As a name, cardamom creates confusion in referring to several related plants in the ginger family. Genuine cardamom – known as Malbar or Ceylon cardamom – grows wild in forests at altitudes of 800–1,500 meters, on the Malbar coast of India, and on the island of Sri Lanka. This spice is called true or green cardamom, as contrasted to black, brown, red, or white cardamom, from plants in the Amomum genus.
Cardamom has a prominent place in Indian cuisine and is an often-used ingredient in Nordic baking. Green cardamom is employed in south Asia to treat teeth and gum infections, throat troubles, lung congestion, and digestive disorders, including breaking up kidney and gall stones. Amomum is used in several Asian traditional medicine systems as a tonic, antiseptic, expectorant, and a digestive aid.
Cardamom is high in iron and manganese, and a good source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.