Cardamom: The King of Chai

Cardamom: The King of Chai

Benefits of Cardamom

I like to call cardamom the King of Chai, not only because much of that chai tea taste comes from cardamom, but because of the way it transforms a simple cup of tea into a medicinal chai. In the same way it transforms your chai, it can transform your food, making cardamom a prince for digestion. As a member of the ginger family, its ability to help us digest seems to be an inherited trait, and it has thousands of years of experience as a digestive aid. Ayurvedic texts going back 5000 years celebrated cardamom’s ability to make hard-to-digest foods easier to digest, and to enhance the taste of most ordinary foods.

Black tea, the running back of chai, has its fair share of beneficial antioxidants but is still a stimulating caffeinated beverage. Sadly, what goes up from using stimulants such as caffeine must come down, but not so when brewed with cardamom. Cardamom neutralizes the stimulating effects of caffeine, allowing the chai to boost the digestive process without boosting the nervous system.

Throughout the Middle East, coffee is brewed with cardamom. Though they say it is for the taste, the numerous medicinal benefits of this brew indicate that it was traditional herbal wisdom that brought these two together. Cardamom reduces the acid in coffee, while neutralizing the effects of caffeine.

Acidic foods like tea, coffee, and spicy foods irritate the intestinal mucosa, producing an excess of gas-producing mucus that makes congestive foods like milk, cheese and wheat much more difficult to digest. Cardamom makes these foods much more digestible by protecting the mucus membranes from these acids, while liquefying the mucus in the heavy, harder-to-digest mucus-forming foods.

Traditionally, cardamom pods were also taken as a lozenge after meals to enhance digestion and assimilation. Cardamom is also one of the richest sources of cineole, a potent antiseptic for bad breath, gum disease, sore throats and many respiratory conditions.

Ayurvedic Use:
Reduces vata and kapha
In excess, may increase pitta

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Dr. John

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