Cardamom is a spice that comes from the fruit of the Elettaria cardamomum, commonly called green cardamom or true cardamom (yes, this means that there are other, not true forms of cardamom! One of the many reasons to make sure you know where your spices come from!). Since the 4th century BC, the seeds of the cardamom plant have used as a spice and a medicine. Cardamom has been called in the “queen of spices,” in part because it is the third most expensive spice by weight in the world! It’s surpassed by only vanilla and turmeric. With its unique flavor, cardamom can be used as a spice with everything from meat dishes (like hamburgers) to my standard Paleo apple pie. Because it comes from a fruit, cardamom does not fit into the autoimmune protocol. When following the AIP, it is recommended that spices derived from berries and fruits be eliminated initially until your autoimmune disease is in remission. If you are considering adding foods back into your diet, you can try adding cardamom and other fruit or berry spices back in, but I advise you to be careful! For those who don’t follow the autoimmune protocol, cardamom is totally acceptable under a regular Paleo diet.
Apart from being a unique and elegant spice, cardamom is also considered to be a medicinal herb! Including cardamom in some of your cooking might actually merit some slight benefit to your health. Therapeutic doses of cardamom are known to lower blood pressure in people with stage 1 hypertension and increase the amount of antioxidants in circulation! One tablespoon of cardamom packs a hefty mineral punch, though, containing 80% of your daily needs of manganese as well as trace amounts of iron, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and potassium.
You can get cardamom in the baking aisle of your local grocery store, or you can get it from Amazon if you want to make sure that you get a good quality, organic spice!