Essential Oil Profile: Cardamon

by Amelia E. Hoard, RN


Common Name: Cardamon

Synonyms: cardamom, cardomon

Latin Binomial: Elettaria cardamomum

Family: Zingiberaceae

Production Method: steam distilled from ripe dried, crushed seed

Countries of Origin: A native of tropical Asia, now cultivated in Sri Lanka, India, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Typical Constituents: 1,8-Cineole (26.5-44.6%), a-Terpinyl acetate (29.2-39.7%), Linalyl acetate (0.7-7.7%), [+]-Limonene (1.7-6.0%), Linalool (0.4-5.9%), a-Terpineol (0.8-4.3%), Sabinene (2.5-3.8%), Terpinen-4-ol (0.9-3.2%), [E]-Nerolidol (0.1-2.7%), b-Myrcene (0.2-2.2%), a-Pinene (0.6-1.5%), Geraniol (0.3-1.1%)

Description of Oil: Colorless to pale yellow, warm-spicy, balsamic-woody aroma.

Description of Plant: A perennial herb with lance-shaped leaves on long sheathing stems.

History, Folklore and Myth: Used extensively as a spice and digestive aid.  Used in Chinese and Indian medicine for pulmonary disease, fever, digestive and urinary complaints. Cardamon was brought to Europe by the Greeks in the 4th century BC.

Properties and Uses: anorexia, colic, dyspepsia, flatulence, halitosis, indigestion, vomiting, mental fatigue, nervous strain

Precautions and Contraindications: Essential oils high in 1,8-Cineole can cause central nervous system and breathing problems in young children. Do not apply to or near the face of infants or children.

Other Interesting  Information: Cardamon is also widely used a fragrance in soaps, cosmetics and perfumes.



Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Lawless, Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Element Books. 1995.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.


Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005

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