82. Cardamomi semen.—Cardamom seed. Cardamom.

Fig. 46. Cardamomum. The dried seed recently removed from capsules of Eletta'ria Cardamomum (White et Maton). (Pam. Zingiberaceae.)

BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—Rhizome fleshy-fibrous. Stem 6 to 9 feet high. Leaves lanceolate, pubescent above, silky beneath. Flowers borne on scapes; anthers 2-lobed. Capsules 3-celled, 3-valved.

HABITAT.—Malabar; cultivated in India.

DESCRIPTION OF FRUIT.—Triangular-ovate, from 12 to 37 mm ( ½ to 1 ½ in.) long, with flat, ribbed sides, in the center of which are longitudinal furrows marking the positions of the cell-partitions; valves three, opening longitudinally at the rounded angles; central placenta.

The pericarp is of a yellowish or buff color, leathery, and nearly tasteless. Internally 3-celled, each containing from 5 to 7 reddish-brown, irregularly angular, rugose seeds, having an aromatic odor and taste; these seeds form 75 per cent. of the fruit in the best varieties. The inert pericarp is rejected in making preparations. The seeds are mostly agglutinated in groups of from 5 to 7, the individual seeds are oblong ovoid in shape 3- or irregularly 4-sided convex on the dorsal surface, longitudinally grooved on one side, about 3 to 4 mm. in length, externally reddish-gray to brown, coarsely tubercled, and of ten with adhering portions of the membraneous aril moderately hard but easily crushed, odor aromatic, taste aromatic and pungent. Seeds may be kept in the capsules until wanted for use.

Powder.—Greenish-brown, consisting chiefly of coarse angular fragments of cells of the reserve layers and seed coat.

Endosperm and perisperm of seeds filled with compound starch grains fragments of seed coat with dark brown stone cells, which are polygonal in surface view and about 0.020 in diameter.

Fragments of spiral tracheae with accompanying bast fibers which are very slightly if at all lignified, relatively few or absent.

VARIETIES.—Malabar, the choicest, plump, light, and buff color; Aleppo, mostly short and greenish. These two kinds are mostly imported into the United States. Besides these, there are Madras cardamom, oblong, alternated above, pale in color; Ceylon, from Elettaria major, 1 ⅗ in. (40 mm.) long, triangular, prolonged into a beak, dark gray and brown. This latter variety is of inferior flavor. Round cardamom, from Amomum cardamomum of Siam and Java, and A. globosum and A. aromaticum (Bengal cardamom) are known; also winged Java cardamom, from A. maximum. This latter variety has from 9 to 12 wings from the base of the apex, but the Bengal has 9 wings near the apex.

Powder.—Pale brownish-gray (of seed). Characteristic elements: (Powder of whole fruit.) Parenchyma of pericarp, thin-walled with prismatic calcium oxalate crystals; the pericarp valueless as an aromatic; parenchyma of endosperm with oil, proteid granules and starch, spherical or angular, simple or compound (1 to 4 µ in diam.); seed coat with dark brown stone cells (15 to 20 µ in diam.), inner wall thickened; pericarp has bast fibers very slightly lignified; outer epidermal cells elongated (20 to 30 µ in diam.), tangential walls thickened; oil cells with suberized walls; Ceylon differs from Malabar in containing trichomes and in the measurements of the elements.

CONSTITUENTS.—The pericarp is almost inert, consisting chiefly of lignin. The seeds abound in a fixed oil (10 per cent.) and a volatile oil (4.6 per cent.), consisting of terpene, diterpene, and terpineol, with rhombohedric masses of albuminous matter, gum. Ash, not exceeding 8 per cent.

Powder (of seed).—Characteristics: See Part iv, Chap. I, B.

ACTION AND USES.—Aromatic, stimulant, stomachic, and carminative, used principally in this country as an adjuvant. Dose: 5 to 15 gr. (0.3 to 1 Gm.).

Tinctura Cardamomi (20 per cent.), Dose: 1 to 2 fl. dr. (4 to 8 mils).
Tinctura Cardamomi Composita (2.5 per cent., with cassia cinnamon, caraway, and cochineal), Dose: 1 to 3 fl. dr. (4 to 12 mils).

A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy, 1917, was written by Lucius E. Sayre, B.S. Ph. M.