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What Is Cardamom Tea?

Cardamom tea.
Cardamom tea may help relieve menstrual pain.
Cardamom tea originated in India.
Crushed, dried cardamom seeds can be used to flavor coffee.
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  • Written By: A. Gamm
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2014
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Cardamom tea is a spice tea that originated in India. It is made from the crushed seeds of the cardamom plant mixed with hot or boiling water. People from India and the surrounding areas use this tea not only for its aromatic flavors, but also for its many supposed health benefits. Often referred to as chai, this tea is often harder to come by in Western markets.

The cardamom tea on its own has a varied and fragrant flavor. Many describe the tea as being citrusy, floral and sweet. It also has undertones of smokiness and aromatic musk. This exotic flavor makes it a popular choice for mixing with other flavors. In fact, cardamom is never the sole ingredient in this tea. All such tea recipes call for additional ingredients, usually being a tea leaf. Cardamom is most commonly paired with black tea leaves.

Cardamom tea is referred to as elaichi chaa in India and is also the main ingredient in chai tea. The tea is not usually served alone; instead, it is typically mixed with black tea, milk or sugar. Other popular spices combined with cardamom tea include: licorice, fennel, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, and even black pepper. Many tea drinkers even combine almost all of these spices at once with the tea.

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Many people drink cardamom tea not only for the taste, but also for the many supposed health benefits. It is a popular drink among many women, because it is said to relieve menstrual pains and discomfort. Since it also can help with nausea and vomiting, many pregnant women prefer to drink the tea during their first trimester. Other cardamom health benefits also include flatulence relief and improved indigestion. The tea also is said to be a detoxifier, especially for excess caffeine usage. Many also believe it helps to relieve heartburn.

As with many herbs and spices, some medical benefits are associated with cardamom tea. One such use of the drink is to fight and even prevent colon cancer. Some studies suggest it may also help people with pulmonary disease. While some research does suggest there may be truth in these benefits, they have not been confirmed.

The cardamom is an evergreen plant from the ginger root family. It has thick rhizomes and pointed leaves. This plant typically has three pods, with approximately 15 to 20 cardamom seeds found in each. The seeds are harvested in October and dried before being crushed for teas.

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strawCake
Post 10

I've drank chai tea at a coffee shop before, but I think I would really like to try and make my own blend at home! I would love to start with a cardamom base and then add other spices and flavors to make my own custom cardamom tea recipe.

I'm going to have to keep my eye out at our local international market next time I go. Now that I have some idea of what cardamom might look like and what I could use it for, it shouldn't be that hard to find some to buy!

SZapper
Post 9

@Monika - I'm with you. As long as I like the taste, I don't really care if it's "authentic" or not. I drink store bought chai tea from tea bags all the time.

I had no idea cardamom tea and chai tea actually offered any kind of health benefits. I just drink it because I like the taste! However, I'm going to pay close attention when I drink it during "that time of the month" next time. I've never noticed whether it helps with cramps or not, so I want to find out if this is true!

Monika
Post 8

I've loved chai tea from the moment I first tried it in a coffee shop! As soon as I tried it and knew what it was, I started noticing chai tea for sale practically everywhere.

Most coffee shops serve chai tea, as well as chai tea lattes (my personal favorite.) Also, the tea aisle in most grocery stores is usually well stocked with different types of chai tea. I know the brand Tazo tea makes several different kinds of chai tea blends that are really delicious!

I'm sure these tea bags from the grocery store aren't quite as good as authentic cardamom tea, but they work just fine for me!

burcidi
Post 7

It's kind of hard to find freshly dried cardamom pods in the US. I usually get mine from international grocery shops that sell Indian or Arabic products. Then, I use a spice and nut grinder to grind it home. That way, I always have fresh cardamom to use.

