Dr. Dean

Does Cardamom Have Any Health Benefits Or Risks?

Posting Date: 12/02/1999

The People's Pharmacy Visits Dr. Dean

Mark: I love cardamom seeds; they have a great menthol flavor. I eat about half an ounce per day, not for any health reason but just because I love them. The only noticeable change they've made in my life is that my wife is annoyed by the cardamom pods all over the car.

Do you know of any positive or negative health effects of eating cardamom seeds?

Joe Graedon: A half an ounce per day is a lot of cardamom. We think of these Ayurvedic herbs from India as seasonings for our food, when they actually do have pharmacological effects.

For example, we got a letter from someone who wrote that both boswelia, resin from a tree in India, and cardamom had a "magical" effect on her back problems. She was taking major doses of methoprednisone following back surgery for inflamed nerves. She said that within half an hour of switching to boswelia and cardamom her back felt better. Other people have told us much the same thing.

Dr. Dean: Oh, I've got to cry anecdote, here.

Joe Graedon: It's an anecdote. Absolutely. So, I don't have any more to tell you about the health effects of cardamom, Mark, but leaving the shells behind is having a negative effect on the health of your marriage.

Terry Graedon: Right. You need to be more tidy, Mark.