(From and because it participates of the nature of both). The common or lesser cardamoms, called also elettari, rardam. minus. The lesser cardamom seeds are the produce of the amomum cardamomum Lin. Sp. Plant. 2. But later authors have referred it to another species, the a. repens of Wildenow, vol. i. page 9. Nat. order scitamineae.
Cardamoms are a dried pod with seeds, brought from Malabar in the East Indies: the best come from Co-magene, Armenia, and the Bosphorus. They grow also in Arabia. These pods are divided internally into three cells, in each of which are two rows of triangular seeds, of a brownish colour on the outside, and white within. The plant grows in the form of our reeds.
The lesser cardamoms have short triangular husks, scarce half an inch long. The seeds freed from these husks are a grateful aromatic, warm, but not fiery, and not subject like pepper to create immoderate heat. The husks should only be separated when used; for the seeds lose much of their flavour if taken out. They give out all their virtue to spirit, and nearly so to water. In distillation with water, a large quantity of essential oil rises; it is pungent to the taste, and smells strong of the seeds; the remaining decoction is bitter and mucilaginous, but void of the flavour and warmth of the seeds. A spirituous tincture, when evaporated, leaves the virtues of the seeds almost wholly in the extract, which is more grateful than the seeds themselves. They are considered as gentle stimulants of the stomach, cordial, carminative, and antispasmodic; without that irritation and heat which many other of the spices are apt to produce. All the spirituous preparations are more agreeable than the watery.
The tincture of cardamoms is made by digesting three ounces of the bruised seeds in a quart of proof spirit for eight days. It possesses all the virtues of the seeds; and among all the aromatics there are none that answer so well, in general, as this tincture, for rendering mineral waters and other saline liquors easy and agreeable in the stomach. The dose is one drachm to three.
Compound tincture of cardamoms, formerly tinc-titra stomachica, is made of smaller cardamom seeds husked, carraway seeds, cochineal, of each powdered two drachms; cinnamon bruised, half an ounce; raisins, stoned, four ounces; proof spirit, two pints; digested for fourteen days, and strained. This is often ordered by itself, or in draughts, from two drachms to half an ounce, joined with aether, and tinct. opii, in gouty and other spasmodic affections of the stomach and precor-dia.cardamomum majus. The greater cardamoms. The amomum grana paradisi Lin. Sp. Pi. 2. Their pods are about an inch long, triangular, and with two rows of seeds in each. The husks are tough, and thicker than those of the lesser kind. They grow in Java and the East Indies.
Cardamomum medium, grows in pods of a round figure. These two, though of the same nature, are weaker than the first kind, and consequently disused.
See Cullen's Mater. Medic. Woodville's Medic.
Cardamomum piperatum. See Paradisi grana.