Exquisitely sweet and spicy, let this delectably rich oil refresh, stimulate and warm your body, senses and soul
Essential information: Renowned for its powerful warming, refreshing and invigorating properties, this pleasingly sweet-scented oil can lift fatigue and confusion, help restore mental clarity, and melt away aches and pains.
Description of aroma: Agreeably warm, sweet and spicy, a little like bitter lemon. Although the aroma maybe slightly astringent straight from the bottle, after a while the scent softens to a full, rich, almost coniferous note.
Ruling planet: None
Properties beneficial to the mind, emotions and spirit: Refreshing, stimulating and uplifting. This oil may help clear confusion, and as it is especially warming to the senses, you may find it helpful when experiencing feelings of mental fatigue, irritation or weakness. It is believed to strengthen the union with other people.
Of interest: This plant has been used in Eastern traditional medicine in China and India for over 3000 years, and is mentioned in the Vedic medical texts. Cardamon was imported via the Middle East into Egypt, Greece and Rome. The Egyptians used it in perfumes and incense, burnt it as an offering to the gods - probably because of its superb aroma - and chewed the seeds to keep their teeth white, while the Romans used it to settle their stomachs after gastronomical feasts, as did the Arabs - who also believed it to be an effective aphrodisiac. It has long been used by the Indian people as a condiment and medicine, and is still used extensively in Europe, Latin America and Middle Eastern countries.
This relatively expensive oil is believed to have been distilled for the first time around 1544, after discovery by the Portuguese. Mentioned by both Hippocrates and Dioscorides in their medical writing, it is current in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia as a specific for flatulent dyspepsia (indigestion with wind.) The alluring power of cardamon is said to increase the strength of all types of unions, including marriage. The ground up seeds are used to make love potions.
Nowadays it is also known to give Turkish coffee and Indian chai tea a warm, spicy flavour. It has been a popular ingredient in eau de colognes and has often been used in Eastern European cooking to disguise the smell of garlic. It belongs to the same plant family as ginger and possesses the same wonderfully warming qualities.
Properties beneficial to the physical body: Cardamon is considered especially helpful for numerous digestive concerns, particularly of a nervous origin, and also has a diuretic effect helpful with urinary tract disorders. It's warming qualities help chills and muscle aches and pains, especially menstrual, and it is also useful for bronchial problems and headaches. Although it has a reputation as an aphrodisiac, there is no real evidence that cardamon has a physiological effect, although its tonic and stimulating properties may act indirectly, gently invigorating the body and possibly dealing with low sexual response and loss of libido.
Scentsual blending suggestions: Cardamon blends well with coriander, frankincense, galbanum, geranium, juniper, lemon, myrtle, pine, rosewood and verbena.
Alternative suggestions for use: An excellent bath oil - light, refreshing and invigorating. Add a drop to the coffee filter before brewing for a rich, spicy blend. It is reputed to be an effective remedy for gas from eating too many bananas!
Essential safety precautions: May cause an allergic reaction if applied to sensitive skins, although according to aromatherapist/author Patricia Davis, there is no evidence that cardamon is a skin irritant, but she suggests using all spicy oils in small amounts. Caution is advised when using alongside sedative drugs, as its stimulating properties may counteract their effect. It is not advisable to use it with high blood pressure or heart problems.
Do not use essential oils undiluted or take internally without the guidance of a qualified practitioner. The information contained here is for general interest and is not intended to replace medical diagnosis or treatment