Native to South India, though also popularly grown in Sri Lanka and Guatemala.
It has a complex favor: a bit woody, with hints of fora and citrus. Resemblance to ginger but not as sharp. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
AYURVEDA & MEDICINAL USES
Cardamom is very close to Ayurveda for its uses are seemingly endless. It was used to treat teeth and gum infections, throat problems, congestion of the lungs, pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of the eyelids, inflammation of muscles and joint pain, gastrointestinal disorders, nausea, disintegrating kidney, gall bladder stones, urinary tract disorders/infections such as cystitis, nephritis, and gonorrhea, and was also used as an antidote for poisons and venom's.
According to a study from the Chittaranjan National Cancer institute of Kolkata, consumption of cardamom demonstrated inhibition and elimination of human colon cancer cells upto 48%. According to experiments conducted by Dhuley at at the Pharmacology and Toxicology Division at Hindustan Antibiotics Limited in Pune, India, the antioxidant enzymes in cardamom helped significantly control cholesterol levels in mice that were being fed a high-fat diet.
Freshly powdered cardamom tastes best. It blends well with fennel and other sweet spices, as well as pungent spices like cloves. Cardamom can be used for baking, in sweet sauces, puddings and milkshakes containing fruits and nuts. Crushed cardamom also makes an excellent topping for fresh fruits or fruit salads. At the start of cooking rice, drop in cracked cardamom pods to the water to infuse it with a lovely favor and aroma.