Botanical name: Amomum subulatum Rozburgh (family: Zingiberaceae)


Black cardamom, also known as hill cardamom, Bengal cardamom, greater cardamom, Indian cardamom, Nepal cardamom, or winged cardamom, brown cardamom, thảo quả and tsao-ko) comes from either of two species in the family Zingiberaceae. Its seed pods have a strong camphor-like flavor, with a smoky character derived from the method of drying.

The pods are used as a spice, in a similar manner to the green Indian cardamom pods, but those have a different flavor. Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used in sweet dishes. Its smoky flavor and aroma derive from traditional methods of drying over open flames. It is also called badhi elaichi in Hindi.

There are at least two distinct species of black cardamom: Amomum subulatum (also known as Nepal cardamom) and Amomum costatum or A. tsao-ko. The pods of A. subulatum, used primarily in the cuisines of India and certain regional cuisines of Pakistan, are the smaller of the two, while the larger pods of A. costatum are used in Chinese cuisine, particularly that of Sichuan; and Vietnamese cuisine.



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Black Cardamom Ice Cream

1 tbsp Plain Flour
175g/6oz Sugar
600ml/20fl.oz Milk
2 Large Egg Yolks, beaten
1 teasp Vanilla Extract
1 teasp Ground Cardamom
1 teasp finely grated Lemon Zest
240ml/8fl.oz. Double Cream


  • Place the flour and sugar in a large saucepan and mix well.
  • Place over a medium heat and gradually add half of the milk, stirring constantly and cook until thickened and bubbly.
  • Place the beaten eggs in a large mixing bowl and slowly pour in about half of the hot milk mixture stirring constantly.
  • Add the egg mixture to the remaining milk in the pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring all the time until the mixture gets to boiling point.
  • Remove from heat, add the vanilla, cardamom, lemon peel and remaining milk, mix well then transfer to a large bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to cool.
  • Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hour.
  • Once well chilled, stir in the cream then transfer to a freezer proof plastic box and freeze.

Home Remedies

  • Consumption of one tablespoon of honey mixed with some cardamom seeds can improve eyesight and reduce nervous weakness.
  • Cardamom benefits also include relief from headache caused by indigestion. You just need to have cardamom tea to get rid of this problem.
  • Mix equal amounts of dried ginger, licorice, cardamom seeds and crush it to make a fine powder. Have a teaspoon of this home medicine along with honey to cure oral infections and toothache.
  • Intake of lemon juice mixed with some sugar, and a pinch of cardamom powder is highly beneficial in dealing with dizziness and lightheadedness.
  • Taking a combination of five drops of cardamom tincture and 15 drops of gentian tincture serves as one of the best cardamom home remedies for increasing appetite. Follow this natural cure three times in a day.
  • (Elaichi) cardamom benefits patients suffering from celiac disease because it helps combat the effects of gluten intolerance, to some extent.

Medicinal Value

valueThis exotic spice contains many plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties.

The spicy pods contain many essential volatile oils that include pinene, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, limonene, 1, 8-cineole, terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-oil, a-terpineol, a-terpineol acetate, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol, and trans-nerolidol.

The therapeutic properties of cardamom-oil have found application in many traditional medicines as antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and tonic.

Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.

It is also an excellent source of manganese and iron. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.

The pods are rich in many vital vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C that are essential for optimum health.