), Bacopa
monneri (6 g), and cow’s ghee (clarified butter fat-76 g) 20.
Cigarette De addiction: It can also be used to ease cigarette addiction. Eating a few seeds of cardamom can safely be
recommended to initially minimize the number of cigarettes being smoked and slowly the smoker may give up the chronic
addiction to chain smoking21.
Toxicology Studies:
Not all, but some of the components of cardamom possess mutagenicity and carcinogenicity.
The following compounds were found to be non-mutagenic in the biological model for 3 strains: TA98, TA100, and
TA1535 :
1-decanol, 1-heptanol, 1-hexanol, 1-octanol, α-ylangene, β-guriunene, cedrol, citronellal, decanal, decyl acetate, dodecyl
acetate, eicosanoic acid, farnesol, farnesyl acetone, geranyl acetone, humulene, octyl acetate, trans-2-cis-6-dodecadienal,
trans-farnesol and undecan-2- one.
The following compounds are found to be non-carcinogenic in the computational
model for Rodent carcinogenicity prediction:
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1-heptanol, 1-hexanol, 2methyl-3-buten-2-ol, 2-methylbutanal, 3-methylbutanal, α,pdimethylstyrene, α-terpinyl acetate,
carvone oxide, decanal, delta-terpineol, ethyl 2-hydroxyhexanoate, hexanal, nonanal, oct-1-en-3-ol, octanal, p-
dimethylstyrene, phenol, pmenth-8-en-2-ol, terpinyl acetate, tetrahydrolinalool, thymol, trans-2-butenal, trans-dec-2-enal,
trans-nerolidol and trans-oct-2-enal
Only three compounds were found to be non-mutagenic and non-carcinogenic.
These include: 1-heptanol, 1-hexanol, Decanal, Nerolidol 22.
1. KorikanthimathmVS, Prasath D, Rao G. Medicinal properties of cardamom Ellettaria cardamomum. J Med Aroma plant
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3. Korikanthimath V.S., Harvesting and on-farm processing of cardamom. Proceedings of National Seminar held at R.R.L.,
Trivandrum, 13–14 May, 62–68, 1993.
4. Parthasarathy V.A, ChempakamB, Zachariah T.J, Sindu S. Book of spices.
5. Korikanthimath V.S. Economics of sustained production of cardamom, J Spices Arom Crops, 4(2), 119–28, 1995.
6. Korikanthimath V.S.and Naidu R. Influence of harvest on the recovery percentage of cardamom. Cardamom J. 21(11), 5–
8, 1986.
7. Lawrence B.M. Terpenes in two Amomum species. Phyto chemistry. 9(3), 664-665, 1970.
8. Cultivation of medicinal plants in Mohammed Ali, Pharmacognosy ( Pharmacognosy and plant cultivativation) ist ed.
CBS publication, New Delhi. Pp644-645, 2008.
9. Amma K.P.A.P, Rani M.P, Sasidharan I, Nisha VNP. Chemical composition, flavonoid-phenolic contents and radical
scavenging activity of four major varieties of cardamom. Int J Biol Med Res. 1(3), 20-24, 2010.
10. Gopalakrishnan M,J C. S. Narayanan J.C.S, Michael G. Nonsaponifiable Lipid Constituents of Cardamom. J. Agric.
Food Chem. 38, 2133-2136, 1990.
11. Kaushik P, Goyal P, Chauhan A, Chauhan G. In vitro evaluation of antibacterial potential of dry fruit extract of Ellatria
cardamom Maton (chhoti elaichi). Iranian J Pharma Res. 9 (3), 287-297, 2010.
12. Jazila EM, Mountassif D, Amarouch H. Antimicrobial activity of Elettaria cardamomum: Toxicity, biochemical and
histological studies. Food Chemistry 104, 1560-1568, 2007.
13. Jamal A, Javed K , Aslam M, Jafri M.A. Gastroprotective effect of cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum Maton. fruits in
rats . J Ethnopharmacol 103 , 149–153, 2006.
14. Verma S.K, Jain V, Katewa S.S. Blood pressure lowering fibrinolysis enhancing and antioxidant activities of cardamom (
Ellatria cardamom). Indian J Biochem biophysics 46, 503-506, 2009.
15. Gilani A.H, Jabeen Q, Khan A.U, Shah A.J. Gut modulatory, Blood pressure lowering, Duretic and Sedative activities of
cardamom. J Ethnopharmacol 115 , 463–472, 2008.
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essential oil. Bulletin of the Faculty of Agriculture University of Cairo 42, 199–215, 1991b.
