Greater Cardamom Benefits and Medicinal Uses

Greater (Larger) or Nepal cardamom is a very commonly used spice in India. It is the dried seeds of plant Amomum subulatum. This leafy plant grows in swampy places of Sikkim, Darjeeling, Assam, Bhutan and Nepal. Like some other member of plant family Zingiberaceae (ginger, turmeric, alpenia), it is a medicine as well. For medicinal purpose the seeds of plant are used. In Ayurveda, it is considered one that improves appetite and digestion, reduces mucous and vata/wind and cures oral diseases.

General Information

Latin Name: Amomum subulatum

Family: Zingiberaceae

Vernacular names

  • Sanskrit: Bhadra, Bhadraila
  • Bengali: Baara aliach
  • English: Greater or Nepal cardamom, Big cardamom
  • Gujarati: Elaicho, Mothi Elichi
  • Hindi: Bari elachi, Badi elaichi
  • Kannada: Dodda Yalakki, Nepdi Elakki
  • Malayalam: Valiya Elam, Perelam
  • Marathi: Mothi Elayachi
  • Oriya: Bada aleicha, Aleicha
  • Punjabi: Budi Eleichi
  • Tamil: Periya Elam, Beraelam, Kattu Elam
  • Telugu: Pedda Elakulu
  • Urdu: Badi Elaichi, Heel Kalan
  • Siddha: Peria Elam, Kattu Elam, Beraelam
  • Unani: Heel Kalaan, Qaaqule Kubaar
  • French: Cardamome German: Kardamom Italian: Cardamomo, Cardamone Spanish: Cardamomo Burmese: Phalazee

Plant Habitat

Greater cardamom is native to eastern Himalayas and cultivated in moist and swampy side of mountain streams and hilly slopes, at an elevation of 765 to 1675 metres. In India it is cultivated in Sikkim, Bengal, Darjeeling, Assam, Bhutan, North-eastern states and Tamil Nadu.

Plant description

Tall, perennial, evergreen plant with rhizomes, about 90-100 cm height;leaves oblong lanceolate, 30-60 cm in length, shoots formed by long sheath-like stalks encircling one another;spikes globose, very dense and shortly peduncled;spikes areglobose, very dense and shortly peduncled;flowers white in colour;Fruit capsules 2.5 cm long, irregular obcordate, echinate, trilocular, dark red-brown in color, containing severalaromatic seeds in each cell which held together by a pulp.


Seeds contain a chalcone (cardamonin), a flavonoid (alpinetin), petunidin-3, 5 diglucoside and leucocyanidin glucocide, aurone glycosid subulin. The essential oil (about 2.5%) contains 1, 8-cineol as the major constituents.

Cineole gives the seeds distinct aroma and medicinal properties.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action on body

Greater cardomom has following Ayurvedic properties:

  1. Rasa (Taste): Tikta/Bitter, Katu (pungent)
  2. Guna (Characteristics): Laghu/Light, Ruksha/Dry, Tikshna/Sharp
  3. Virya (Potency): Ushna/Hot
  4. Vipaka (Post Digestive Effect): Katu/Pungent

Action: Deepana, Kapha-har, Vata-har, Rochaka, Mukhshodhak

Dose of greater cardamom for medicinla purpose:1-3 gram in powder form.

Ayurvedic medicines that contain greater cardamoms are Sarivadysava, Kalyanka Ghrita, Manasmitra Vataka.

Medicinal uses of Large Cardamom

Greater cardamom is a spice with medicinal properties. It has antioxidant, stimulant, stomachic, antispasmodic, appetizer, alexipharmic and astringent properties and is useful in diseases of mouth, indigestion, biliousness, abdominal pains and respiratory ailments.

Mouth blisters

Make paste of Greater cardamom. Mix the paste with honey and apply on blisters.

Tooth ache, gum problem

Prepare a decoction for gargling. Boil 4-5 Greater cardamom in one glass water and use this for gargling and mouth rinsing.


In asthma, oral intake of Greater cardamom oil (10-20 drops) is useful.


Boil 1-2 Greater cardamom in 150 ml water till it reduces to half. Filter and drink to get relief from hiccups.

Digestive weakness/impaired digestion

Prepare a powder by mixing equal amount of Greater cardamom powder and dry ginger powder/Sunthi. Take this powder in dose of 1 teaspoon.

Abdominal pain, gas

Take one gram Greater cardamom powder with black salt.

Dysuria, painful urination, Mutrakriccha

Prepare a powder by mixing Greater cardamom powder and Misri. Take 2-3 grams of it.


Prepare a powder by mixing Greater cardamom powder, Misri and Safed Musali. Take this powder in dose of 2-3 grams.

Deranged Vata, Vata disorder

Take 1-2 grams, Greater cardamom powder thrice a day.

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