February 26, 2021 4 min read

Both residents of the Citrus Saffron kombucha, one a digestive delight and the other a blues buster. Herbalist Lily Canetty-Clarke takes a closer look at these two ancient spices and how to use them in our day-to-day life.


What is cardamom?

Cardamom is an Indian spice and speculated to be one of the oldest spices, dating back over 4000 years where it was used by the Egyptians as a medicine and during rituals. It is perhaps most famous in the west as a solid member of chai tea. It has been used for centuries in the East and Africa to flavor food, as an aphrodisiac and to help digestive issues.

How can cardamom help me?

Cardamom is a warming and invigorating herb with an affinity to the digestive system (McIntyre & Boudin, 2012)It improves appetite as well as digestion and absorption. This is not only due to its smell and taste activating the secretion of digestive enzymes but also as it supports the secretion of bile which is important for the absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins (Platel & Srinivasan, 2004).As it also has an action on the mind relieving anxiety, tension and stress it is particularly useful for stress related digestive conditions where there is spasming causing pain and discomfort. Cardamom is classed as a “carminative”, meaning it will help to relieve excess gas and bloating (McIntyre & Boudin, 2012). It also protects the lining of the digestive system and stops its assault from acid forming foods. Furthermore, is rich in the plant compound limonene which combats heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Traditionally the pods of the herb were chewed to freshen the breath and studies now show that this effect is due to its many bacteria fighting compounds, specifically helpful at fighting oral bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans (Sharma, 2012; Aneja & Joshi, 2009). 

How can I take cardamom? 

You can chew the pods first and foremost. This breaks the herb down and releases the phytochemicals that promote appetite, digestion and fight oral bacteria.You can use ½ -1g freshly ground herb into a powder using a pestle and mortar and stirred into warm milk, or added to porridge, baking, coffees and smoothies.Or just stick to the fermented form thanks to our Citrus Saffron kombucha.

What is saffron?

Saffron ~ Crocus sativus ~ comes from a beautiful flower called the saffron crocus, (Crocus sativus) and is the world’s most expensive spice. Its medicinal use were first documented by the Greeks over 3600 years ago (Dwyer et al 2011) and as well as being a botanical brain balm it also has been shown to be a blood and heart tonic, improving circulation and calming the digestive system. 

How can saffron help me my mind?

Saffron has been shown to be excellent for nervous depletion, anxiety and depression. It is also known as a sattvic aid to meditation, meaning it helps bring about a sattvic life, which is a life that is pure, vital, clean, strong, true, wise and honest (McIntyre & Boudin, 2012). 

Back in 1862 a herbalist, Christopher Catton, wrote about Saffron: it has “the power to quicken the spirits...provoking laughter and merrimemt”. Today, multiple studies have shown it to counter depression, significantly reducing mild to moderate symptoms (Hausenlas et al 2013). It has even been shown to be as effective as current antidepressant medications, including SSRI and tricyclics and side effect free. Interestingly it is also used in conjunction with anti-depressants in women that experience sexual dysfunction will taking these drugs and the addition of Saffron has been reported to significantly improve sexual function, arousal, lubrication and pain (Kashani et al 2013).

Saffron’s activity on the brain is due to its work on increasing the mood boosting serotonin & the reward signals of dopamine and blocking the enzyme monoamine oxidase. Monomamine oxidase dysfunction is thought to be responsible for number of psychiatric conditions and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), a natural action of Saffron, is another class of antidepressant (Braun & Cohen, 2015)

How to take saffron?

As well as the Fix8 Citrus Saffron kombucha to drink by the gallon, you can add saffron to salads, paella and stews for adding a unique flavour and reaping these mental benefits (Perry &Perry, 2018)

This advice is generic and does not replace individual guidance. If you are suffering from a medical condition or taking any medication, please seek the advice of a medical professional before starting to take any herbal medicine. 

References:

Aneja, K. R., & Joshi, R. (2009). Antimicrobial activity of Amomum subulatum and Elettaria cardamomum against dental caries causing microorganisms.Ethnobotanical Leaflets,2009(7), 3. 
Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2015).Herbs and Natural Supplements, Volume 2: An Evidence-Based Guide (Vol. 2). Elsevier Health Sciences.
Hausenblas, H. A., Saha, D., Dubyak, P. J., & Anton, S. D. (2013).Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) and major depressive disorder: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Journal of integrative medicine, 11(6), 377-383.
Kashani, L., Raisi, F., Saroukhani, S., Sohrabi, H., Modabbernia, A., Nasehi, A. A., ... & Akhondzadeh, S. (2013).Saffron for treatment of fluoxetine‐induced sexual dysfunction in women: randomized double‐blind placebo‐controlled study.Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 28(1), 54-60.
Mcintyre, A & Boudin, M (2012).Dispensing with Tradition. 
Perry, N & Perry, E. (2018).Botanical Brain Balms.
Platel, K., & Srinivasan, K. (2004). Digestive stimulant action of spices: a myth or reality?.Indian Journal of Medical Research,119(5), 167.
Sharma, R. (2012). Cardamom comfort.Dental research journal,9(2).
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Lily graduated from the University of Westminster with a first class honours degree in Herbal Medicine in 2019. She also has a diploma in Nutritional Health Science and a degree in Experimental Psychology. She is a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, established in 1864 to ensure the efficacy and safe use of herbal medicine. Lily is passionate about education and providing valuable knowledge which will support sustainable solutions, empowering clients to take back control of their health and wellbeing. Her main areas of interest include women’s health and stress management.  
http://www.lilycanettyclarke.com/

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