Essential Oil Spotlight: Cardamom

Cardamom essential oil (Elettaria cardamomum) is steam-distilled from the seeds of the plant. It has a sweet, spicy, balsamic scent with floral undertones.

It has antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, decongestant, diuretic, expectorant, stomachic, and tonic properties.

Anciently, cardamom was used for epilepsy, spasms, paralysis, rheumatism, cardiac disorders, all intestinal illnesses, pulmonary disease, fever, and digestive and urinary complaints. It is said to be able to neutralize the lingering odor of garlic.

If you are acquainted with Indian food, you may associate the flavor and smell of this oil with sweet Indian dishes such as rice pudding, as the cardamom spice is a common ingredient in this dish and gives it a cool, minty aroma and taste. It may be that rice pudding is often served at the end of the meal because of cardamom’s ability to neutralize lingering odors that cause halitosis.

Today cardamom is commonly used for coughs, digestive support, headaches, inflammation, muscle aches, nausea, and respiratory ailments. Cardamom may also help with appetite loss, bronchitis, colic, debility, dyspepsia, flatulence, halitosis, mental fatigue, heartburn, sciatica, ulcers, and vomiting. It may also be beneficial for menstrual periods, menopause, and nervous indigestion.

Cardamom is most known for supporting the digestive and respiratory systems of the body.

Applications of Cardamom Essential Oil and Safety Data

Topical Application: Cardamom essential oil is safe to use without dilution, but it can also be diluted as needed. Apply to reflex points and/or directly on area of concern.
Aromatic Application: Diffuse, or inhale cardamom essential oil directly. The aroma of cardamom is uplifting, refreshing, and invigorating. It may be beneficial for clearing confusion.
Internal Application: Cardamom essential oil can be taken internally and is often used as a flavoring in cooking. Put 1–2 drops of cardamom oil under the tongue or in a beverage. It can also be taken in capsules.

5 Ways to Use Cardamom Essential Oil

1. Diffuse
Try these blends in your diffuser to increase your mental alertness, open your airways, and enjoy the scent of autumn leaves:

2. Use in Roll-on Blends

Cardamom essential oil is helpful to the respiratory and digestive systems. It can also help relieve a headache. Rub the respiratory blends (below) on the chest, throat, back, and/or sinuses to help open airways and clear coughs. Rub the digestive blends on the abdomen to help reduce flatulence, bloating, belching, hiccups, and heartburn. Cardamom is a safe essential oil to use with children, so it is a great choice over peppermint to open their little airways and support their digestive systems.

Respiratory Support (6+ years):
5 drops eucalyptus
5 drops peppermint
5 drops lemon
3 drops cardamom
2 drops rosemary
2 drops melaleuca
(20% dilution in a 5 ml roll-on or
10% dilution in a 10 ml roll-on)
Little Lungs Respiratory Support (Children):
1 drop cardamom
1 drop frankincense
(2% dilution in a 5 ml roll-on or
1% dilution in a 10 ml roll-on)
Digestive Support (6+ years):
5 drops cardamom
3 drops ginger
3 drops peppermint
(10% dilution in a 5 ml roll-on or
5% dilution in a 10 ml roll-on)
Tiny Tummies Digestive Support (Children):
1 drop cardamom
1 drop orange
1 drop fennel
(3% dilution in a 5 ml roll-on or
1.5% dilution in a 10 ml roll-on)
Headaches:
4 drops peppermint
3 drops cardamom
3 drops rosemary
(10% dilution in a 5 ml roll-on or
5% dilution in a 10 ml roll-on)

Add oils to a 5 ml roll-on bottle or 10 ml roll-on bottle depending on desired dilution percentage. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with a carrier oil. Common carrier oils for use in a roll-on bottle include Fractionated Coconut OilSweet Almond Oil, and Jojoba Oil.

3. Use in a Bath or Shower:

Cardamom essential oil is excellent as a bath oil. Combine one of the following oil blends with 1/4–1/2 cup (60–120 g) epsom salt, and evenly disperse throughout the tub. Alternatively, you can add these essential oil combinations to these bath bombs.

Muscle Aches:
2 drops cardamom
1 drop peppermint
1 drop clove
1 drop copaiba
Congestion Bomb:
2 drops eucalyptus
2 drops peppermint
2 drops cardamom
2 drops Douglas fir (or another fir oil)

If you prefer taking showers, try adding the Congestion Bomb blend or cardamom essential oil to these shower disks. The steam from the shower and the cardamom essential oil can be beneficial to clearing congestion.

4. Use in Breath Mints

Cardamom is beneficial in helping halitosis (bad breath) and is said to be able to neutralize the odor of garlic. Try adding cardamom essential oil to homemade breath mints, or use in a breath spray.

5. Add to Cooking Recipes

Cardamom essential oil is often used in Indian cooking, but it is great to add to any of your favorite recipes. It pairs well with chocolate, rice, honey, coconut oil, spices like cinnamon and clove, and works in both savory and sweet dishes. This oil can taste strong, so start with a toothpick and add more to taste. Here are some of our recipes that use cardamom essential oil:

Sources: Modern Essentials™: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 9th Edition, p. 45.

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