The Lesser Cardamom Plant.
AN East Indian plant, in many respects resembling our reeds. It grows to ten or twelve feet high. The stalk is an inch thick, round, smooth, green, and hollow, but with a pith within. The leaves are half a yard long, and as broad as a man's hand: besides these stalks, there arise from the same root others which are weak, tender, and about eight inches high; these produce the flowers which are small and greenish, and after every flower one of the fruits, called the lesser cardamoms, which are a light dry hollow fruit, of a whitish colour, and some what triangular shape; of the bigness of an horse-bean, and of a dry substance on the out side, but with several seeds within, which are reddish and very acrid, but pleasant to the taste.
These fruits are the lesser cardamoms, or, as they are generally called, the cardamom seeds of the shops. They are excellent to strengthen the stomach, and assist digestion. They are also good for disorders of the head, and they are equal to any thing against colics: they are best, taken by chewing them singly in the mouth, and their taste is not at all disagreeable,
The two other kinds are the middle cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum var. major -Henriette), a long fruit very rarely met with, and the great cardamom, otherwise called the grain of paradise (Aframomum granum-paradisi -Henriette), much better than the cardamoms.