Cardamom of commerce is the dried ripe fruit often referred as the “Queen of Spices” because of its very pleasant aroma and taste.
Cardamom is a perennial, herbaceous, rhizomatous plant. Based on the nature of panicles, three varieties are recognized viz.
Malabar with prostrate panicle, Mysore with erect panicle, and Vazhukka with semi erect panicle.
The main components in the essential oil of T. mastichina are 1,8-cineole (30-68%) and linalol (3-48%), both are important compounds with therapeutic properties.
The major use is for the preparation of ‘gahwa’ – a strong cardamom coffee concoction which is a symbol for hospitality among Arabs.
Apart from this cardamom is widely used as a flavouring material in whole and ground form.
In Asia, it can add a lingering sparkle to every kind of dishes both traditional and modern.
In Scandinavian countries it is used in baked goods and confectionaries.
In Europe and North America it is an ingredient in curry powder and in some sausages products.
Cardamom oil and oleoresin has applications in flavouring processed foods, cordials, and liquors and in perfumery and in Ayurvedic medicines.