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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.




AMOMUM
aka Bastard Cardamom, False cardamom, Grains of Paradise, Tavoy Cardamom
Amomum xanthiodes
[SHA REN]
Also: (A. compactum, A. subulatum, A. aromaticum, A. krervanh, A. maximum syn A. dealbatum)



A. xanthiodes
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A tender tropical perennial member of the ginger family with reedy stems and orchidlike flowers. There are several species of Amomum which are used in similar manner to Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). This variety was mentioned in Chinese medicine during the Ming dynasty (1368-1654).

CONTAINS: Comphoraceous volatile oil (includes Borneaol)

PROPAGATION: By division as new growth appears.
NEEDS: Rich soil in part shade and requires warmth, moisture and humidity. Potted specimens may be bothered by spider mites if kept inside.
HARVEST: Seeds [SHA REN] of ripe fruit. Used in decocotions and for flavoring.

USES

MEDICINAL:
Aromatic and warming.
Stimulates appetite, relieves indigestion, controls nausea and vomiting (has been used in nausea of pregnancy), digestive problems, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Oil has been used in infusions and decoctions.

CULINARY:
Used as a substitute for true cardamom.



OTHER VARIETIES of AMOMUM

Bengal Cardamom
(A aromaticum)
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Found wild in northeast India but cultivated from the Himalayas to northern Vietnam. The fruits are chewed with betel nut and the seeds used as seasoning.



Cambodian Cardamom
(A. krervanh)
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Native to Cambodia and Thailand. The seeds used as seasoning.



Java Cardamom
(A. maximum syn A. dealbatum)
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Grows wild in moist teak forests in Java but is also cultivated. The leaves are fragrant when crushed. The young shoots and old leaf stems are peeled and the inner portion eaten raw. The young flowers and immature fruits are cooked with rice. The sweet-sour pulp around the seeds is eaten raw. The seeds are used for seasoning.



Round Cardamom
(A. compactum syn A. Kepulaga)
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Native to Java and used by the Chinese, Malays and Indonesians. The leaves have a strong turpentine odor. The young shoots are cooked and eaten with rice. The fruit is used to stimlulate gastric activity, to prevent vomiting and for flatulence. The fruit is also chewed as a cold preventative. The fruit and seeds are used as a food seasoning and chewed to sweeten the breath.





©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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