Black Cardamom (Badi Elaichi)
Historically, Black Cardamom (Badi Elaichi) has been used to treat various stomach ailments, common infections, and dental problems. In traditional Chinese medicine, in addition to being a treatment for stomach disorders, this spice is used to treat malaria. It is also chewed as a mouth freshener.
Black cardamom is scientifically named Amomum subulatum. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family. Several species of the genus Amomum are distributed all over the mountainous area from the Himalayas to Southern China. The main production regions are Eastern Nepal, India, and Bhutan. More than 50 percent of the world’s harvest is produced in India.
There is an African variety called Aframomum found in Madagascar, Somalia, and Cameroon, and another pungent form in West Africa called grains of paradise, which has a similar taste and appears sporadically in the Western market.
At least two distinct species of black cardamom occur: Amomum subulatum (also known as Nepal cardamom) and Amomum tsao-ko. The pods of A. subulatum, used primarily in the cuisines of India and certain regional cuisines of Pakistan, are the smaller of the two, while the larger pods of A. tsao-ko are used in Chinese cuisine, particularly that of Sichuan, and Vietnamese cuisine.
The largest producer of the black cardamom is Nepal, followed by India and Bhutan. In traditional Chinese medicine, black cardamom is used for stomach disorders and malaria.In the traditional medicine of India, decoction of Amomum subulatum rhizomes is used in the therapy of jaundice.