Specification guide of Cardamom and Cardamom Oil

Cardamom Spice Wholesalers

Cardamom is the dried fruit of perennial herbaceous plant, Elettaria cardamomum Maton. It is a very useful spice and is also called as the “Queen of Spices”. Cardamom oil is used in food, perfumery, liquor and pharmaceuticals. It is officially recognized in US and British pharmacopoeias. Cardamoms are also used to control cigarette smoking and consumption of other tobacco products. They have been well known for centuries and were regarded as an important article of trade by the Greeks during 4th century BC. Even in 176 AD cardamoms were liable for duty at Alexandria.

Cardamom originated from the evergreen rainforests of Western Ghats in South India. From there it spread to other tropical countries such as Sri Lanka, Tanzania and few Central American countries. It grows well in shade and is cultivated above Mean Sea Level of 600 to 1200 meters. The annual rainfall expected in the region should be 1500 to 4000 mm and the ideal temperature for cultivation is 50 to 95 degree Fahrenheit. Guatemala is another bulk exporter emerging in the international spice market. In India, southern states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are regarded as the major producers of this important spice.

Specification for Cardamom (Capsules and Seeds) by Bureau of Indian Standards

Section 2.1.1 Cardamoms with Capsules— The cardamoms shall be the nearly ripe fruits of Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton in the form of capsules which have been dried. The capsules shall be of colour ranging from light green to brown, cream and white; global in size or three-cornered having a ribbed appearance. The capsules may be clipped and their pedicels removed. The capsules shall be well formed and with sound cardamom seeds inside. The capsules may also be bleached. The cardamoms may be graded on the basis of colour, clipping, size, mass per litre, bleaching or otherwise, proportions of extraneous matter, or place of origin.

Section 2.2 Taste and Aroma or Flavour— The taste and aroma or flavour of cardamoms in caspules and seeds shall be characteristic and fresh. The material shall be free from foreign taste and aroma or flavour, including rancidity and mustiness.

Section 2.3 Freedom from Moulds, Insects, etc— Cardamoms in capsules and seeds shall be free from visible moulds and insect infestation. Note—Thrip marks alone on capsules shall not lead to the conclusion that the capsules have been infested by insects.

Section 2.8 Empty and Malformed Capsules— The proportion of empty capsules which are without any seeds or malformed capsules which are scantily filled with seeds shall not be more than 5 percent by count. For this purpose, 100 capsules from the sample shall be opened out and the number of empty and malformed capsules counted.

Cardamom Volatile Oil

Spice Distributors

Volatile oil is the most important component of cardamom spice. It has a sweet and spicy aroma. The seeds of cardamom generally yield volatile oil in the range of 6.6% to 10.6 percent. The astringent and pungent taste of cardamom on chewing, is accounted to the presence of phenolics, volatile oil components and because of its belonging to Zingiberaceae family of spices.

Steam distillation is most used process for producing volatile oils found in cardamom. As top grade cardamoms are highly priced, they are generally not used for oil distillation. Instead any lower grade cardamoms can be used, which are considered to have good flavor and are much economical. Due to defective appearance of lower grade cardamoms they are considered ideal for production of volatile oil.

Steam distillation process for production of Cardamom Volatile Oils

Essential oil glands are found in a single layer exactly below the epidermal layer of cardamom. A disk mill sheer with vibrating sieves is used to de-husk and then crush the seeds of cardamom into coarse powder. Fine milling is strictly avoided as it results in loss of volatile oil content. The crushed coarse grains are then loosely packed in a distillation vessel and low pressure steam is allowed to enter. The tabular condenser collects the condensate in a cylindrical oil trap. The left over floating oil is collected with the help of conical vessel. Aluminium cans are filled with volatile oil and then closed tightly and stored in cold chambers.

Specifications of cardamom volatile oil by the Essential Oils Association (EOA), US:

Definition Volatile oil distilled from the seeds E.cardamomum Maton
Source Family – Zingiberaceace
Growing Countries South India, Ceylon, Guatemala, Indonesia, Thailand and South China.


Physical Appearance Colourless to very pale yellow liquid.
Odour Aromatic, penetrating, somewhat camphoraceous
Taste persistently pungent, strongly aromatic taste
chemical constants
Specific gravity 0.917 to 0.947 at 25 degrees Celsius
Optical rotation + 22 degrees Celsius to + 44 degrees Celsius
Refractive index 1.463 to 1.466 at 20 degrees Celsius


Descriptive characteristics

70% alcohol: in five volumes: occasional opalescence

Benzylalcohol: in all proportions

Deithyl phthalate: in all proportions

Fixed oil: in all proportions

Glycerine: insoluble

Mineral oil: soluble with opalescence

Propylene glycol: insoluble

Stability: unstable in presence of strong alkali and strong acids

Containers and storage Glass, aluminium or suitably lined containers.


GFN Food Sales – Cardamom Spice Wholesalers and Spice Distributors

Spice wholesalers

GFN Food Sales is one of the best Spice wholesalers and Spice Distributors of finest quality Cardamoms. If you are interested in buying cardamom or any other spice then do call us at 323-203-1633 or email us at gene@gfnfoodsales.com. Our sales team will assist you in every possible way.

Specification guide of Cardamom and Cardamom Oil

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