Cardamom is a spice with an intense, slightly sweet flavor that some people compare to mint. It originated in India but is available worldwide today and used in both sweet and savory recipes. The seeds, oils and extracts of cardamom are thought to have impressive medicinal properties and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
Cardamom may be helpful for people with high blood pressure. In one study, researchers gave three grams of cardamom powder a day to 20 adults who were newly diagnosed with high blood pressure. After 12 weeks, blood pressure levels had significantly decreased to the normal range. The promising results of this study may be related to the high levels of antioxidants in cardamom. In fact, the participants’ antioxidant status had increased by 90% by the end of the study. Antioxidants have been linked to lower blood pressure (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Researchers also suspect that the spice may lower blood pressure due to its diuretic effect, meaning it can promote urination to remove water that builds up in your body, for example around your heart.
The compounds in cardamom may help fight cancer cells. Studies in mice have shown that cardamom powder can increase the activity of certain enzymes that help fight cancer. The spice may also enhance the ability of natural killer cells to attack tumors. In one study, researchers exposed two groups of mice to a compound that causes skin cancer and fed one group 500 mg of ground cardamom per kg (227 mg per pound) of weight per day.
After 12 weeks, only 29% of the group who ate the cardamom developed cancer, compared to over 90% of the control group. Research on human cancer cells and cardamom indicate similar results. One study showed that a certain compound in the spice stopped oral cancer cells in test tubes from multiplying.