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Spicing up Health: Large Cardamom

  • Spices Board (Ministry of Commerce & Industry Govt. of India)
  • Indian Cardamom Research Institute


Building up health and immunity immunity through large cardamom
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Spicing up Health - Large Cardamom
S.S. Bora, T.N. Deka, B. A. Gudade,
A. Gautam and R. Chhetri
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The views expressed by the authors of the articles in this publication are not necessarily those of the Spices Board. The responsibir :y
for the accuracy of information in the articles is vested with the authors themselves and neither Spices Board nor the editoiial braro
holds responsibility for the same.
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EuHealth October
S.S. Bora., T.N. Deka, B. A. Gudade, A. Gautam and R. Ghhetri
lndian Cardamom Research Institute, R.R.S, Spices Board
Tadong, Gangtok-737 LO2, Sikkim, tndia
arge cardamom (Amoumum subulatum Roxb.) 1.
was first described by Roxburgh in his 'plants
the Coast of Coromandel' and in ,Flora
lndica' in the year t82O. Sushruta, the famous
ancient physician also mentioned the usages of large
cardamom as early as 6th century BC in ayurvedic
preparations in lndia. lt is called Greater cardamom in
English, Sthulaila, Bhadraila in Sanskrit, Thulo Elaichi
in Nepali, Dangor Elaichi in Assamese, Bara llachi in
Bangla, Badillayachiin Hindi, perelam in Malayalam,
Periyaelam, Kattelam, and Perelam in Tamil, pedda
Yelakya in Telugu and Didda yelakki in Kannada.
ln trade, it is mostly famous as black cardamom.
It has been a well-known spice since ancient time.
Large cardamom has been valued for its pleasant
aromatic odour due to which it is extensively used for
flavouring many food preparations in lndia. The seeds
are used in flavouring foods such as beverages,
confectioneries, liquors, and native medicines, due to
the presence of volatile oil possessing characteristic
Large cardamom has been reported to possess
various biological properties which are very beneficial
for human health. lt has been used in ayurvedic
preparation since ancient time for its high medicinal
value. Traditionally, it has been used as preventive
as well as curative for abdominal pain, digestive
disorders (like indigestion, vomiting, and flatulence),
congestive jaundice, throat trouble, congestion of
lungs, respiratory and cardiovascular disorders.
ln Ayurveda and Unani system of medicines, it is
being used for treatment of gastrointestinal ailments,
gastric ulcers, migraine and also act as liver tonic,
appetizer, hypnotic, and diuretic. A brief highlight of
effectiveness of this spice against various health
related issues found through clinical studies are
mentioned here.
Anti-inflammatory- Phytochemical tests revealed
thatcardamomin (2',4'-dihydroxy-6'methoxyalcone),
a major component present in large cardamom,
exhibited anti-inflammatory, vasodilatory and
platelet aggregate inhibitory effect and also
the presence of glycosides, carbohydrates,
flavonoids, steroids and resin might exert anti-
inflammatory activity. Ammomum subulatum
shows a significant inhibition of inflammation,
which is comparable to the standard drug
diclofenac sodium. lt was found that rind extract
exhibited better inhibition of inflammation as
compared to seed extract.
2. Antibacterial - Clinicalstudy revealed that seed
extract of large cardamom inhibits the growth of
bacteria viz., Salmonella typhi (causing typhoid
fever), Staphylococcus aureus (causes boils),
Streptococcus pneumoma (causes sepsis -blood
infection in children, pneumonia, and meningitis),
Klebsiella pneumonia (causes pneumonia,
wounds or su rgical site infections and meningitis),
Pseudomonas aerugenosa (causes urinary
tract infections, respiratory system infections,
dermatitis, bone and joint infections, particularly
in patients with severe burns, cancer and AIDS
in those who are immunosuppressed) and
Escherichia coli (causes mostly cholecystitis,
cholangitis, and urinary tract infection). The
effect of extract of large cardamom seed is found
similar to ciprofloxacin, a most commonly used
3. Antifungal - Clinical trial of oil extracted from leaf
of A. subulatum on fungal pathogen showed its
effectiveness on mycelial growth of Aspergillus
flavus (causes plant diseases and releases
October 2020 SpICE INDIA
and also causes chronic pulmonary infections),
A. terreus (causes pulmonary related diseases)
and C/adosporium herbarurn (causes allergic
fungal sinusitis), Curvularia lunata (causes
wound infections, allergic sinusitis, pneumonia,
and allergic bronchopulmonary disease). From
the result, it is understood that A. subulatum
oil may be suggested as a novel, botanical
antimicrobial and aflatoxin suppressor as
alternative to synthetic preservatives.
Dried large cardamom capsules 4. Anti-diabetic - lnsulin is produced by p-cells in
pancreas. ln diabetic patient, B-cells shrinkage
occurs and as a result insulin production
hampers. Clinical study on animal treated with
extract of A. subulatum, where phenolics like
protocatechuic acid is present, showed that
it might help in the restoration of B cells. This
indicates that large cardamom has potential
for conversion of non-B islet cells in to insulin
producing B-cells to replenish p-cell mass as a
means to treat diabetes.
