TRUE CARDAMOM ESSENTIAL OIL (ELETTARIA CARDAMOMUM):
Botanical Name: Elettaria cardamomum
Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled
Part Typically Used: Fruits / Seeds
Perfumery Note: Middle/Base
Strength of Initial Aroma: Spicy, woody, rich, sweet.
A perennial, reed-like herb, Cardamom grows wild and is cultivated in India and Ceylon. Southern India and Sri Lanka. Indian cardamom is slightly smaller, but more aromatic. Today it also grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Indo China, Tanzania, El Salvador, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Although India is the largest producer of cardamom, only a small share of the Indian production is exported because of the large domestic demand. The main exporting country is Guatemala, where cardamom cultivation has been introduced to less than a century ago and where all cardamom is grown for export.
Cardamom is one of the world’s very ancient spices and also the third most expensive one next to saffron and vanilla.
In the 11th century in India cardamom was included in the list of ingredients for panchasugandha-thambula or “five-fragrance betel chew” in the Manasollasa or Book of Splendour. It was also included in recipes from the court of the Sultan of Mandu dating from about 1500. These recipes include sherbets and rice dishes flavoured with cardamom.
True cardamom, also known as green cardamom, became an article of trade with South Asia in the last thousand years when Arab traders brought it into widespread use. Exports from the Malabar Coast, close to where cardamoms grew wild, were described by the Portuguese traveller Barbosa in 1524.
The content of essential oil in the seeds is strongly dependent on storage conditions, but may be as high as 8%. The oil is composed almost exclusively of oxygenated monoterpene derivatives.
Cardamom seeds contain about 2% of fixed oil dominated by C16 fatty acids (oleic and palmitic acid).