18. Huang, Y., Lam, S.L. and Ho, S.H. Bioactivities of essential oil from Elletaria cardamomum (L.) Maton to Sitophilus
zeamais Motschulsky and Tribolium castaneum (Herbst). J Stored Pdts Res 36, 107–117, 2000.
19. Suneetha W.J, Krishnakantha T.P. Cardomum extract as inhibitor of human platelet aggregation. Phytother Res. 19, 437-
440, 2005.
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Ethnopharmacol 94, 77-83, 2004.
21. Peter K.V. Handbook of herbs and spices, Woodhead publishing in Food Science and Technology, Woodhead Publishing
Limited, Abington, Cambridge, England. 2001.
22. Balaji S, Chempakam B. Mutagenicity and Carcinogenicity Prediction of Compounds from Cardamom (Elattaria
Cardamom L). Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 682-689. 2008).
... Cardamom oil also contains several forms of tocopherols namely, α-tocopherol (10.4 mg/kg of oil), γ-tocopherol (4.3 mg/kg of oil) and δtocopherol (1.6 mg/kg of oil) (Parry et al., 2006) [78] . [93] . (Gochev et al., 2012) [32] . ...
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Spices have been utilised as culinary flavouring and traditional medicine worldwide since prehistoric times. This approach was used by ancient Egyptians. Phytochemicals including linalool, found in coriander, piperine, found in black pepper, cinnamaldehyde, found in cinnamon, and eugenol, found in cloves, have been extracted from their spices. Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde. Spices include strong antioxidants, which have several health benefits. These advantages include those that are good for the heart, don't cause cancer, mutations, or inflammation. Antioxidants are abundant in spices. Spice-derived essential oils fight bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and microbial toxins. Polyphenols in spices prevent bacteria, fungus, and yeasts from growing. This article reviews the latest studies on spices' phytochemical composition and antioxidant benefits, as well as the field's implications. The website also lists some of the seasonings with the greatest phytochemical contents.
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Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum Maton), a native of high ranges of Western Ghats of India, is an ecofriendly plantation spice crop. Apart from its use as a flavoring agent in food preparations, confectioneries and cosmetics, cardamom is used both in ancient and modem medicines. An attempt is made in this paper to cover the geo-ecological requirements, area and production, ancient uses and history, modern use, medicinal properties, aromatic constituent's etc.
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Emergence of resistance among pathogenic bacteria against available antibiotics is posing a great challenge to the current world. Thus, there is a great need to discover novel antibiotics. Traditional plants have been proved to be novel source in the search of antimicrobial compounds. The current study pertained to the susceptibilities of some clinically significant bacterial species to various crude extracts of Elettaria cardamomum Maton (Chhoti elaichi) dry fruits by agar well diffusion assay. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of extracts were further evaluated against these bacteria. The study indicated that antibacterial activity of this plant is dependent on the type of extract and the organism evaluated. Ethanol extract was found to have comparatively higher activity than other organic and aqueous extracts. Gram-positive bacteria showed competent but variable susceptibilities to all the tested extracts. MIC data showed hopeful results as some of the extracts exhibited significant inhibitions of bacteria even at concentrations as low as 512 μg/mL. Overall, E. cardamomum seems to have significant antibacterial activity and to be very useful in the discovery of novel antibiotic.
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Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton. (Small cardamom) fruit powder was evaluated for its antihypertensive potential and its effect on some of the cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with stage 1 hypertension. Twenty, newly diagnosed individuals with primary hypertension of stage 1 were administered 3 g of cardamom powder in two divided doses for 12 weeks. Blood pressure was recorded initially and at 4 weeks interval for 3 months. Blood samples were also collected initially and at 4 weeks interval for estimation of lipid profile, fibrinogen and fibrinolysis. Total antioxidant status, however, was assessed initially and at the end of the study. Administration of 3 g cardamom powder significantly (p<0.001) decreased systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure and significantly (p<0.05) increased fibrinolytic activity at the end of 12th week. Total antioxidant status was also significantly (p<0.05) increased by 90% at the end of 3 months. However, fibrinogen and lipid levels were not significantly altered. All study subjects experienced a feeling of well being without any side-effects. Thus, the present study demonstrates that small cardamom effectively reduces blood pressure, enhances fibrinolysis and improves antioxidant status, without significantly altering blood lipids and fibrinogen levels in stage 1 hypertensive individuals.
