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Cardamom for Cats and Dogs


Cardamom is known as the queen of spice with a unique aroma and flavour. It's one of the oldest used spices in the world along with black pepper (- the king of spices) and has been used in everything from flavouring food to use in beauty treatments and perfumes. Cardamom is sold by weight and is the third most expensive spice in the world as it's generally only grown in tropical climates, primarily India and South East Asia but Guatemala is the biggest producer of cardamom.

Cardamom is part of the ginger family and is a popular choice in nutritional or herbal medicine and cardamom has been used extensively in both Chinese and Ayurveda medicine for over 4000 years for it's curative properties. Its been referenced in ancient Sanskrit texts, used by Babylonians, ancient Greece and Rome. Cardamom is steeped in history and was used in ceremonies as a symbol of luxury and pride. Cardamom is often seen as a cross between cinnamon and nutmeg because of it's diverse range of flavour and aroma. 

There are considered to be six species in the genus from different country locations but of these there are two main varieties of cardamom. Brown or black cardamom (genus Amomum subulatum) is considered to be used more for culinary purposes, whilst green cardamon (genus Elettaria) is typically used for healing remedies. 

The main difference between the two is the level of maturity. Green cardamom is selected before full maturity and black cardamom is matured and the seeds extracted from the pods for use. The seeds contain around 30 different elements but both green and black cardamom are used for healing purposes. Traditional Chinese Medicine tends to favour the use of black cardamom more than green, but this may be a cost issue, as green cardamom is seen as the elitist of the two and fetches a higher market price. Try to avoid using the white cardamom for your pet as it's a bleached version of green cardamom.

Like ginger and turmeric, cardamom has some amazing healing benefits such as helping ease joint pain, depression and helps with digestive issues but in traditional Chinese medicine, cardamom is considered to be most effective working with the stomach, spleen and kidneys. 

Real food or complete nutrition from real food is the core foundation of good health and herbs help when a boost is needed to keep the body in balance and harmony. Natural remedies and healing take time to work in harmony with the body to eliminate the cause of the problem. They are not a quick fix like your over the counter or prescription drugs that often mask the root cause of the issue the outward symptoms are presenting. 

Benefits of Cardamon 

It has a lot of antioxidant effects so can help fight the negative impact of free radicals but it also has many anti-fungal and anti-bacterial benefits. Its use has a long list as it's known to help with the following:

  • Digestive issues
  • Helps with halitosis as it cleanses the palate.
  • Immune booster due to cardamoms antiviral and anti-fungal effects 
  • Helps with depression
  • Weight loss
  • Joint pain
  • Cancer prevention and fighter
  • Help reduce inflammation
  • helps with blood circulation and health
  • Helps with detoxing, cleansing and stimulation of the liver
  • Helps open the lungs for better breathing by reducing any inflammation and attacking infections.
  • Helps with asthma
  • Great for warming the body especially for those pets and humans that feel the cold
  • Helps with blood pressure
  • Helps cure constipation and dysentery
  • Helps treat mouth infections
  • Helps detoxify and stimulate the kidneys
  • Helps regulate the spleen
  • Used against snake bites!
  • Heart disease, helps lower blood pressure and reduce clotting
  • Arthritis
  • Neuro-degenerative diseases
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urinary tract infections

Is Cardamom Safe for Cats & Dogs and How to Give Cardamom to Your Cat and Dog? 

Yes, cardamom is safe for cats and dogs if used as recommended by your holistic vet. Cats ingesting fresh cardamom is much less studied but they can work with the healing benefits of the essential oil so this would be the way to go if you're not comfortable adding cardamom to your cat's food. 

Herbs when used correctly are full of healing goodness, gently work in harmony with the body for healing and are safe to use as they are free of any chemical side effects. If your dog or cat is on any prescriptive medicine then please talk to your vet before incorporating plant remedies into your pet's diet. 

There are a variety of ways you can use cardamom with your cat or dog.
  • Use a high quality cardamom essential oil
  • Make a tea and mix it with their food
  • As part of a recipe for a treat
  • Mixed in with recipes such as bone broths
  • As part of a combination of healing herbs recommended by your herbalistic vet.

Recommended Dosages For Cats and Dogs

Cardamom essential oil

Depending on whether you're using a candle diffuser or a more sophisticated diffuser, mix 1 drop of essential oil with about 120ml of water. Please ensure your dog or cat has the ability to work with the oil by being able to move closer or further away from the diffuser and that they can escape altogether if they feel they don't need to work with the oil. Trust the instincts of your pet, they know what their doing and they know their own needs.

