Table of Contents
- What is Cardamom Essential Oil and How is it Made?
- DIY Cardamom Oil Recipe and Guide
- Cardamom Essential Oil for Hair and Hair Loss
- Antispasmodic Benefits of Cardamom Essential Oil
- Cardamom Essential Oil Antiseptic Benefits
- What Does Cardamom Essential Oil Smell Like?
- Can You Diffuse Cardamom Essential Oil?
Sometimes I can spend hours literally staring at the different spices on offer at my local supermarket. I always seem to find myself marveling at the sheer range of things available to us these days.
I like to imagine myself as a seafaring spice trader of old, braving the dangers of the open ocean with only minimal chances of returning alive. Facing countless dangers on the journey, all for something as simple as pepper, vanilla or cardamom.
In fact, at certain points in history, certain spices were worth more than their weight in gold and traders could make a veritable fortune from selling them around the world i.e. the birth of the global market as we know it today.
So, we have it pretty easy compared to our ancestors and I think this has made us quite apathetic in terms of how we value spices in modern times. In our fast-paced consumer culture, we’ve become used to expecting produce and products to be available all year round without realizing how much effort goes into making that a reality.
In doing my research on spices and the world of essential oils along with my foray into a more holistic lifestyle, my appreciation for these otherwise humble ingredients has increased tenfold. My love for cardamom in specific has always remained a source of great inspiration for me in the kitchen.
It’s one of my favorites because as a spice, it works in both savory dishes and desserts, and as an essential oil, it’s both a potent topical treatment and an incredibly effective internal medication.
So if you’re interested in learning more about this amazing essential oil and how you can use it in your day to day life for a wide variety of different ailments, diseases, infections and general aromatherapeutic treatments then I’d recommend you continue reading this article! The more you know, the better and the best way to utilize natural products is to have a broader understanding of how they work and the different ways in which you can use them.
What is Cardamom Essential Oil and How is it Made?
Cardamom essential oil is produced from the seeds of a plant that is similar to that of Ginger – in fact, they belong to the same genus known as Zingiberaceae. There are two types of the seed that commonly grow in nature, namely Green Cardamom (also referred to as True Cardamom) and Black Cardamom.
These occur based on the different regions that they grow in, Green Cardamom originates from the Southern parts of India to Malaysia, whilst Black Cardamom grows from the Northern parts of India to Nepal.
The oil can be derived from either of the seeds, but largely comes from the seeds of Green Cardamom. It is basically a concentrated form of the seeds and packs a more potent phytochemical and nutrient punch than the seeds do, which makes it highly effective as an alternative form of medicine for a variety of health issues.
In fact, the oil contains a wide variety of phytochemicals such as Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol, Alpha-Pinene and Borneol amongst others as well as minerals such as calcium, sulfur and phosphate. These are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and for encouraging cell and tissue growth.
These naturally occurring compounds are widely sought by healers and pharmaceutical companies alike and are often used as active ingredients in pharmaceutical medicines and other skin and healthcare products.
The oil is created in a process known as steam distillation and is one of the oldest methods of distillation known to man. However, just because the process is well-dated, doesn’t mean that it is ineffective. In fact, quite the opposite is true. This process is still regarded as the best means of producing essential oil as it results in the highest grade of oil with the least impurities.
In the steam distillation process, the Cardamom seeds are gathered and pressed to help release the natural oils contained within. The seeds are then added to a vat of boiling water and left for roughly 5-6 hours. In the vat, the steam produced by the boiling water extracts the essential nutrients and phytochemicals from the organic matter via the evaporation process.
This results in a nutrient-rich vapor which holds all the active chemicals of the organic matter. The vat is connected to a separate chamber which is at a lower temperature than that of the vat. The difference in pressure results in the vapor passing into this chamber, where it cools and slowly condensates to form droplets. As these droplets gather at the base of the chamber, they form the liquid that we know as the essential oil – essential because it shares the same essence as the original matter.
There are other methods of distillation that are commonly employed when mass-manufacturing the oil, but these generally involve the use of harmful hydrogenated and petro-based chemicals through a method of soaking. Industrial grade alcohol is also used to extract the chemicals from the organic matter.
