Elettaria Cardamomum, Maton. The dried ripe seed, recently removed from the capsules, yielding not more than 5 p.c., acid-insoluble ash.

Habitat. Malabar, cultivated. India, Mountains, 750-1,500 M. (2.500-5,000 degrees) elevation; ceylon, annam, Siam.

Syn. Cardam, Sem., Cardamomum, U.S.P. 1900, Malabar, Ceylon or Bastard Cardamom; Br. Cardamomi Semina, Cardamom Seeds, Cardamomum (Minus) Malabari (am)-cum; Fr. Cardamomes, Petit Cardamome; Ger. Fructus (Semen) Cardamomi (Minoris), Malabar-(Malabarische) Kardamomen, Kleine Kardamomen.

El-et-ta'ri-a. L. Fr. Elettari -- i.e., native name of plant in Malabar.

Car-da-mo'mum. L. Fr. Gr...., thistle, + ..., blameless, classic name.


Perennial herb; stems green, 2-4 M. (6-12 degrees) high, tapering, shining, covered with leaf-sheaths; leaves .3-.8 M. (1-2 ½ degrees) long, 2.5-12..5 Cm. (1-5') broad, lanceolate, flower stalk from stem base lies on the ground; flowers, in rainy season, Jan.-May, greenish-white; rhizome tuberous, woody, fibrous roots below, scars above; fruit capsule, ellipsoidal, triangular, 10-20 Mm. (2/5-4/5') long, 6 Mm. (1/4') broad, pale buff, striate, 3-locular, pericarp thin, leathery, nearly tasteless. SEED, 10-20, mostly agglutinated into groups of 2-7 by adhering membranous aril, oblong-ovoid, irregularly 3-4-sided, 3-4 Mm. (1/8-1/6') long; convex on dorsal surface, strongly longitudinally grooved on ventral side, coarsely tuberculated, reddish-gray brown; odor aromatic; taste aromatic, pungent.


brownish--endosperm and perisperm cells filled with starch grains .001-.004 Mm. (1/25000-1/6250') broad, or with 1-more calcium oxalate prisms, fragments of seed-coat and spiral tracheae, few bast- fibers. Seed constitute 75 p.c. of the fruit, keep best in the pericarp, from which they should only be removed just prior to using. Solvents: diluted alcohol; boiling water. Dose, gr. 5-15 (.3-1 Gm.).

Elettaria Cardamomum; A, leaf with ligule, b; B, bracts; C, flower, natural size; D, flower with calyx and corolla-tube partially removed; E,F,G, capsule form; H, seed with arillus, a; J, cross-section of seed 8 times enlarged; K, longitudinal section 5 times enlarged; p, perisperm; em, embryo; e, endosperm.



Rare -- those of various varieties and allied species taken from the pericarp; ENTIRE FRUIT -- with orange seed, green coffee, etc.;


Starch, sodium carbonate, ginger (recognized by its larger starch grains), etc.


Plant grows wild but mostly by cultivation in Malabar (W. Mysore) and Ceylon, on spaces cleared in mountain forests affording shade, or on betel-nut plantations, and yields the fourth year and many thereafter. Fruit is gathered mostly in dry weather, Oct.-Dec., preferably prior to maturity to minimize splitting, then dried artificially on tiers of trays in curing houses (brownish), or better in the sun, guarding against rain and excessive heat exposure, that cause the moist seed to swell and rupture pericarp (yellowish); the slower the drying, the less the splitting. Bleaching is effected by exposing to sulphur fumes, or to dew and sunlight, the finest by washing with alternating solutions of lathery soap-berry and astringent acacia pods, finally drying in the sun. Value is determined by size, color, plumpness, smoothness (the best being creamy white, smooth, silky) and are assorted through sieves into 4 kinds: (a) Shorts, 12 Mm. (1/2') long, 6 Mm. (1/4') broad, plump, heavy; (b) Mediums, 18-25 Mm. (3/4-1') long, 6 Mm. (1/4') broad, paler buff, finer ribbed; (c) Longs, 25-31 Mm. (1-1 1/4') long, 4 Mm. (1/6') broad, rarely imported; (d) Tiny, least desirable. There are several varieties: 1, Mysore (Ceylon-Mysore, Alleppi), shorts, best, bleached and unbleached (greenish), exported from Alleppi, Calicut; 2, Malabar, shorts, mediums, high grade, preferred by some, exported from Ceylon, India (Bombay), brown, striated; 3, Madras, usually mediums, pale buff, exported from Madras, Pondicherry; 4, Mangalore; 5, Ceylon Mangalores, round valuable. The Ceylons are the wild-grown fruits of Ceylon, and the Siam of Cochin, Annam, Tonquin (Tonking) combined; the shorts of all varieties are best and most desired; imported in chests, 60-100-200 pounds (27-46-91 Kg.). The shelled seed, deteriorating rapidly, should never be used.


