The Joy of Cardamom: Potential Benefits and More


An Ode to Cardamom

At some point over the last few years, I became absolutely obsessed with cardamom. Through my infatuation, I have found a way to weave it into just about everything… Have you ever had a chocolate chip cardamom cookie? Or sprinkled it on your toast? How about a cardamom rose latte? Maybe a blueberry cardamom compote? Would you be surprised if I also mentioned that there is cardamom in my toothpaste or that I add it to my water bottle every morning? I’m telling you, I’ve tried it all… and, somehow, my fondness for cardamom only grows stronger. Let me explain why.

One of the things I appreciate most about this truly delightful herb is the way that it enhances my sensory experience. With its aromatic nature, sweet and ever so slightly spicy, the smell of cardamom alone is delicious. When added to foods and beverages it subtly enhances the other flavors that it is paired with to basically make everything taste better. Not to mention, cardamom is super versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory cooking. It also embodies properties for digestive and respiratory wellness, amongst its many gifts. (More on that below!)

If you’re not already a member of the cardamom fan club, consider this your official welcome party meets crash course in the joys of cardamom. We’ll begin by exploring the ancient Ayurvedic perspective on this beloved herb.

The Ayurvedic Perspective on Cardamom

Cardamom, also called ela in Sanskrit, has been a staple spice in the Ayurvedic paradigm for thousands of years. Ayurveda is the ancient healing science of India with more than 5,000 years of case studies proving its efficacy. According to this system, wellness grows when we orient toward balanced living and align ourselves with the rhythms of nature. The Ayurvedic approach focuses on diet, daily routine, and herbs to prevent and alleviate common wellness challenges.

With a deep commitment to understanding how various herbs impact the body and mind, Ayurveda has developed a system for determining the unique qualities that different medicinal plants offer us. Within this system, cardamom is considered to be light and rough. These are qualities that gently stoke digestive fire, causing a stimulating effect that may help digest heavy foods, like breads, sugars or dairy.

Cardamom exhibits sweet and pungent tastes. Ayurvedically speaking, the sweet taste is typically believed to soothe the body and bring a cooling quality to the digestive tract. The pungent taste, on the other hand, is believed to activate the body and bring a warming quality to the digestive system. With these seemingly opposing energies at play, cardamom becomes a more mild option for digestive support, which makes it great for those who can’t handle too much fire. While the overall heating or cooling action is debated, cardamom is most often classified as slightly more cooling than it is heating.

With its gentle nature, cardamom is believed to be balancing for all three Ayurvedic doshas (mind body types), though it may increase pitta dosha (the fire element within us) if used in excess. According to The Yoga of Herbs, cardamom reduces kapha dosha in the lungs and stomach, which may help relieve seasonal ailments related to excess mucus or dampness in the upper body. With its phlegm clearing properties, cardamom is often used in traditional Ayurvedic formulations (like sitopaladi churna) for seasonal wellness.

From a digestive standpoint, cardamom is classified as dipana, meaning it kindles digestive fire to stimulate the appetite and improve digestion. It is also believed to reduce the mucus forming qualities associated with the consumption of milk and — it may even detoxify the caffeine in coffee!

Beyond the physical, cardamom is said to stimulate the mind, while bringing clarity and joy. This might be one of my favorite things about it! When I consume cardamom, I really feel like it evokes a heart and mind opening quality within me.

…Do you love cardamom yet?? Let’s keep going.

Scientific Perspective & Potential Benefits

A 2020 study found implications for cardamom and oral health, noting that the extract used in their study inhibited the formation of biofilm. This same study found evidence suggesting that “cardamom extracts have a therapeutic potential against periodontal infections through their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.” What’s amazing about this is that cardamom has been commonly used for oral care in Ayurveda for thousands of years! In our modern world, you’ll often see it as a key ingredient in Ayurvedic-inspired toothpaste or mouth washes.

In exploring the potential digestive benefits of cardamom, a study published in The Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that:

Cardamom possess gut stimulatory and inhibitory effects mediated through cholinomimetic and Ca++ antagonist mechanisms respectively and lowers BP via combination of both cholinergic and CCB pathways, thus provide sound mechanistic background for its folkloric use in constipation, colic, diarrhea and hypertension.

In Ayurveda, cardamom is commonly used for digestive support. Based on this study and many others, it looks like the world of modern science is beginning to catch up to what this ancient wisdom has known for thousands of years.


How to Use Cardamom

The easiest and most common way to get more cardamom into your life is to cook with it — especially if you are preparing foods that you think may need a little extra support in digesting. Next time you make a soup or stew, toss a whole cardamom pod in, just like you would a bay leaf. Sprinkle cardamom powder over anything that you would sprinkle cinnamon on (like toast, oatmeal, or desserts). You can also bake with it, by mixing 1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom directly into cookie dough, pancake mix, or cake batter. This is a quick and subtle way to elevate your favorite treats.

The joys of cardamom also extend to beverages! You can steep whole cardamom pods in hot water to make a tea, or drop a couple cardamom pods in your water bottle for a slow (and refreshing) infusion as you refill throughout the day. Cardamom combines well with herbs like rosecinnamonclove, and/or tulsi to make a delicious (and digestive) tea blend. Steep for at least 10 minutes.

Discover cardamom recipes and remedies here.



Molly McConnell is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner who is committed to cultivating collective wellness. Guided by curiosity, embodied listening, and the rhythms of nature, Molly’s approach to Ayurveda is intentional and intersectional. As the cofounder ofCultivate Balance, she supports purpose-oriented people to come home to their bodies and restore resilience through nourishment, ritual, and routine. For a more immersive experience,Connect with Molly 1:1 or check outThe Reset for Resilience.