Although this is generally considered a cheaper option, the chemicals and alcohol often remains in the finished product (to one degree or another) and can contaminate the oil – making it unsuitable for medicinal use. So always be sure to inquire as to how your oil was distilled if you plan on using it to treat any health related issues or if you have any allergies.
DIY Cardamom Oil Recipe and Guide
Making cardamom oil at home is a bit of tricky process and may take a few tries until you get it right – or until you get the required amount as this recipe tends to produce small amounts of oil at a time. So if you’re not used to DIY projects at home, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right on the first or second try. What you’ll need:
- 1 cup of whole cardamom seeds
- cheesecloth filter
- a piece of string
- cooking pot with a lid
- mortar and pestle
First, ground the cardamom seeds in the mortar and pestle until it’s coarsely ground. Now, fold the cheesecloth layer into 3 sections and place the cardamom in the middle. With the string, tie the ends of the cloth together so that you’re left with something that resembles a tea bag.
Pour distilled water into the cloth and place the stove on medium-high heat. Place the sachet in water and bring it to a boil then let it simmer for roughly 24 hours or until the water reduces to half-an-inch layer in the pot. During this process, oil will form on the surface of the water and you should skim this oil with a cotton wipe and then transfer this oil to a separate jar.
Once you’ve skimmed all the oil off the surface of the water, leave the jar (which will contain a mixture of essential oil and water) on a sunny windowsill for 2-3 days until all the water has evaporated.
The remaining liquid is essential oil and is generally as good as the stuff you’ll buy at a healthcare store, except for the fact that it may contain a slight amount of impurities due to the fact that your kitchen may not be as sterile as you think – it’s still a pretty safe bet that it’ll work and won’t come with any side-effects either.
Cardamom Essential Oil for Hair and Hair Loss
Most of us who are interested in leading a holistic lifestyle, or are simply looking for an alternative way to treat their hair, are generally quite aware of the harmful products that most hair treatments contain.
Whether they’re conditioners, a variety of shampoos, dandruff treatments or leave-in sprays, they contain loads of chemicals that are hard enough to pronounce let alone understand. But a lot of us with sensitive hair types know why they’re looking for another option. Most shampoos will leave your hair feeling dry and brittle over time as well as reducing the color and body too.
The great thing about using essential oil as a form of hair treatment is that it keeps your hair clean and balances the natural oils in your scalp. Also, it rids you of any scalp infections and helps treat dandruff from the root of the problem. This is great news because it means that you can save lots of money in the long run by not having to spend money on costly hair treatments to help restore your hair’s natural qualities (after using a normal shampoo for too long) and can treat your scalp and hair related issues at the same time.
The high content of Linalool and Limonene found in Cardamom oil make it great for relieving your scalp of any dryness and inflammation, the leading cause of dandruff and also helps to rid your hair of any bacteria that may cause or further any infection or itchiness.
The oil also penetrates deeply into your scalp (when massaged into the surface of the skin) and can help to stimulate the flow of blood to the scalp, meaning that your hair gets nourished from the inside.
This will make your hair stronger and restore sheen over a longer period of time than most superficial treatments do. So it’s well worth using on its own or adding to your herbal shampoo – the effects will speak for themselves.
When you consider the fact that the average person loses an average of 50-100 hairs a day, it’s not highly unlikely that you’re bound to suffer from noticeable hair loss in times of stress, if you have a bad diet or simply due to aging and hair type.
One of the most common causes of hair loss in men is male pattern baldness, which is a condition that is common to men either entering or currently in their middle-age, or to those who have a genetic predisposition towards the ailment.
It is generally caused by the buildup of excess testosterone just underneath the surface of the scalp. Over time, the testosterone is converted into a chemical known as 5 alpha-reductase. This chemical blocks the pores of your scalp, starving your hair of important nutrients and chemicals that they need to grow and stay healthy.
