Cardamom is a tall herbaceous perennial with branched subterranean rhizomes from which arise
several erect leafy shoots and erect or decumbent panicles. The dried capsules, the essential oil, oleoresin and
tinctures are extensively used in the formulation of compounded mixtures for liquors beverages baked goods,
canned foods, meats, sauces and condiments. Cardamoms are stimulant, carminative and flavouring agent.
Dried cardamom fruits are used as a masticatory and in medicine. They are used for flavouring curries,
cakes, bread and other culinary purposes. The essential oil is employed in perfumery and flavourings. The
oleoresin has similar applications to essential oil in flavouring of processed foods but it is less used. The oil
and oleoresins also find use in the preparation of aromatic, stimulant, stomachic and diuretic tinctures.
Origin and distribution
The plant has originated in India. Its natural habitat is the evergreen forests of Western Ghats. It is
grown in India, Sri Lanka, Guatemala and Thailand. India is the largest producer of cardamom, with
cultivation mainly confined to the southern states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. About 80% of the
cardamom in the international market come from India. Guatemala has now overtaken Sri Lanka that was the
second largest exporter.