Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic, Grade A essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been AFNOR and ISO standardized. There is no quality control in the United States and oils labeled as “100% pure” needs only contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness.

Botanical Family:
Cardamom belongs to the Zingiberaceae (ginger) botanical family.

Chemical Constituents:
Cardamom is over 40% esters. Esters have relaxing, calming and balancing properties. Esters have balancing effects on the nervous system that help with stress and restlessness. Esters suppress viral acitivity and help with muscle relaxation. The ester, alpha terpenyl acetate, is Cardamom’s main consistent. Linayl acetate is also present in smaller amounts.

About 30% of the oxide, 1,8 cineol (eucalyptol) is present in Cardamom. This makes it the second largest constituent. This constituent, along with other oxides, acts as an to thin mucus from the respiratory tract. Eucalyptol also provides defense against growth of microbes.

The alcohols linalol, tepinen-4-ol, and alpha-terpineol provides defense against producing a microbial thriving environment and has antioxidant properties. Linalol is also prevents fungal growth and is antioxidant.

Sabinene, myrcene, and l-limonene are monoterpenes that give Cardamom additional supports the immune system and prevents microbial growth.

Finally, geranial, an aldehyde, also  prevents microbe and viral growth. Aldehydes in general  prevent pathogenic organism growth, are anti-inflammatory, calming, and have tonifying properties.

Cardamom was one of the most prized spices in ancient Greece and Rome. It is mentioned in the oldest Ancient Egyptian medical record, Ebers Papyrus, a list of over 150 ancient prescriptions.

Cardamom has many similar properties of ginger, but is less of an irritant. It is very soothing for digestive disturbances, including inhibiting parasites. It is good for muscle support and joint aches and pains. It exerts powerful effects on respiratory system.  The fragrance of Cardamom is said to have an uplifting, refreshing, and invigorating effect on the spirit. D. Gary Young utilizes cardamom in a blend called “clarity” for increased mental alertness. He believes cardamom has the ability to clear heavy metals from the brain.

1. Essential Oils Desk Reference 4th ed. ESP
2. Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide. Young, Gary
3. Reference Guide for Essential Oils. Hiley, C & A.
Additional Properties of Cardamom in peer-reviewed journals:
4. Protective capacities of certain spices against peroxynitrite-mediated biomolecular damage. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Mar;46(3):920-8. Epub 2007 Oct 30.
PMID: 18063286
(Note: peroxynitrite is a cytoxic agent that damages DNA, proteins, lipids, and a variety of biochemicals.)
5. Gut modulatory, blood pressure lowering, diuretic and sedative activities of cardamom.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Feb 12;115(3):463-72. Epub 2007 Oct 22.
PMID: 18037596
6. Gastroprotective effect of cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum Maton. fruits in rats.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Jan 16;103(2):149-53. Epub 2005 Nov 17.
PMID: 16298093 [PubMed – indexed
(Note: more effective than rantidine! ? )
7. Cardamom extract as inhibitor of human platelet aggregation.
Phytother Res. 2005 May;19(5):437-40.
PMID: 16106388 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]