The high amount of sesquiterpenes contained in the essential oil of cardamom extract helps to suppress the formation and ultimately reduce the buildup of the 5 alpha-reductase, thus stimulating hair growth and allowing for healthier hair in general.
The oil also helps to moisturize your scalp, which means that it can reduce the effects of inflammation that cause conditions like dandruff as well as giving your hair more natural volume. For maximum effect, I recommend heating 6-8 drops of the oil in 3-4 drops of carrier oils such as clary sage and rosemary (or both!) and then allowing it to cool (so that it’s warm, but not hot).
Rub the oil mixture into your scalp and wrap your head with a towel or plastic sandwich wrap and allow the oil to sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Then simply rinse the oil from your hair and condition as usual. Do this twice a week and you’ll start noticing the effects after just one or two weeks.
Antispasmodic Benefits of Cardamom Essential Oil
The oil has been regarded as a strong antispasmodic treatment for a long time and can be used in a variety of ways to help treat muscle spasms, pains and cramps in general.
The oil is effective when ingested orally and can help to relieve stomach cramps and general spasms quite well. For this method, I recommend adding roughly 3-4 drops of the oil to a luke-warm glass of water, along with a few drops of lemon juice and some mint. It may be an acquired taste – but it works.
The oil can also be applied topically to help relieve muscle pain, cramps, spasms and even the pain caused by arthritis. It’s especially effective when massaged well into the affected area and helps to penetrate deeply into the muscle and tissue.
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities of the oil help to reduce and relieve the pain, whilst also soothing and relaxing the muscle fibers, giving your body the time it needs to heal.
Cardamom Essential Oil Antiseptic Benefits Explained
This is one of the main reasons why I love this spice so much, and why I think the essential oil is such a valuable commodity to have around the home.
The oil is safe to use both internally and topically and is totally non-toxic, unlike many of the harmful antiseptic creams and solutions you’ll find off the shelves of your supermarket or pharmacy. It can be applied to a healing wound to help kill off and keep away any harmful bacteria that may cause further infection allowing the wound to heal better over a shorter period of time.
Here’s Why Cardamom Essential Oil is Worth Trying https://t.co/EpPGzkH2ft
— DewdropsDragonflies (@DewdropsandDrag) October 20, 2017
The oil also allows you to disinfect your mouth when used as a mouthwash (or in the process of oil pulling) as well as eliminating bad breath. You can also add it to food or certain drinks to help keep them free of bacteria, as well as cleanse the body of any germs that might make you ill, thus strengthening your overall health and allowing your immune system to work at maximum capacity.
Cardamom oil is effective but isn’t as costly as many pharmaceutical treatments are and also has none of the downsides that are generally associated with pharmaceutical products. So it’s well worth a try.
What Does Cardamom Essential Oil Smell Like?
Cardamom is a very rich smelling spice and tends to rank 3rd on the list of most expensive spices under vanilla and saffron largely because it’s so expensive to produce. As a spice and an oil, cardamom has a mildly spicy, warm scent that is altogether nutty, aromatic and sweet.
The easiest way to describe cardamom essential oil is that it’s woody and has a scent that is quite similar to fennel or anise.
Can You Diffuse Cardamom Essential Oil?
As with any essential oil, we highly encourage you to blend cardamom with an appropriate carrier oil before use either topically, internally or even when diffusing – so the short answer is yes, you can diffuse cardamom oil.
Besides the standard carrier oils such as olive, canola and coconut oil, I would recommend using Ylang Ylang, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Clove, Orange, Rose and Bergamot for topical use and diffusing. If you plan on using the oil internally for medicinal purposes, I would recommend using Ginger, Eucalyptus or Rosemary oil as suitable carriers to help boost the natural healing properties of the Cardamom oil.
Anyone who is interested in leading a healthier lifestyle should seek to include more essential oils in their daily lifestyle and no essential oil collection would be complete without Cardamom oil. It’s a highly effective natural product with tremendous healing properties and works out to be a lot cheaper than buying the spice in its raw form – as it’s so costly.
If you’ve never used cardamom essential oil before, then the best time to start is now as you’ll be able to reap the rewards even from the first use.