Sweet and spicy almost like bitter-lemons. The seed are enclosed in husks (hulls), and should not be removed from the almost odorless hulls until immediately prior to distillation. The so called 'green' cardamom, e.g., 'Green Aleppy,' which gives a high yield of essential oil, is preferred as distillation material.
Cardamom is an almost colorless or pale yellow to light brownish liquid. It darkens when exposed to daylight. The odor is warm spicy, aromatic (the most 'aromatic' of all the oils from 'aromatic' seeds according to Arctander). At first penetrating camphoraceous cineole like or somewhat medicinal, reminiscent of eucalyptus. Later, becoming balsamic woody, increasingly sweet and almost floral on the dryout. The odor is extremely tenacious with a delightful, warm spiciness and balsamic floral undertone.
History & Myth:
Cardamon is one of the oldest essential oil known. In the reports of Valerius Cordus dated 1540, cardamom oil is described and its distillation is outlined.
Long used as a condiment and medicine in India and was generally thought to have a good effect on the digestive system. The Egyptians thought it rather nice to use in perfumes and incense and they also chewed the seeds to keep their teeth white.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Cardamon has long been described as a Qi tonic, not only warming and invigorating to the lungs, spleen and nerves, but also having an effect on the spirit or mind similar to that of Basil, removing listlessness and depression often found in chronic Qi deficiency conditions.
Main constituents are: Cineole (Ketone), Terpinylacetate, Terpineol, (Alcohol), Borneol, Limonene, Sabinene, and Terpinene (Terpenes).
Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Aperitif, Aphrodisiac, Carminative, Digestive, Diuretic, Stimulant, Stomachic, Tonic.
Mind & Spirit:
Uplifting, refreshing an invigorating aroma which warms the senses and is ideal when there is a feeling of weakness or fatigue.
Known to be particularly helpful with digestive problems especially of nervous origins. Cardamom has a reputation as an aphrodisiac which may be due to its tonic effect on the body possibly dealing with a low sexual response. It is said to have been a remedy for impotence for some time.
Cardamom will not only impart spiciness, but also a warm, sweet note which fits into floral bases such as muguet and rose. Coriander oil is an extremely fine modifier for Cardamon oil in perfumery. The oil imparts warmth in Oriental perfume bases, chypres and face powder perfumes.
Blends well with:
Bergamot, olibanum, ylang-ylang, labdanum products, nerol, cedarwood derivatives, etc.
External Use Only.
Sensitive skins should be aware it may cause an allergy.
Do NOT use undiluted on the skin.
Keep away from Children & Pets.
S. Arctander ~ Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin
S. Battaglia ~ The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy
W. Sellar ~ The Directory of Essential Oils