Elettaria cardamomum

Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton (Zingiberaceae)

(2n = 48, 52)

Syn : Cardamum officinale Salisb.; (non-Ammomum cardamum L. 1753); Alpinia cardamum Roxb.

English names: Cardomum, Lesser cardamum.

Sanskrit names: Ela, Trutih.

Vernacular names: Ben: Chhoto elach; Guj : Elachi; Hin : Chhoti elaichi; Kan : Yellaki; Mal: Cittelum, Elam; Mar: Elachi veldodi; Tam: Elam; Tel: Yelakkayalu.

Trade name: Chhoti elaichi.

Traditional use: MATSYA PURANA : a constituent of an antivenom drug.

AYURVEDA : seeds abortifacient, alexiteric, aromatic, acrid, sweet, cooling, carminative, cardiac tonic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant,stimulant, and tonic, beneficial in asthma, bronchitis, strangury, haemorrhoids, renal and vesical calculi, halitosis, anorexia, dyspepsia, gastropathy and burning sensation.

SIDDHA : dried fruit, seed and stem-bark are used to prepare drugs cell 'Elam', 'Elarici' .

UNANI: preparations used as antidote to poison, astringent, exhilarant and in nausea.

Modern use: Essential oil from seed: antimicrobial; oil is used in several pharmaceutical preparations.

Phytography : Perennial leafy herb, 1.5-3.0 m high; rootstock thick, horizontal; leaves 30-65 cm by 5-10 cm, distichous, elliptic or elliptic-Ianceolate, glabrous above, softly pubescent below, acuminate at apex, narrowed or obtuse at base; flowers white, striped with violet, in elongated, flexuous, bracts, panicles arising from the rootstock; capsules oblong or subindehiscent, marked with fine vertical ribs; seeds black, arillate.

Phenology: Flowering and Fruiting: throughout the year, mainly in late autumn and winter.

Distribution: Found in rich, moist forests of the hilly tracts, up to 2000 m; commercially cultivated in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat. Ecology and cultivation: Plant of tropical moist climate; wild and cultivated.

Chemical contents: Seed : essential oil, terpenoids.

Remark: Fruits and seeds are used as masticator.