Botanical Name: Elettaria cardamomum
Components: Cardamom seeds come from a large, tropical perennial bush that is a member of the ginger family. Native to southern India, it is now cultivated elsewhere, especially in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Vietnam. Due to limited growing areas and the laborious harvesting process, cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world.
Overview: Cardamom contains a phytochemical called cineole, a powerful antiseptic that kills the bacteria responsible for bad breath. Cineole also helps break up chest congestion, and gives the entire central nervous system a boost.
Uses: Whole pods, or the seeds removed from the pods and ground, are used in teas, tinctures, and infusions. Cardamom is most popularly used as a culinary spice, and is essential to Indian, Persian, Turkish, and Arabic cuisines.