N A T U R K U N D L I C H E S   I N F O R M A T I O N S S Y S T E M

Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton

(botanical nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Amomum cardamom Linné, 1753: 1.
Type locality: India [south India]
Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Synonyms following Wikipedia (2020):
Amomum ensal Raeusch.
Amomum racemosum Lam.
Amomum repens Sonn.
Amomum uncinatum Stokes
Cardamomum elletari Garsault
Cardamomum malabaricum Pritz.
Cardamomum minus (Gaertn.) Kuntze
Cardamomum officinale Salisb.
Cardamomum verum Oken

grüner Kardamom


Herbarium specimen: Sri Lanka, central province, Kandy district, Hunasgiriya, 1500 m, 1975.07.18, leg. L. H. Cramer, coll. United States National Herbarium      
Picture from: NMNH (creative commons)
Detailed view


Cardamom originates from south-east Asia (southern India, Sri Lanka and Thailand). Nowadays it is cultivated throughout the tropics, especially in ventral America, e.g. Guatemala. Further cultivation countries are Tanzania, Madagascar, Papua-New Guinea and Vietnam (wikipedia 2020).


without data      
Picture from: wikimedia commons: David Stang (CC-BY-SA-4.0)
Detailed view

Stages in development:

Capsules and seeds: without data Flowers: North India    
Picture from: wikimedia commons: Didier Descouens (CC-BY-SA-4.0)
Detailed view
Picture from: wikimedia commons: Vishalsh521 (CC-BY-3.0)
Detailed view

Biochemical performances:

Active component is an essential oil (appr. 7 %), which is composed from over 120 compunds, especially alpha-terpinylacetate (appr. 1/3), cineole (also 1/3), alpha-terpineole, limonen, linalylacetate, linaloole, hydroxy-cinnamic acid, fatty oil and starch (wikipedia 2020).

Importance for humans:

In the kitchen:
Cardamon is a sort of spice. The capsules (cardamoms) are harvested by hand still unripe, in order to prevent them from opening and loosing their seeds. The seeds contain an essential oil, which gives them their spicy, sweetish-hot flavour. As it is quite volatile, whole capsules should be preferred instead of cardamom powder, which also contains the more or less tasteless pericarps. The seeds are pestled and ground immediately before usage. When pestling, the pestle is pressed against the capsule, untill it springs open. Then the pericarps are removed and the seeds are ground. Good cardamom is recognized by the fresh green colour of the capsules and the oily-black colour of the seeds (wikipedia 2020).
Seeds of cardamon are a widespread spice in the Asiatic and Arabian kitchen. They are a main ingredient of Indian Masalas and of the similar Curry powder, as well as Masala chai. The Ayurvedic confect Laddu, which is made of Ghee-butter, also contains cardamom. In the European kitchen, the spice is used mainly in Christmas cookies like gingerbread and spiced Christmas biscuit, but also in sausages, liqueurs, chocolates and as part of spice blends. In Scandinavia, cardamom is also a typical ingredient of sweet biscuits (e.g. Sweedish Kanelbulle od Finnish Pulla) and of mulled wine (Glögg). When making Arabian mocca, the coffee powder is often blended with cardamom. Despite the same name, black cardamom (Amomum subulatum) is used solely for savoury dishes (wikipedia 2020).

In medicine:
As a drug, the fruits harvested shortly before ripening (Cardamomi Fructus) with the seeds of var. minuscula Bork are used, which are growing only along the Malabar coast (Malabar cardamom). Only the seeds, freed from the pericarps are used for pharmaceutical purpuses. Their essential oil promotes the secretion of spittle, gastric and bile juices. Normally, ethanolic extracts are used, sometimes combined with caraway and fennel, in finished dosage products against disgestion discomfort, flatulences and for the stimulation of appetite. In some preparations, cardamom is added only as taste corrective (wikipedia 2020).

In Arabian countries, cardamom is said to perform as aphrodisiac (wikipedia 2020).

Worth knowing:

The name is derived via the greek-latin "cardamomum" from the old indian kárdama[c]h, (dirt).


Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species plantarum, exhibentes plantas rite cognitas, ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale digestas vol. I. L. Salvius, Stockholm: 1-560.
Seite "Grüner Kardamom". In: Wikipedia, Die freie Enzyklopädie. Bearbeitungsstand: 6. Juni 2020, 20:29 UTC. URL: https://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gr%C3%BCner_Kardamom&oldid=200697611 [online 2020.07.10].

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2020.07.08
Kurz Michael: 2020.07.10
Kurz Michael: 2020.07.13
not reviewed