You may be familiar with cardamom as the popular spice found in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. In many cultures cardamom is known as “the queen of spices,” and for good reason. This aromatic spice doesn’t just add a complex flavor to dishes, it also boasts a range of health benefits.
Cardamom essential oil is extracted from cardamom seeds and has a wide variety of medicinal uses. Whether you’re looking to keep your skin healthy and radiant, maintain proper blood circulation, or relieve the symptoms of cold and flu, look no further. Cardamom essential oil does all of this and more.
The History of Cardamom
Cardamom, scientifically known as Elettaria cardamomum, is a herbaceous perennial plant native to the Western Ghats of southern India.
A member of the ginger family, this plant can grow up to four meters tall and is cultivated for its fruits. The fruits range from pale green to yellow in color and are oval in shape. Inside each fruit are three separate chambers which are filled with the aromatic seeds. When dry, they are commonly used as a flavoring. 1
Dried cardamom has been used as both a medicine and a spice since the fourth century BCE. It is the third most expensive spice in the world, after vanilla and saffron. In ancient Greece and Rome, cardamom was a symbol of luxury and was often used in social ceremonies. It was also a common ingredient in perfumes and aphrodisiacs.
Babylonians and Assyrians used cardamom in their medicines, and the Greek physician Dioscorides mentioned coriander as a medicinal herb in his book Materia Medica, which was written between 50 and 70 AD. Cardamom was one of the most popular spices in Roman cuisine and was often recommended as an aid in digestion.
Arabic medicine used cardamom seeds as an aphrodisiac and mood enhancer, while Chinese medicine used cardamom to cure stomach problems, intestinal infections, constipation, and dysentery. 2
Today, we still use the whole or powdered spice as a fragrant addition to our meals. The use of cardamom essential oil is relatively new, but it boasts a lot of the same health benefits as the spice itself.
Cardamom essential oil is steam distilled from the dried seeds of the cardamom fruit. The resulting oil has a warm, spicy, fruity, and balsamic aroma and is clear to pale yellow in color.
The oil is an antiseptic, tonic, stimulant, expectorant, stomachic, antispasmodic, digestive, antimicrobial, diuretic, and carminative. These are all due to its chemical composition, which consists of:
- A-terpinyl acetate
- Methyl eugenol
- Sabinene 3
The complex composition of cardamom essential oil gives it a wide variety of medicinal uses.
Uses for Cardamom Essential Oil
Cardamom essential oil boasts a wide variety of healing properties. Whether you're looking to maintain a healthy digestive system, support your nervous system, or even improve your intimate relations, cardamom has you covered.
Promotes Healthy Blood Circulation
Cardamom is known as a warming spice, and the essential oil is no different. The warming effect helps facilitate proper blood circulation. Diffusing cardamom essential oil throughout a room and inhaling the vapor helps regulate the flow of oxygen throughout the body and increase nutrient absorption.
Fights Off Harmful Microbes
Cardamom essential oil’s antiseptic and antimicrobial properties make it ideal for disinfecting minor wounds and keeping your skin and mouth healthy. This oil can help fight off bacteria in the mouth that lead to cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. 4
To keep your mouth healthy, add a drop or two of cardamom essential oil into your mouthwash or toothpaste before use. Alternatively, add a drop of the oil to a bit of warm water and swish it around the mouth.
This essential oil can keep wounds from becoming septic when used topically and can help speed up healing time. Be sure the affected area is properly cleaned, then mix a drop of cardamom essential oil into a carrier oil and apply to the wound before covering.
Maintains Healthy Digestion
A healthy digestive system is important for your overall health. Cardamom essential oil helps to regulate the digestive system, keeping everything working properly. Since this oil is stomachic, it is beneficial for overall stomach health and maintains proper levels of acids, gastric juices, and bile.
This essential oil’s carminative and antispasmodic properties also help relieve symptoms of nausea, indigestion, and flatulence.
To keep your digestive system healthy, add a drop of cardamom essential oil into a glass of drinking water. You can also diffuse the oil throughout your home and inhale the beneficial vapors.
Cardamom essential oil helps the body produce enzymes that balance hormonal levels, and helps facilitate circulation, secretion, and peristaltic motion. This helps maintain proper metabolic function throughout the body. 5
Add a drop of this essential oil to your drinking water or diffuse throughout a room to reap these benefits.
Supports Nervous System
Cardamom essential oil is an effective remedy for headaches and acts as a tonic for the nervous system. It is especially effective at soothing nervous tension and increasing concentration.
To calm the nerves and regain focus, diffuse cardamom essential oil throughout the home or place a drop or two on your pulse points.