I add ground cardamom to herbal teas I make. It doesn't have caffeine, so it goes well with green tea, oolong tea, mint tea and chamomile and doesn't keep me up. I use a very light hand with it though- a quarter or half teaspoon of ground cardamom is usually enough. It is a very fragrant spice, so it can overwhelm other flavors and be a bit bitter if I add too much.

burcinc
Post 6

Has anyone seen the film, "The Mistress of Spices?" In this film, it talks about how every person has their own spice, which comforts and expresses them the best. I was really moved by this movie and so when I went to an organic store which sells bulk organic tea and spices, I decided to discover my spice.

I basically looked at and smelled all the different spices, most of which I had never seen before. There was one spice, which smelled unbelievably good to me and I decided then, that this has to be my spice. It was cardamom!

I found out later that cardamom has been a very popular spice for hundreds of years, especially in the Middle East and Asia. Arabs, Indians, Persians, Afghans and many others have been making hot drinks with cardamom. It's also added to foods, especially meat and dessert a lot.

But my favorites are cardamom tea with milk and Arabic coffee with cardamom. Cardamom is said to have testosterone in it, so it's also used as a herbal treatment. It's known for it's soothing and aphrodisiac effects.

turquoise
Post 5

@Mykol-- That sounds almost exactly like the Indian chai I make at home. I learned how to make cardamom chai from my Indian friend and have been drinking it regularly ever since.

I use orange pekoe black tea bags to make it. I boil some black tea, several cardamom pods, a cinnamon stick and a slice of fresh ginger in water on the stove. When it boils, I add some whole milk to it, let it boil again and then strain it into a cup. I sweeten it to taste.

It tastes so good! And it really is great for the stomach. Regular black tea gives me acidity and heartburn but I've never had that issue with cardamom chai. It's just delicious and a treat to have, especially on rainy and cold days.

myharley
Post 4

@honeybees - If you have never tried cardamom tea before, I think you are in for a real treat. There are also many cardamom tea benefits, so you can't go wrong.

I have never used this tea for heartburn issues, but I have found it very helpful for some female problems.

When I was pregnant with both of my kids, this tea helped with my nausea in the morning. I usually woke up with a little bit of nausea, and if I could drink some cardamom tea right away, this really seemed to make a difference.

Now I use it when I am having menstrual pains and cramps. A cup of this warm tea is especially soothing right before bed, or after a stressful day - really just about anytime!

honeybees
Post 3

Has anyone used cardamom tea to help with heartburn?

I have been having a lot of heartburn problems, and am trying to find a natural way to help with the symptoms.

I know there are a lot of over the counter medications for this problem, but all of them have long term side effects.

If I can find a natural solution that takes care of my heartburn without relying on a medication, that would make the most sense to me.

I have never even tasted cardamom tea, but I enjoy lightly spiced things like that. It sounds like it would have a similar taste to ginger tea that I have tried before and really liked.

golf07
Post 2

Chai tea is one of my favorites and I enjoy the taste of the different spices mixed together.

There is a special tea shop I like to shop at, and I always have a hard time narrowing down a few new teas to try.

There are so many benefits from a black or herbal tea, that you are not only getting good taste, but some medicinal benefits as well.

The last time I was at this tea store, I tried some cardamom tea that also had cocoa, almonds and cinnamon. I love the taste of chocolate, and this tea is wonderful.

The combination of cocoa, almonds and spices makes a perfect choice after a meal. This will satisfy my sweet tooth without very many calories.

Mykol
Post 1

There is something calming and soothing about drinking cardamom tea. Whenever I feel like I might be coming down with a cough or cold, I like to make some of this hot tea.

I love my homemade cardamom tea recipe, and think it tastes better than any pre-packaged cardamom teas I have tried.

On the stove I heat some cardamom pods, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Once it is heated through, I strain it, add some milk and honey to taste, and enjoy.

I buy cardamom pods for this tea from the health food store. They will last quite awhile if I keep them in an air tight container, so I always try to make sure I have some on hand when I want to make this tea.

Everything else for this tea I usually always have in my pantry. If you don't have a certain ingredient, you can always substitute for another one of your favorite spices.

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