Herbs of the Holyland by Nissim Krispil

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Common name:


Synonym name:

Hebrew name:


Scientific name:

Elettaria cardamomum



Arabic name:

הל الهيل

perennial plant
1.5-3 m
Flowering color:
Flowering period:
Growing areas:
Originally cardamom is grows in moist areas in South India and Sri Lanka. It is also been grown for commercial use in South East Asia and Guatemala.
The cardemom is an herbaceous perennial plant from the Zingiberaceae family. Its Tall stems covered with sheath. Inflorescence stems rising from the base of the main stem and they are bearing small white or light green flowers. The flowers edges are decorated with blue, yellow, purple lines. 
Cardamom seeds are used in the folk medicine to treat cough, phlegm and to cure tuberculosis. They are also used as a treatment to belch and hiccup; gases accumulate in the stomach, to stop bleeding from the uterus and strengthen the potency. 
 Treatment for belch and hiccups:  Cook 7 cardamom fruits in a liter of water about 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the decoction and drink until it helps. 
A remedy for cough, hiccup and burp:  boil half a teaspoon of ginger mixed with 2 cardamom fruit in water (quantity equivalent to a cup) approximately 3 minutes, sweeten with honey, let it cool for about another 3 minutes and drink it. 
Whole fruits or seeds of cardamom are used as a spice that improves the taste of coffee. The spice is also used for soups, cookies, cakes and pies and apple pie, minced meat, vegetables and liqueurs. Also as an important ingredient in a mixture of spices, that is known in the name Hawaigh, and hawaigh is one of the ingredients that build up the spice curry. 
Already at ancient times cardamom was a marketable spice. 
In ancient medical books of India, it is noted that cardamom is a good cure for urinary tract disease and for weight loss. In the first century AD Rome had imported huge quantities of cardamom from India, where it grows wildly. At that time cardamom was recommended as a remedy to ease the digestion for those who ate too much. Assaf ben Berechiah , a very famous Jewish doctor from the sevens century, frequently praises the cardamom and says about him: "He holds the stomach, if it spread on the forehead, it will be softer , and if it used as a bandage to hard boils it will soften it, and it benefit to eyes and intestine patients.
In the arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, cardamom is very popular spice. When a host wants to give special attention to his guest he will cook the coffee with cardamom. 
Yemenite Jews use the cardamom as a spice for coffee and as an important ingredient in cooking meat and soup, which is known by the name 'Hwaieg'. They also use it as an important medicinal plant for: regulating intestine function, prevention of nausea and vomiting, against kidney stones and those who suffer from loss of appetite. 
Babylonian Jews recommended patients who suffered from kidney stones to spice their foods with cardamom. They also told that cardamom is effective treatment for belch, hiccup and gases accumulate in the abdomen, to stop bleeding from the uterus and strengthen virility.