Health Benefits of


Cardamom or Elettaria cardmomum is used as a spice, culinary herb, essential oil, and medicinal ingredient in pharmacological formulations. [1] These lantern-shaped pods originated from Southern India but are also cultivated in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Tanzania. [2] Subsequent sections discuss the topical health benefits of cardamom.


Cardamom for Atopic Dermatitis

Cardamonin is an important chemical found in cardamom that suppresses the production of cytokines by the helper T cells (Th-2) and maintains the integrity of connective tissue of the skin. Cardamonin also stimulates the gene expression of NRF2, a protein known for its anti-inflammatory properties in the body. Both these anti-inflammatory effects inhibit atopic dermatitis. [3]

Anti-inflammatory Activity of Cardamom

The anti-inflammatory activity of cardamom is attributed to hexacosene, terpinol, and linalool. These substances improve edema, inhibit the production and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and also prevent the infiltration of inflammatory cells in the damaged tissues. However, the cytotoxic activity of cardamom formulation is directly proportional to the concentration of its constituents in the body. [4]


Figure 2 demonstrates the effects of cardamom and turmeric on the concentration of pro-inflammatory cytokines. As per the graphs, cardamom has more potent activity against the cytokines.

Anti-oxidant Activity of Cardamom

Cardamom is enriched with numerous phytochemicals including indole-3-carbinol that have chemopreventive properties. Terpenoids and polyphenols exhibit anti-inflammatory properties by suppressing the activity of inflammatory enzymes and the production of inflammatory mediators. Hexane extract of cardamom increases the activity of anti-oxidation enzymes and protects DNA and proteins from oxidative damage. It also reduces lipid peroxidation as well as suppresses the production of free radicals and reactive oxygen species. [5]

Cardamom Enhances Skin Permeability

Cardamom oil contains an essential ingredient known as cyclic monoterpene that is responsible for enhancing skin permeation for effective delivery of pharmacologic formulations. It achieves this effect by altering the skin barrier. Ethanol formulations of cardamom are used for pre-treatment regimens as this makes the skin dry and more permeable. The key ingredient of cardamom oil for this effect is d-limonene. [5]

Antibacterial Activity of Cardamom

Cardamom fruit extract (CFE) and cardamom seed extract (CSE) contain essential substances with antibacterial properties. These suppress the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inhibit the activation of inflammatory signaling pathways. 1, 8-cineol found in both CSE and CFE has antibacterial properties and prevents the formation of biofilm in periodontal infections. [6]


Figure 3 demonstrates the effect of different concentrations of CFE and CSE on the levels of TNF-alpha.