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In silico approaches are currently not employed in any of the spices to study the toxicity. The aim of this study is to find the most efficacious molecule which does not have any adverse effects. In the present study one hundred and eight compounds from cardamom were used to predict mutagenicity and carcinogenecity. The results of these studies indicate that only four compounds are non-mutagenic and non-carcinogenic. The rest of the compounds do not have the characteristics necessary to become therapeutic agents have been identified early and prevented (i.e., the fail early, fail fast approach) from entering the drug development process.
Together with its companion volume, Handbook of herbs and spices: Volume 2 provides a comprehensive and authoritative coverage of key herbs and spices. Chapters on individual plants cover such issues as description and classification, production, chemical structure and properties, potential health benefits, uses in food processing and quality issues. Authoritative coverage of more than 50 major herbs and spices, Provides detailed information on chemical structure, cultivation and definition, Incorporates safety issues, production, main uses, health issues and regulations.
A chemical investigation based on H-1 NMR and MS studies revealed that the nonsaponifiable lipid fraction of cardamon consisted mainly of waxes and sterols. The waxes identified were n-alkanes (C21, C23, C25, C27, C29, C31, and C33) and n-alkenes (C21, C23, C25, C27, C29, C31, and C33). In the sterol fraction beta-sitostenone and gamma-sitosterol are newly reported. Phytol and traces of eugenyl acetate were also identified in cardamon for the first time.
Elettaria cardamomum is one of the most broadly used spices in Moroccan gastronomy. Its antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial species was demonstrated. Likewise, its toxicity was investigated on Swiss albinos mice. Daily, mice were treated orally with 0.003 and 0.3 mg during 7 days. Plasmatic markers and antioxidant defence systems were assessed and histological alterations were evaluated. A significant increase in creatine phosphokinase level was observed. The microscopic evaluation shows that E. cardamomum induce morphological perturbation in mice’s heart. The results show also an inhibitory effect of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase and an important increase in the level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, succinate dehydrogenase and catalase activities. Results show that E. cardamomum induces toxicity at 0.3 mg/g mouse and affect energy metabolism and oxidative stress.
Contact and fumigant toxicities and antifeedant activity of the essential oil of cardamom, Elletaria cardamomum, to two stored-product insects, Sitophilus zeamais and Tribolium castaneum, were investigated. Topical application was employed for contact toxicity studies, and filter paper impregnation was used for testing fumigant action. The adults of S. zeamais and T. castaneum were equally susceptible to the contact toxicity of the oil at the LD50 level, with LD50 values of 56 and 52 μg mg−1 insect respectively. However, S. zeamais was more susceptible than T. castaneum at the LD95 level. For fumigant toxicity, S. zeamais adults were more than twice as susceptible as T. castaneum adults at both LD50 and LD95 levels. Furthermore, 12-day larvae of T. castaneum were more tolerant than the adults to the contact toxicity of the oil, but 14- and 16-day larvae had the same susceptibility as the adults. The susceptibility of the larvae to contact toxicity increased with age. In contrast, all the larvae (12–16 days old) of T. castaneum were much more tolerant than the adults to the fumigant action, and larvae of different ages had similar susceptibility. Cardamom oil applied to filter papers in the concentration range 1.04–2.34 mg cm−2 significantly (P<0.05) reduced the hatching of T. castaneum eggs and the subsequent survival rate of the larvae. Adult emergence was also drastically reduced by cardamom oil. When applied to rice or wheat, the oil totally suppressed F1 progeny production of both insects at a concentration of 5.3×103 ppm. Feeding deterrence studies showed that cardamom oil did not have any growth inhibitory or feeding deterrence effects on either adults or larvae of T. castaneum. However, it significantly reduced all the nutritional indices of the adults of S. zeamais, but with very slight feeding deterrence (27%) at a concentration of 1.44×104 ppm.
The relative levels of antioxidant activity, total flavonoid content, total phenolic content and reducing power of different organic and aqueous extracts sequentially extracted with hexane, dichloromethane, ethyl acetate, methanol and water of four different variety of cardamom viz. Mysore, Malabar, Vazhukka and Guatemala have been studied. Ethyl acetate extract of all varieties showed greater activity. Based on the results Malabar variety was identified as the best source of antioxidant compounds. Chemical analysis of the samples was carried out to calculate the percentage amount of components present in the sample. The data given are in the normal range reported for the varieties. Chemical compositions of the essential oil of seed powder of these varieties were studied by GC and GC-MS. The main constituents identified were terpinyl acetate ranging between 61.65 % - 68.19 % followed by cineol (7.23 %-11.76 %).