Cardamom seeds (Cardamom, U.S.P.) are the dried ripe seeds of Elettaria Cardamomum, Maton (N.O. Scitamineae), a plant growing wild in the forests of Southern India, and cultivated on the Malabar coast, and in Ceylon. The plant produces small, inferior, capsular fruits, which are collected as they ripen, and dried. They are then trimmed, graded, and often bleached to improve their appearance. The following are the chief commercial varieties of cardamom fruits:—
- Mysore, forming the bulk of the imports; these are ovoid in shape, vary from 10 to 20 millimetres in length, and have a pale cream, nearly smooth, surface.
- Malabar; these are smaller, shorter, and plumper, and often not so smooth as the foregoing.
- Mangalore, which closely resemble Malabar fruits, but are usually almost globular, rather larger, and often have a roughish, almost scurfy coat.
- Ceylon wild or native, the fruits of E. Cardamomum, var. β major, Smith; these are a regular article of commerce, and are readily distinguished by their elongated shape, shrivelled appearance, and rather dark greyish-brown colour.
The B.P. description agrees most closely with the Mysore variety, though Malabar or Mangalore cardamoms might be accepted. The fruit is of a pale buff or yellowish colour, oblong or ovoid in shape, shortly beaked, triangular in section, and three-celled, each cell containing two rows of small seeds which frequently remain compacted together. The ripe seeds are of a very dark reddish-brown colour, and very hard; they are about 3 millimetres long, irregularly angular in shape, and transversely rugose, with depressed hilum and raphe. Each seed is covered with a thin transparent colourless aril, which becomes more evident when the seed is moistened. Cardamom seeds have an agreeable aromatic odour and taste, which is not shared by the pericarps. The epidermis of cardamom seeds consists of long narrow tapering cells, with walls about 3μ to 4μ thick, and is separated by two rows of parenchymatous cells from a single continuous layer of large oil-cells. The inner integument of the seed-coat consists of a single row of prismatic brown cells, about 40μ long and 20μ wide, the walls of which are so strongly thickened as to leave only a small triangular cavity at the apex, which is filled with a nodule of silica. The cells of the perisperm are packed with minute starch grains, and in the centre there are one or more small prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate; the endosperm contains protein granules, but no starch. Ceylon wild cardamom seeds are distinguished by their bitterish taste, different odour, and microscopically, by the thicker walls of the epidermal cells (4.5μ to 6.0μ). Other varieties come from time to time into the market, but are not regularly imported. Powdered cardamom seeds may be identified microscopically by the characteristic cells of the epidermis, and of the inner (sclerenchymatous) integument, as well as by the masses of minute starch grains from the perisperm, with embedded crystals of calcium oxalate. The powdered fruit is distinguished from the powdered seed by the presence of spiral vessels and elongated sclerenchymatous cells and fibres, as well as abundant empty parenchymatous cells. Powdered Ceylon wild cardamom seeds may be identified by the greater thickness of the walls of the epidermal cells. Powdered cardamom seeds of good quality yield from 3.5 to 5.5 per cent. of ash (B.P. and U.S.P., not more than 4 per cent.).
Constituents.—The chief constituent of cardamom seeds is volatile oil, of which they contain from 2 to 8 per cent.; they also contain much starch.
Action and Uses.—Powdered cardamom seeds, on account of their carminative properties, are administered with purgatives, as in Extractum Colocynthidis Compositum, and with other aromatics, as in Pulvis Cinnamomi Compositus, and Pulvis Cretae Aromaticus. Tinctura Cardamomi Composita is the most commonly used cordial and flavouring agent. Combined with cinnamon, cloves, caraway, and ginger, cardamom seeds are also contained in Tinctura Carminativa, a more aromatic preparation than the compound tincture of cardamoms.
Dose.—to 2 grammes (10 to 30 grains).
- Elixir Cardamomi Aromaticum, B.P.C.—AROMATIC ELIXIR OF CARDAMOMS.
- Compound tincture of cardamoms, 25; with compound spirit of orange, solution of carmine, syrup and distilled water to 100. Dose.—2 to 8 mils (1/2 to 2 fluid drachms).
- Tinctura Cardamomi, B.P.C.—TINCTURE OF CARDAMOMS. 1 to 10.
- Used as a carminative in dyspepsia. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (1/2 to 1 fluid drachm).
- Tinctura Cardamomi, U.S.P.—TINCTURE OF CARDAMOM.
- Cardamom, in No. 30 powder, 20; alcohol (49 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Average dose.—4 mils (1 fluid drachm).
- Tinctura Cardamomi Composita, B.P.—COMPOUND TINCTURE OF CARDAMOMS.
- Cardamom seeds, bruised, 1.25; caraway fruit, bruised, 1.25; raisins of commerce, freed from seeds, 10; cinnamon bark, bruised, 2.5; cochineal, in powder, 0.63; alcohol (60 per cent.), 100. Macerate for seven days and complete the maceration process. Compound tincture of cardamoms is used as a carminative and flavouring agent. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (1/2 to 1 fluid drachm).
- Tinctura Cardamomi Composita, U.S.P.—COMPOUND TINCTURE OF CARDAMOM.
- Cardamom fruit, 2.5; Saigon cinnamon, 2.5; caraway fruit, 1.2; cochineal, 0.5; glycerin, 5; alcohol (49 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Average dose.—4 mils (1 fluid drachm).
- Tinctura Carminativa, B.P.C.—CARMINATIVE TINCTURE.
- Cardamom seeds, bruised, 6.85; stronger tincture of ginger, 6.25; oil of caraway, 1.04; oil of cinnamon, 1.04; oil of cloves, 1.04; alcohol, to 100. Used as a stimulant and carminative in flatulent dyspepsia. Dose.—1 to 6 decimils (0.1 to 0.6 milliliters) (2 to 10 minims).
The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.