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Cardamom Seed
Elettaria cardamomum

Plant Origin: Guatemala
Method: Hydrodiffusion from seeds
Cultivation: Unsprayed (organically grown but not certified)
Chemical Family: Monoterpene ester
Aroma: Rich, spicy, sweet, woody

Key Constituents from GC/MS Analysis: Batch # CAM-102
1,8-cineole 36.77%
alpha terpinyl acetate 36.59%
sabinene 4.28%
linalool 3.07%
limonene 2.90%

Children? Don't apply on or near the face of infants or young children. See Safety information below.
Pregnancy/Lactation? Suitable
Cardamom seed essential oil was one of the most prized spices in ancient Greece and Rome and is mentioned in one of the oldest known medical records dating from 16th century B.C.

Cardamom has antispasmodic (neuromuscular), expectorant and antiparasitic (worms) properties and is used for lung and sinus infections, indigestion, senility and headaches.

Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D wrote in The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils that 1 drop in a glass of water can be used for digestion and to ease emotional upset. Alternatively, a drop or two in a capsule with carrier oil taken before eating may stimulate digestion, help with ulcerated colitis, divericulitis, constipation and so on (Dr. Eric Zielinski).

Cardamom shows a significant decrease in the lipid peroxidation level of the liver and increased glutathione levels. These findings indicate the potential of cardamom as a chemopreventive agent against two-stage cancer. PubMed Abstract: Chemopreventive Effects of Cardamom on Chemically Induced Skin Carcinogenesis

Anti-septic - pulmonary disorders, coughs, bad breath
Anti- spasmodic - colic, neuromuscular
Carminative - flatulent dyspepsia
Digestive - sluggish digestion, nausea, digestive headaches, heartburn, diarrhea, (three drops in honey after a meal promotes digestion)
Stimulant - fatigue
Vermifuge - parasites

Application Suggestions (See Essential Oil Usage for more information and a dilution chart)
Topical: Dilute with a carrier oil and apply as desired. Do not apply to or near the face of infants or children - see Safety note at the end of the page. When tested at 4% dilution on 25 volunteers, Cardamom was neither irritatin or sensitizing (Tisserand).

Inhalation: Diffuse or use in a nasal inhaler.

Internal: Cardamom is suitable for internal use within safe parameters if such use is deemed appropriate. We feel that internal use is rarely *needed* and should only be used with respect for how concentrated the oils are. HEO does not advocate internal use of essential oils without appropriate knowledge and understanding of how to administer, for what purpose, how much, which essential oils, safety concerns and so on. In our experience, essential oils are generally more effective used topically with proper dilution or inhaled. Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D. notes that "French aromatherapy literature contains many references to using oils orally." He goes on to note that "generally 1 drop is always enough when ingesting essential oils." A potential toxicity hazard could occur when untrained people use essential oils orally and ingest too much. Keep in mind that while medical doctors or health care practitioners may prescribe essential oils for internal use, they are trained and experienced in the safe application of essential oils. It is not a matter of using "French aromatherapy" or "British" methods, it's a matter of experience and appropriate application. Click here for information about internal usage.

Schnaubelt notes that Cardamom is suitable to take 1 drop in water to help digestion and ease emotional upset.

PubMed Article: Chemopreventive Effects of Cardamom on Chemically Induced Skin Carcinogenesis is Swiss Albino Mice

Hopewell Essential Oil blends with Cardamom

1. I used Cardamom EO in Coconut Oil for a form of Vicks. I slapped it on my chest and feet. Kept me from coughing during the night. - Jessie

Cardamom is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing.

Cauton: Do not apply to or near the face of infants or children. Cardamom is high in 1,8-cineole. Essential oils high in 1,8-cineole can cause CNS and breathing problems in young children, and should not be applied to or near their faces under ten years of age (Tisserand, pages 656-657, 273). Tisserand writes: "Any oil with 40% or more 1,8-cineole should not be applied to the face of infants or children or otherwise inhaled by them" (page 109). Appropriately diluted for the child, the blend will fall well-within the range of safe use, as it would contain far less than 40% 1,8-cineole. Regarding inhalation/diffusing, Tisserand writes: "For children of 5 years old or less, direct inhalation should be avoided. Direct inhalation includes inhaling essential oils from the hands, a cotton ball, a nasal inhaler, a bowl of hot water or similar. Indirect, or ambient inhalation, is safe for young children, and includes any method that vaporizes essential oils into the air (page 658).”

Avoid contact with the eyes and other sensitive areas. Essential oils are both lipophilic and hydrophobic. Lipophilic means they are attracted to fat—like the membranes of your eyes and skin. They are also hydrophobic, meaning they do not like water. Flushing with water will only send the essential oil back to the eye's membranes. Applying a carrier oil will create another fat for the essential oil to be attracted to other than the membranes of the eyes or skin. We’ve not known this to cause permanent injury or long-term discomfort, but if you feel concerned, please call your health care provider.

Davis P., Aromatherapy An A-Z, C.W. Daniel Company Ltd, 2000.
Essential Oil Desk Reference, Essential Science Publishing, 2009.
Rose J, 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, Frog Ltd, 1999.
Shirley and Len Price, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Third Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2008.
Schnaubelt, Kurt, The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, 2111, page 133.
Tisserand, Robert; Young, Rodney, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, Elsevier Health Sciences UK 2nd Edition 2014, pages 232, 273, 656-658.