Disease Management, Lifestyle, Recipe Corner

Cardamon – A powerful spice for lung health

cardamon-a-powerful-spice-for-lung-health

Cardamom also known as elaichi is a culinary spice used in almost every Indian household. While this spice helps impart an amazing flavour and aroma to dishes, what’s lesser know about cardamom is its ability to boost lung health.

With pollution reaching toxic levels in certain parts of the country today, we have two choices. One is to blame the government and whine about rules and regulations and the other one is to get back to our roots and search for traditional and effective remedies that our grand moms have been using for years to combat cough, cold, flu’s etc.

Cardamom is truly a treasure here! We already know it exists in so many cuisines, curries, beverages and desserts but here’s throwing more limelight on cardamom for its capacity to boost lung health:

  1. Reduces phlegm and acts as a natural expectorant

Mucous build up in our lungs is the natural defense mechanism in our body in response to pollution in order to trap toxins and pollutants, but excess mucous could cause breathing issues and act as a perfect breeding ground for pathogens. Cardamom has an active ingredient called Cineole. Cineole has the ability to break down mucous and expel it out of the system – not only in the respiratory system but also in the digestive system. This is particularly useful for individuals who are asthmatic, suffer from bronchitis, pneumonia and have their respiratory passages choked up due to excess mucous and inflammation. 

  1. Reduces inflammation

Excess pollution and toxin exposure can inflame the lines of our respiratory tract. Cardamom helps rescue that. It’s not only cooling and soothing but also acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory spice.

  1. Antioxidant rich

Cardamom has a strong antioxidant profile and that helps combat free radical damage caused by pollution. Antioxidants help stall aging of the respiratory system.

  1. Additionally, it’s a rich source of manganese – a powerful detox trace mineral. By simply boiling cardamom pods with ginger in water it naturally becomes a detox concoction – for your liver, lungs and kidneys.
  2. According to Ayurveda, cardamom helps reduce Kapha – the type of bodies that tend to hold on to mucous.
  3. Cineole, an active ingredient present in cardamom is a potent antimicrobial and antiseptic that helps prevent any bacterial infection that could affect the lungs directly or indirectly.

 

Ways to use:

  1. Cardamom tea – add 1-2 cardamom pods to your tea while its brewing
  2. Indian curry powder – add it to curry powders
  3. Cardamom essential oil: Inhaling cardamom essential oil via steaming or diffusing it with the help of a vaporizer also works wonders.
  4. Crushed and powdered seeds – add it to smoothies, laddoos, energy bars, shakes.
  5. Brew coffee with cardamom powder – -Take 1cup cold water,
  • 1 tablespoon extra finely ground coffee (powder consistency). This will also help offset the acidic effects of coffee. So is the case when we add chai masala (that has cardamom) in tea.
  • Suck on 1-2 pods of elaichi like lozenges.

Chai masala:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Cloves.

1/4 cup Green Cardamom (Elaichi)

1/4 cup Black Peppercorns.

1 tbsp Fennel Seeds (Saunf).

6-inch Sri Lankan Cinnamon (Dalchini).

2 tbsp dry Ginger powder.

1 Nutmeg grated.

Method:

  • Mix all the ingredients (except Nutmeg) in a blender and blend to make a coarse powder. Grate the nutmeg in the powder.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to a month.
  • Use 1/4 tsp of this powder for each cup of Indian masala chai or just add 1/4 tsp in 1 cup boiling water, sip and relish.

 

Word of caution:

  • Quite a few people are allergic to cardamom. So, start off with minute quantities and discontinue if you experience any discomfort
  • People with very large gall stones should consume cardamom with caution, best if its under a professional advice.
  • Rule out any drug- cardamom interaction (especially HIV, IBS, antidepressant medications or aspirin)
  • Never overconsume any spice, including cardamom. 1-2 pods are enough.
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Luke Coutinho

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