Promotes Emotional Well-Being
If you’re feeling a bit sad, worried, anxious, or stressed, cardamom essential oil can help diminish these negative feelings. Often, these feelings are the result of nervous tension or exhaustion, and cardamom can help you regain focus and motivation.
Use this essential oil when you feel as though you need more courage, direction, clarity, or enthusiasm.
Cardamom essential oil is a diuretic, meaning it helps increase the frequency of urination. This helps keep the kidneys running smoothly and removes toxins from the body. Frequent urination helps reduce the amount of calcium build-up in the kidneys, which decreases the risk of kidney stones.
Cardamom also reduces bloating and water retention, leaving you feeling slimmer.
Keeps Skin Healthy
Cardamom essential oil can renew skin cells and reduce signs of aging. Cardamom helps promote skin elasticity, protect the skin from environmental and UV damage, and keep you looking young and radiant. It also helps tone the skin and shrink pores.
Since cardamom essential oil is naturally antiseptic, it can help cleanse and disinfect the skin. Add a couple of drops of this oil to your cleanser, or make a quick disinfectant by adding a couple of drops into warm water and applying with a cotton pad. Its cleansing and disinfectant properties help clear up acne and reduce further breakouts. 6
Keeps Hair and Scalp Healthy
Cardamom essential oil has high concentrations of both linalool and limonene, which can help relieve the scalp of inflammation and dryness. This can help reduce itchy dandruff and gets rid of the bacteria that causes dandruff in the first place.
This essential oil can also help stimulate the flow of blood to the scalp, restoring shine and strengthening the hair. To keep your hair and scalp healthy, mix a couple of drops of cardamom essential oil into your shampoo or mix a couple of drops into a cup of warm water and use as a nourishing rinse.
Cardamom essential oil can also be used to enhance the color of blonde hair. It keeps hair bright, healthy, and reduces dullness. To enhance blonde color, use a mixture of honey, cardamom, and cinnamon. This is also a great way of lightening your hair.
Relieves Cold and Flu Symptoms
Cardamom essential oil is one of the most effective remedies for cold and flu. Its antispasmodic properties make it effective against a cough, and it can help relieve congestion in the nasal passages and lungs. Its antimicrobial properties also help get rid of the viruses that caused these illnesses in the first place.
To fight congestion and coughs, add a few drops of cardamom essential oil to a bowl of hot water. Cover your head with a towel and breathe in the steam for five to 10 minutes. Alternatively, mix a couple of drops of this oil with a carrier oil and massage gently onto the chest to promote respiratory health.
Cardamom’s antispasmodic properties are great for reducing cough and congestion, but they also help reduce pain from stomach and muscle cramps. This oil is especially effective for those suffering from menstrual cramps.
To relieve cramps, add a couple of drops of cardamom essential oil to a glass of drinking water. For menstrual cramps and general muscle cramps, mix a couple of drops of the oil with a carrier oil and massage gently into the affected area. For an even more soothing effect, warm up the oil before applying or add a couple of drops into a relaxing bath.
Acts as an Aphrodisiac
Cardamom is widely praised as a powerful aphrodisiac, igniting dormant passion and increasing intimacy in relationships.
Safety and Precautions
Cardamom essential oil is safe for topical, aromatic, and internal use, but should still be used with caution.
This oil can be irritating to those with sensitive skin, so it is recommended to mix with a carrier oil before applying topically. Before applying to large areas of skin, you should always conduct a patch test.
If you are ingesting cardamom essential oil, you should dilute one drop in four fluid ounces of water for safety. You should also always be sure that you are purchasing 100 percent therapeutic grade essential oils. Ingesting this oil in large quantities can cause the gastrointestinal tract to overact, causing stomach sensitivity and loose bowels. 7
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is recommended to stay away from essential oils unless directed by your doctor. If you are attempting to use cardamom essential oil in place of a medication or to treat a chronic condition, you should always check with a medical professional beforehand.
If stored correctly, cardamom essential oil should last for 4–5 years.
It is no wonder that cardamom has been used since ancient times. Cardamom essential oil is an extremely versatile oil that can be used to treat a wide variety of health problems. It can be used aromatically to promote a positive mood and clear the respiratory system, topically to reduce muscle cramps and disinfect wounds, and internally to ease an upset stomach and promote proper digestion. It can be diffused throughout a home, used in a personal diffuser, added to a relaxing bath or massage oil, or ingested through a glass of water.
Its wide variety of uses make cardamom essential oil an ideal addition to your medicine cabinet, whether you’re looking to improve your health, appearance, or emotional state.