Make a tea and mix it with their food

The seeds can be crushed into a fine powder and just a very small pinch sprinkled onto your pet's food. You can also make a tea and mix this into your pet's food. Again you just need a very small amount and the smaller the pet the less you'll need. Make the tea (boil a pan of water, reduce the heat to low, add in a few pods and let them seep for about 10 minutes). Leave it to cool, then pour a small amount over your pet's food or leave it as an alternative drinking bowl for your cat or dog to self select to drink. Typically for a human you'd be using around 1 teaspoon of crushed pods (drained off) to about every 250ml of water so your dog and cat will need much much less than that.

Mixed in with recipes such as bone broths

Again you're looking to add in a pinch of freshly ground cardamom to your bone broth. For recipes click here.

Side Effects of Cardamom for Your Cat or Dog. 

There are no known side effects of cardamom but as with any natural remedy or pharmaceutical drug, there are potential side effects if over-used. However, if used as directed by your holistic vet or as suggested in recipes then this is a great healing herb to add to your pet's diet. 

Any benefits far outweigh the negative side effects and ultimately if used correctly, it will have a far less negative impact on the body than using pharmaceutical drugs. 

Cardamom is an ancient medicine that has been used for thousands of years in ancient civilisations such as India and China as a healing remedy well before massed produced and heavily marked drugs became wildly available and so easily administered. Its safe use will come down to you ensuring you don't go overboard with giving this to your pet. Also it's best to rotate the use of herbs so their plant energies can work on different elements in the body for balance.

In extremely rare cases your pet may have an allergic reaction and if this occurs then stop using immediately. Also it's not recommended to give to your pregnant pet. 

Traditional or ancient medicine tended to combine cardamon with other healing herbs to balance out the effects of cardamom and the other herbs across the energy and organs of the body. It's worth using that knowledge of old when you're using cardamom or speaking to your herbalist to find a combination of herbs that works for your individual pet, especially if you're using cardamom to treat an illness.

Grow Your Own Cardamom Plant 

This is much easier to grow if you can find a plant as opposed to growing it form seed or if you're starting with a section of root. You can grow cardamom in a large pot that allows the roots to expand or you can plant it outdoors. If you don't live in a temperate climate then don't plant your cardamom outdoors as it will never survive the winter. 

Given that it's an expensive spice Cardamom will make a great addition to your indoor garden or balcony and it's a great healing herb to have on hand. If well cared for the cardamom plant can last for years. In ideal conditions it can grow to about 5 feet in height and can expand across the root base to upto about 4 feet, hence the need for a large pot to allow the root to nicely grow.

The cardamom plant likes partial sun, not direct sunlight and not a drafty area. It loves plenty of water but you don't want to over water causing the roots to become soggy. Just don't leave the soil to dry out and every so often ensure you mist the leaves with water. In terms of the soil you want a partially sandy soil that is full of good healthy organic matter.

If you want more harvest, then once the plant has a number of decent stems growing, you can begin to split out the plant and root. This will also help with giving each plant more room for the root to grow and flourish and long term give you more harvest. 

Growing time

It takes a number of years for the plant to begin flowering and producing fruit - the seeds, typically around 3 years. The cardamom pods with the famous seeds inside will begin to show once your plant is in flower. Depending on the variety of cardamom you planted, the pods can be picked whilst green or left for longer to mature. Remember if you're using this as a remedy then it's recommended to harvest the green pods from the genus Elettaria variety. Or ideally grow both varieties!

The pods will need to be dried out for a number of days, ideally in a warm dry place without direct sunlight or use a dehydrator. Once dried you want to store the dried pods in an airtight container away from sunlight. Don't open the pods until you need to use the cardamom seeds for healing as they will contain the highest level of healing properties when they are scraped directly from the pod at the time as opposed to months or weeks beforehand. 

When you're ready to use the seeds from the green pods, use a pestle and mortar to grind then into a fine powder then use the amount you need for your recipe of choice. The leaves of the plant and the green outer shell of the pod can be used to make some great flavoursome teas and can be used in cooking to add flavour to your sauces or marinades. If you're working with the mature black or brown cardamom pod, then just use the seeds.

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Natural lifestyle, naturally health, naturally thriving!!


Cardamom: The Genus Elettaria (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants - Industrial Profiles) 1st Edition
by P. N. Ravindran (Editor), K.J. Madhusoodanan (Editor)
Cardamom by Sylvia Kapsandoy
Agronomy and Economy go Black Pepper and Cardamom by K.P. Prabhakaran Nair.
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Tuesday, July 05 2022

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