• Name : Brihadela
  • English Name :Greater Cardamom
  • Scientific Name :Amomum subulatum



This is a perennial herb grown in Sikkim, Darjeeling, Assam, Bengal and Bhutan.


Morphology Description (Habit):

Greater Cardamom is a perennial herb with subterranean rhizomes and approximately 100-150 aerial leafy shoots. Leaves are glabrous on both sides with a prominent mid-rib. Inflorescence is a condensed spike with yellowish perianth. Each spike has 10-15 fruits. Fruit is round or oval shape, capsule with reddish brown colour. Each capsule is trilocular with many seeds. Its seed pods have a strong camphor-like flavor.


Parts Used:




Large cardamom contains 8.6% moisture, 5% total ash value, 1.5% ash insoluble in acid, 3.5% water soluble ash value, 4.88% alcohol extract, 4% non-volatile ether extract and 91.4% of total solid. It contains 1.95 to 3.32% of essential oil having characteristic aroma and possesses medicinal properties. The major constituent of large cardamom essential oil is 1,8-cineole. The monoterpene hydrocarbon content is in the range of 5 to 17% of which lamonene, sabeinene, and pinenes are significant components. The terpinols comprise approximately 5 to 7% of the oil.1


As per Ayurveda:

           Rasa (Taste)                 : Pungent, Bitter

           Guna (Property)           : Light, Dry, Sharp

           Veerya (Potency)         : Hot

           Vipaka (End Result)      : Pungent


Pharmacological Actions:

As per Ayurveda, Brihadaila is Vatakaphahara. The primary pharmacological actions of the aromatic seeds are summarized as under:


Respiratory System: 

i. Exerts antitussive activity, ameliorates cough, cold and congestion.


Digestive System: 

i. This carminative spice aids in digestion, allays nausea and vomiting.

ii. Exerts gastroprotective and anti-ulcer activities.2

iii. Possesses hepatoprotective activity.


Cardiovascular System : 

i. Large Cardamom is an excellent cardiac stimulant.

ii. Exerts hypolipidemic action.3


Reproductive System: 

i. Large cardamom is a reproductive stimulant and menstrual regulator.


Urinary System : 

i. The seeds exert diuretic activity.


Others : 

i. Large Cardamom is an efficient antioxidant.4

ii. Exerts antimicrobial,5 analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities.

iii. Freshens the breath.

iv. Possesses anticaries activity.6



Indigestion, nausea and flatulence

Sore throat, cough and cold

Oligomenorrhea (Scanty menstruation)

As a general tonic for the respiratory, digestive and circulatory system



1. Bisht VK, Negi JS, Bhandari AK, et al. Amomum subulatum Roxb: Traditional, Phytochemical and Biological Activities ? An Overview. African Journal of Agricultural Research. 2011; 6(24): 5386-5390.

2. Jamal A, Farah, et al. Antiulcerogenic activity of Elettaria cardamomum Maton. and Amomum subulatum Roxb. seeds. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge. 2005; 4(3): 298-302.

3. Verma SK, Jain V, Sigh DP. Effect of Greater cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb.) on blood lipids, fibrinolysis and total antioxidant status in patients with Ischemic Heart Disease. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease. 2012; 2(2): S739-S743.

4. Kikuzaki H, Kawai Y, Nakatani N. 1,1-Diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical-scavenging active compounds from greater cardamom (Amomumsubulatum Roxb.). Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology (Tokyo). 2001 Apr;47(2):167-71.

5. Agnihotri S, Wakode S. Antimicrobial activity of essential oil and various extracts of fruits of greater cardamom. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2010 Sep;72(5):657-9.

6. Aneja KR, Joshi R. Antimicrobial activity of Amomum subulatum and Elettaria cardamomum against dental caries causing microorganisms. Ethnobotanical Leaflets. 2009; 2009(7).

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