Happily Chewing Cardamom Pods, Anything I Should Know?
July 20, 2019 9:07 PM   Subscribe

On a whim am recreationally chomping down on the cardamom pods from the cupboard which I'd long intended for cooking with. Did a very quick search online for dire warnings, etc. Not on any medication, but anyhow what I should know? (assume they fall under the fine-in-moderation rule?)
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Maybe if you're prone to gallstones, or (if you were) on medications?

CRC Handbook of Medicinal Spices: James A. Duke
Contraindications, Interactions, and Side Effects (Cardamom) —
Class 1 (AHP). "Hazards and/or side effects not known for proper
therapeutic dosages" (PH2). No side effects or interactions
reported (KOM). Patients with gallstone should consult a
physician before taking (KOM). Can trigger gallstone
colic (PH2). Fleming et al. give a much longer Commission E
approval list than Blumenthal et al. (who list only dyspepsia in
1998, and dropped it in BGB). There's something very repetitive
about the caveats that a compiler like me is liable to notice.
There are probably a dozen species like this where the Blumenthal
and Fleming et al. templates are parallel to this one case. Good
computer jocks can seek them out. Accentuating the negative,
Rinzler notes that borneol, eucalyptol (= cineole), and limonene
are irritants; limonene is a photosensitizer.
CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs: James A. Duke
So far, cardamom is the richest source of 1,8-cineole in my
database. That can be good, that can be bad. Cineole can enhance
dermal absorption of other drugs, temporarily speeding up
transdermal absorption of topical drugs. But in the long run, it
may nullify this advantage, by inducing detoxification
enzymes. Yes, like hypericin and hundreds of other phytochemicals
eaten dietarily every day, 1,8-cineole induced p450
detoxication. As Blumenthal et al. (1998), in their translation
of Commission E, remind us that cineole induces liver
detoxification enzymes, thereby reducing the longevity and/or
effectiveness of many natural and prescription drugs. Under
myrtle, which contains a theoretical maximum (as calculated in
FNF) of 2250 ppm cineole, Gruenwald et al. (1998) caution that
more than 10 g myrtle oil can threaten life, “due to the high
cineole content” (myrtle contains 135–2250 ppm cineole according
to my calculations, meaning 10 g myrtle would contain a maximum
22.5 mg cineole). Several herbs may attain higher levels of
cineole: bay, beebalm, betel pepper, biblical mint, boldo,
cajeput, cardamom, eucalyptus, ginger, greater galangal,
horsebalm, hyssop, lavender, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, spearmint,
star anise, sweet annie, thyme, turmeric. So, reductionistically,
assuming no synergies or antagonisms or additivities, a
ridiculous assumption, one would assume that any goods (and
evils) accruing to the cineole in myrtle should apply even more
so to those listed above, which, theoretically at least, may
attain higher levels of cineole—some (e.g., cardamom) attaining
levels more than twentyfold higher. Symptoms of this alleged
cineole intoxication may include circulatory disorders, collapse,
lowered blood pressure, and respiratory failure. So, rather than
placing all this under the obscure spice, myrtle, why not put it
under the GRAS cardamom, which can contain up to 5.6%
cineole (theoretical max in my database), compared to a mere
0.225% in myrtle?
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:52 PM on July 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Last time I was in India I purchased a bunch of silver-foil-wrapped cardamom seeds intended for chewing on/eating after a meal as a breath freshener/digestive.

I’m pretty certain that the foil and artificial sweetener are more dangerous than the seeds themselves.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:32 AM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Those weren't fennel seeds, Exceptional_Hubris?

At any rate, there are an awful lot of people who eat some amount of cardamon in most meals; probably not a great idea to eat them by the handful, and I'd probably spit out the pod rather than swallowing it, but chewing a couple pods a day is unlikely to do you any harm.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:29 AM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nah, they were definitely elaichi
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:41 PM on July 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Anecdote: my mother loooooves cardamom, and for as long as I can remember has stolen cardamom pods off others' plates at family meals and chewed and eaten the seeds and pods. She's made it to 65 with no cardamom-related problems that I know of.
posted by altolinguistic at 2:12 PM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nah, they were definitely elaichi

So, those say they are cardamom seeds. Cardamom pods may have additional fibre and other stuff? Apparently chewing them as a digestive after a meal is not uncommon, though, according to that link.
posted by eviemath at 5:50 AM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

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