Cardamom, a name rather vaguely applied in commerce to the aromatic seeds of various East India plants, of the natural order zingibe-racece. The of Dioscorides and amomi uva of Pliny is probably the round cardamom of Sumatra, Java, etc, the fruit oiamomum car-damomum (Willdenow's Linn.). The variety from Madagascar is known as the great cardamom, but other varieties from Java and Ceylon are also called by the same name by some authorities. The cardamom of the pharmacopoeias, and the best known in this country, is that from Malabar. It is the product of the renealmia cardamomum of Roscoe, a perennial plant with a tuberous root, growing wild in the mountains, and cultivated by the natives. The seeds are exported in their capsules, which are also aromatic, but are not used in medicine. Cardamom seeds are valued for their aromatic and pungent qualities, and are much used to flavor various medicines and cordials. The natives of the East use them as a condiment. One variety, known as grains of paradise, Guinea grains, and Malagueta pepper, is imported in seeds from Guinea, and also from Demerara, where the negroes have introduced and now cultivate it.
The plant is probably the amomum Melegueta, of Roscoe, though one of the varieties found in the English markets is from the A. grana paradisi of Sir J. E.
Amomum grana paradisi.
Smith. The negroes use the seeds as seasoning for food, and in Africa they are highly esteemed among spices. Their flavor is highly pungent and peppery. In England they are extensively used for giving a factitious strength to adulterated gin and other liquors, and frequently appear as one of the ingredients of the so-called "gin flavorings." (See Gin.) They are also administered as medicine in veterinary practice. Cardamom enters into the composition of the puhis aromaticus, and is also used in medicine in the form of tincture.