5. Anti-oxidant - Release or development of
free radicals are major problems of human
races at present day conditions as it causes
damage to healthy cells. Antioxidants neutralize
the free radicals and protect the cells from
damage. Clinical trials conducted using large
cardamom seed, leaves extract by many
researchers reported that the phytoconstituents
of seed such as L,8 - Cinole, alphaterineol,
protocatechualdehyde and protocatechuic acid
exhibited antioxidant activity and promoted the
maintenance of healthy immune system.
Fresh capsules of large cardamom
,. *6. Fibrinolytic - Researchers found that large
cardamom powder (seed with pericarp) provided
continuously for 12 weeks improve plasma
fibrinolytic activity in the lschemic heart disease
patient. Fibrinolytic activity determines healthy
status of the coronary arteries as it clears the
deposits of fibrin in the arteries. lf fibrins are not
removed by body by its own clearing system then
it leads to fatty deposition in arteries resulting in
lschemic heart disease.
mycotoxins which is very harmful to hu man as well
as animal health), A. niger (releases mycotoxin
which causes health hazards to human and
animal), A. fumigatus(causes infection in lung 7. Lipid lowering -Administration of A. subulatum
fraction caused a decrease in total cholesterol,
Large cardamom seed
triglyceride, phospholipid, LDL (tow-density
lipoprotein) and VLDL (very low-density
lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. Researchers
found that extract of large cardamom seed
provided for four months significantly decreased
the atherogenic lipids, lipid peroxidation along
with increase in HDL (high-density tipoprotein),
Glutathione and catalase activities in cholesterol
fed rabbits. The LDl-cholesterol lowering after
treatment with large cardamom could result from
a reduced LDL synthesis and/ or an increased
LDL metabolism. As from the health point of view
LDL is not good while HDL is good for human
8. Anti-ulcer - Alcoholism as well as continuous
use of Aspirin may lead to peptic ulcer. Study
revealed that seed extract of large cardamom
prevented ethanol induced gastric damage and
increased the mucus wall significantly, while
inhibiting the ulcer lesion caused byAspirin.
9. Hepatoprotective - Chronic alcoholism leads
to damage of liver in the form of enlarged liver
cells, resulting in increased total liver mass and
volume. Treatment administered with the extract
of A. subulafum seeds significantly reduced the
total liver weight and volume, thus indicating
their hepatoprotective activity. lt was also found
protecting the liver from paracetamol induced
liver damage.
10. Gardio-protective activity.. LDL lipid lowering
properties of large cardamom along with
significant enhancement of fibrinolysis protect
the coronary arteries from deposition of fat in the
arteries and also the presence of anti-oxidants in
it helps in reducing the stress related problems
which cumulatively act as cardio-protective.
The cardio protective nature was found out by
providing powder of large cardamom (seed and
pericarp) continuously to the lschemic heart
patients .
1-1. Anti - carcinogenic - Clinical trial on use of
extract of large cardamom fruit on blood
mononuclear cells, human breast and cervical
cancer cell revealed that it exhibits maximum
cytotoxic effect on breast and cervical cancer
Clinical and pharmacological studies carried out by
various researchers in lndia and abroad revealed the
beneficial properties of large cardamom. Researchers
prepared the extracts (using organic and in-organic
solvent) in laboratory by using seed, pericarp, leaves
and even rhizome for their trial; this shows that all
parts of the plant are beneficial. Studies on use of
large cardamom is still going on for refinement of
the results and may bring the end products for use,
However, the clinical and pharmacological studies
have already proved the authenticity of traditional
practices of curing diseases using large cardamom.
P R Sarkar in his famous book "Yogic Treatment and
Natural Remedies" suggested that consumption of
one tea spoonful of large cardamom powder made
from seed and pericarp twice daily, modification
in dietary habits and yoga practices will definitely
benefit the patients suffering from heart disease. ln
various Unani formulations like Anushdaroo-E-Sada,
Arq Elaichi, Arq Gazar Ambary, and Dawa Ul Misk,
large cardamom is a major ingredient. Sometimes,
using cardamom powder in recipes is considered
prestigious, in the Arab world cardamom coffee is
used as a symbol of hospitability and reputation.
Hence, it can be summarized that the use of large
cardamom in optimum either through food or other
means will definitely help in protecting our health
from various ailments.
L.Sharma, V., Lohia, N., Handa V. and Baranwal
M.(20L7) Ammomum subulatum seed extract exhibit
antioxidant, cytotoxic and immune - suppressive
effect. lndian Journalof Biochemistry and Biophysics.
5: 135-139.
2.Uzma P., Mohd M., Mohd M. and Umar J.(201_8)
Biological and therapeutic uses of Amomum
subulatum roxb: a review. Ejbps,5(t ) 1_67-L76.
3.Verma S. K., Jain V., Singh D. P.(2012) Effect of
Greater cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb.) on
blood lipids, fibrinolysis and total antioxidant status in
patients with lschemic heart disease. Asian Pacific
Journal of Tropical Dlsease 5739-5743.
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