Volatile oil 5 p.c., fixed oil 10 p.c., potassium salts 2.5 p.c., starch 3 p.c., nitrogenous mucilage 1.8 p.c., yellow coloring matter .4 p.c., ligneous fiber 77.3 p.c., manganese .8 p.c., ash 6-8-15 p.c.

Oleum Cardamomi, N.F. -- This volatile oil (mostly in the testa) distilled from the seed, is a colorless, pale yellow liquid, characteristic, aromatic, penetrating, somewhat camphoraceous odor of cardamom, and persistent, pungent, strongly aromatic taste; soluble in alcohol, 70 p.c. alcohol (4), sp. Gr. 0.935, dextrorotatory; contains terpinene, CH16, possibly dipentene, a body of the composition CHO (terpineol?), acetic and formic acids; also extracted by ether, giving a more durable oil mixed with fixed oil, this latter being easily separated.  The distilled oil readily deteriorates, and should be kept cool, dark, in small well-stoppered, amber-colored bottles.

Ceylon cardamom: a, capsules; b, transverse section of capsule; c, seed, d, section of seed with embryo; magnified.



1. Tianctura Cardamomi. Tincture of Cardamom. (Syn., Tr. Cardam.; Fr. Teinture de Cardamome; Ger. Kardamomentinktur.)


15 p.c. Similar to Tinctura Veratri Viridis, page 104; menstruum: diluted alcohol. Dose, 3j-2 (4-8 cc.).

2. Tinctura Dardamomi Composita. Compound Tincture of Cardamom. (Syn., Tr. Cardam. Co.; Fr. Teinture de Cardamome composee; Ger. Zusammengesetzte Kardamomentinktur.)

Cardamom seed: transverse and longitudinal section, magnified 5 diam.

Malabar cardamom: a, short, b, medium; c, long.


2 p.c. Macerate, for 3 or more days, with frequent agitation, in a stoppered container, in a moderately warm place, cardamom seed 2 Gm., cinnamon 2.5, caraway 1.2, cochineal .5, with 75 cc. of mixture of glycerin 5 cc. + diluted alcohol 95, finishing with diluted alcohol q.s. 100 cc. Dose, 3j-2 (4-8 cc.).

Preps.: 1. Elix. Euphorb. Co., N.F., 5 p.c. 2. Elix. Gentian. Glycerin., N.F., 6 p.c. 3. Elix. Tarax. Co., N.F., 3 p.c. 4, Elix Viburn. Prun., N.F., 7.5 p.c. 5. Syr. Eriodict. Arom., N.F., 6.5 p.c.

3. Extractum Colocynthidis Compositum, 5 p.c. 4. Tinctura Gentianae Composita, 1 p.c. 5. Tinctura Rhei, 3 p.c. 6. Pulvis Aromaticus, N.F., 15 p.c. 7. Pulvis Cretae Aromaticus, N.F., 2 p.c. 8. Tinctura Aromatica, N.F., 2 p.c. 9. Tinctura Rhei Dulcis, N.F., 1 p.c. OIL: 1. Spiritus Cardamomi Compositus, N.F., 10 p.c.

Preps.: 1. Elixir Cardamomi Compositum, N.F., 1 p.c. 2. Elixir Gentianae, N.F., 1.5 p.c. 3. Elixir Glycerophosphatum Compositum, N.F., 1/5 p.c. 4. Elixir Glycyrrhizae Aquosum, N.F., ½ p.c. 5. Liquor Pancreatini, N.F., .35 p.c.

2. Spiritus Vanillini Compositus, N.F., 1 p.c.

Unoff. Preps.: Fluidextract. Infusion, 5 p.c., 3j-2 (30-60 cc.).


Carminative, stomachic, stimulant, aromatic, condiment.


Adjuvant or corrective to cordials, tonics, purgatives, flavoring liquors, cakes, breath, etc.

Allied Plants

1. Elettaria ma'jor,Ceylon Cardamom. -- About 40 Mm. (1 3/5')( long, triangular, prolonged into a beak 15 Mm. (3/5') long, brownish-gray color.

2. Amo'mum Cardamo'mum, A. ve'rum and A. Globo'sum, Round Cardamom. -- Siam, Java, China, globular-ovate. A. Aromat'icum, Bengal Cardamom, 9-winged at apex. A. Zanthoi'des, Wild or Bastard Cardamom, A. Max'imum, Java Winged Cardamom, 9-12-winged from base to apex, and A. Gra'num-paradi'si, Grain of Paradise. Fruit resemble cardamom seed, several varieties, used for ginger.