Spice Up Your Routine with Cardamom Tea
Cardamom tea is a spicy and sweet tea that has been used in Asia and the Middle East as an herbal remedy. It boasts anti-inflammatory properties that protect heart health and is frequently used as an antidepressant to boost mood.
Here, we'll show you everything you need to know about cardamom tea. Discover it's health benefits, side effects, and learn how to brew the perfect cup every time.
What Is Cardamom Tea?
Cardamom tea is an herbal tea made from the seed pods of the cardamom plant. There are two types of cardamom used to brew tea: green cardamom and black cardamom. Green cardamom comes from the plant known by the botanical name Elettaria cardamomum. This type of cardamom boasts a strong, intense flavor that is both spicy and slightly sweet.
Black cardamom comes from the plant with the botanical name Amomum cardamomum. Black cardamom tea has a smoky flavor that is contrasted by a refreshing, slightly minty aroma.
Both types of cardamom tea are made from the cardamom seeds of the plant. The seeds can be infused directly in hot water or first ground into cardamom powder. Cardamom plants are native to Asia, but are frequently grown in other regions including Guatemala and Sri Lanka. The plant belongs to the same family as ginger and features pale green or beige seeds.
Cardamom seeds are picked by hand and harvested in October. They are then either crushed or packaged as-is to make tea. The cardamom pods also make their way into tea bags and can be packaged for sale as culinary spices.
Benefits of Cardamom Tea
Cardamom tea has long been used in South Asia to treat a variety of ailments. Like Indian masala chai tea, cardamom tea is a staple of Ayurvedic and traditional medicine. Today, research shows that cardamom may in fact have health benefits when consumed regularly. Read on to find out more about cardamom tea health benefits.
1. May Aid Weight Loss and Prevent Serious Disease
Cardamom tea may help accelerate weight loss by streamlining the body's digestive processes. Cardamom works to prevent the buildup of fat while helping the liver process waste products more quickly.
Ground cardamom has been shown to help prevent obesity. In an animal study published in Lipids in Health and Disease, researchers found that cardamom improved glucose intolerance and prevented the deposit of abdominal fats. Cardamom was also shown to have positive effects of the liver by ameliorating fibrosis (1).
Another study published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders examined the effects of cardamom on pre-diabetic women. Researchers found that cardamom consumption increased insulin sensitivity and decreased bad LDL cholesterol (2).
2. Good For Oral Health
Cardamom tea helps protect dental health by inhibiting bacterial growth (3). Bacteria grow on the surface of teeth and cause dental caries—a common condition where the tooth enamel is broken down by acids. These acids are produced when bacteria ferments carbohydrates. Drinking cardamom tea can help neutralize this bacteria and prevent plaque buildup, cavities, and dental caries.
The antibacterial properties of cardamom also effectively treat halitosis—more commonly known as bad breath. Bad breath is caused when bacteria builds up in the mouth and begins to feed on food particles. Cardamom helps eliminate the bacteria to keep your breath fresh all day long.
3. May Help You Quit Smoking
Cardamom tea may be useful if you are trying to stop smoking. Research published in Addictive Behavior examined the potential of cardamom gum to aid nicotine withdrawal. Results showed that vanilla and baked apple cardamom gums were effective in lessening nicotine withdrawal symptoms including dysphoria, anxiety, and tension (4).
4. Boost Immune System
Like many herbal teas, cardamom tea may help treat and prevent the common cold and flu. That's because it is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that fight off viruses, fungi, and bacterium.
A study published in Ethnobotanical Leaflets found that cardamom may effectively prevent viruses including streptococcus, which causes sore throat. Researchers found cardamom to be effective against staph infections and fungal infections including candida (5).
5. Protects Heart Health
Cardamom contains high levels of potassium that are good for heart health (6). Potassium works as a vasodilator—meaning it decrease inflammation and pressure on arteries and blood vessels. This means that drinking cardamom tea regularly may help lower high blood pressure. It can help improve blood circulation and lower your risk of heart attack and blood clots.
6. Digestive Aid
Cardamom tea has long been used as a digestive aid to soothe stomach ailments including gas and bloating. It was used in Turkey and Arabic societies to treat intestinal worms. Crushed cardamom seeds have anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritated stomach muscles. This helps to prevent the contractions that cause stomach pains.
Cardamom is a natural carminative, which means it relieves gas. Drinking cardamom tea during or after a meal can help streamline digestion and prevent gas. Some research also shows that cardamom tea may be beneficial in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome although results have been inconclusive (7).
Like ginger tea, cardamom tea can help treat nausea. Sip this hot tea before you board a boat or plane if you suffer from motion sickness. Drinking cardamom tea may also help ease morning sickness, but make sure to consult a physician before drinking cardamom tea if you are pregnant.
Side Effects of Cardamom Tea
Cardamom tea has not been shown to have any serious side effects when consumed in moderation.
This herbal tea may interact with certain medications so it's a good idea to talk to your doctor before drinking cardamom tea if you have a health condition. Research shows cardamom may interact with blood thinning medications and some antidepressants so limit or avoid use if you take these medications.
Cardamom tea may cause allergic reactions in certain individuals. If you experience symptoms including runny nose, itchy throat, or difficulty breathing when drinking cardamom tea, stop use immediately. Don't drink cardamom tea if you are allergic to either of the cardamom plants.
Tips on Brewing Cardamom Tea
Whether you brew your tea using green cardamom pods or black cardamom powder, these tips will ensure you brew the perfect cup of tea.
Always use high quality ingredients to get the best flavor and maximize health potential. As with most teas, make sure your cardamom tea recipe uses only filtered, spring, or pure water. Tap water and distilled water won't develop flavors well and can contain chemicals that alter taste.
Cardamom tea pairs well with black tea leaves. For a less caffeinated option, brew cardamom pods with green tea or rooibos tea leaves instead. The spicy notes of cardamom tea also pair well with coconut milk and dairy milk. Sweeten this tea by adding honey or a cinnamon stick. It also complements sweet dishes and can be paired with dessert for an after dinner sweet and spicy treat.
How to Brew Cardamom Tea
1. Bring 2 cups water to a rapid boil in a stove top pot.
2. Remove the water from heat and add 4 cardamom pods. If you plan on using tea leaves, add them in now.
3. Steep for 5 minutes before adding milk or sweeteners.