Larger or Greater Cardamom, Nepal Cardamom
Aindri, Sthula ela,
It is native to Arabia and Syria, But is also found
in the Indian market. The Nutmeg cardamomum or the true
Cardamomum majus (Elettaria cardamomum) made its appearance
in the Bombay market in 1885. Up to that time, the only
large cardamomums that were encountered were the Bengal or
Ceylon kinds. It is referred to by Arabian physicians under
the name Hil-Bawa.
It grows wild in the eastern
Himalayas and cultivated in West Bengal, Assam, Sikkim and
Morphology Description (Habit)
It is a tall and perennial herb, with leafy stems. Rhizomes
are creeping and branched, with several erect leafy shoots
and panicles. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, 30-60 cm in
length, glabrous and the tip is acuminate. The spikes are
globose, very dense, and shortly peduncled. Calyx and
corolla tube segments are sub-obtuse, shorter than the tube
and the upper one is cuspidate. Lip is obovate-cuneate,
emarginate, yellowish white and rather longer than the
corolla-segments. Capsules are 2.5 cm long, irregularly
obcordate, echinate, trilocular, dark red-brown in color,
containing several aromatic seeds in each cell and held
together by a viscous sugary pulp. The fruit is
anterio-posteriorly flattened, having 15-20 irregular,
dentate-undulate wings which extend from the apex to
downward for two-thirds of its length. There are three
well-known cultivated varieties in Sikkim.
Cardmonin, Alpinetin1 and Subulin2 were isolated from seeds.
The major constituent of the essential oil from the seeds is
cineol (64.94 %).
There is no adverse effect reported on usage of this plant.
Medicinally, the seeds are credited with stimulant and
astringent properties. It is used in gastrointestinal and
- Planta Medica, 1976, 29, 391.
- Indian J. Chem., 1977, 15B, 814.