Cardamom

Description

Cardamom refers to several plants of the similar genera Elettaria and Amomum in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bhutan.

They are recognised by their small seed pods, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped. With a thin, papery, outer shell and small black seeds.Guatemala is the biggest producer and exporter of cardamom in the world, followed by India.

Some other countries such as Sri Lanka have also begun to cultivate it. Elettaria pods are light green, while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown.It is the world's third-most expensive spice by weight.

Outstripped in market value only by saffron and vanilla.The word "cardamom" is derived from the Latin cardamomum a compound of kardamon which was the name for a kind of an Indian spice plant.

From the corresponding Dravidian root all modern names of cardamom in the major Dravidian languages are directly derived.

There are three natural varieties of green cardamom plant.Malabar (Nadan/native) as the name suggests is the native variety of Kerala. These plants have panicles which grow horizontally along the ground.

Mysore, as the name suggests is a native variety of Karnataka.These plants have panicles which grow vertically upwards.The Mysore variety has however declined in the past few decades owing to the emergence of the more resistant and better yielding 'Green Gold' variety.Which is the most common form of cardamom harvested in Kerala.

Vazhuka is a naturally occurring hybrid between Malabar and Mysore varieties and the panicles grow neither vertically nor horizontally.The oil extracted from freshly dried cardamom through the steam distillation procedure is known to be used for various purposes.

The main consumption is by the Flavour Industry especially the Pan Masala ( A kind of Mouth Freshner ) Industry.Some of the main constituents of Cardamom Oil are pinene, methyl eugenol, sabinene, geraniol, linalyl acetate, myrcene, nerol, phellandrene, citronellol, linalool, limonene, a-terpineol acetate, 1, 8-cineole, terpinene, a-terpineol, p-cymene, terpinen-4-oil, terpinolene, and trans-nerolidol.

It has numerous benefits for our health, skin and hair and is extensively admired for its use in aromatherapy. Cardamom Oil is a very effective Carminative.Cardamom Oil has been used in some exquisite fragrances , but only in very small amounts. Gives a sparkling top note in combination with Aldehydes and Citrus Oils.

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