Discovering Kapulaga (Cardamom): The Queen of Spices from Java and Its Wonders

Discovering Kapulaga (Cardamom): The Queen of Spices from Java and Its Wonders

Kapulaga, commonly known as Cardamom is a prized spice believed to have originated in India, yet it thrives in various countries, notably Indonesia. Known scientifically as Elettaria cardamomum, this spice offers a savory, subtly sweet flavor, enhancing dishes with its distinctive aroma.

Beyond its delicious taste, cardamom boasts abundant nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fiber, manganese, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. These nutritional elements contribute to a plethora of health benefits associated with cardamom consumption.

Originating from India and Sri Lanka, cardamom holds historical significance as both a culinary spice and herbal remedy, as referenced in ancient texts like the Kitab Charaka Samhita. Greek traders imported it from the West, referring to it as "Kardamom."

Early records, like those of Garcia de Orta in 1563, a pioneer in tropical medicine, highlighted cardamom's medicinal properties. This led to its international trade, with Guatemala emerging as the world's largest producer since 1914.

Traditional Uses

Local communities, such as those near Gunung Honje in Banteng, use cardamom fruits mixed with eucalyptus oil to warm children's bodies. Its traditional applications include:

  • Warming children's bodies with a mixture of cardamom fruit and eucalyptus oil.
  • Using cardamom seeds to alleviate coughs, sore throats, stomach aches, and bloating.
  • Enhancing food flavors as a spice.
  • Utilizing all parts of the plant for treating bloating and as a rub for rheumatism.

Regional Names

In Indonesia, cardamom goes by various names such as:

  • Kardamon (Malay)
  • Palogo (Sumatera)
  • Palago or Puwar (Minangkabau)
  • Kapulogo (Java)
  • Kapol (Sunda)
  • Kapolaha or Palagha (Madura)
  • Garidimang (Bugis)
  • Karkolaka (Bali)
Cardamom Pods |   | By Prathyush Thomas - Own work, GFDL 1.2,


Plant Characteristics

Cardamom plants are perennial with pseudo stems formed from leaf sheaths, akin to ginger or turmeric. Growing up to two meters tall, their fruits burst when ripe, containing elongated oval seeds. They thrive at altitudes of 300-500 meters above sea level.  

Kapulaga / Cardamom plant |  | By Melanurya - Own work, Public Domain,


Health Benefits

Research indicates that cardamom leaf extract shows promise as a diabetes remedy, controlling blood glucose levels and experimental rat weights. With diabetes affecting millions globally, including Indonesia, cardamom's high antioxidant content, flavonoids, and Vitamin C offer potential therapeutic benefits.

Top Producers in Indonesia

According to the 2021 Plant Biofarmaka Production by Province and Plant Type data from BPS (Central Statistics Agency), the largest cardamom-producing regions in Indonesia are:

  • West Java: 89,021,626 kilograms
  • Central Java: 26,526,398 kilograms
  • North Sumatra: 3,170,591 kilograms
  • West Sumatra: 2,150,983 kilograms
  • East Java: 1,891,389 kilograms

Cardamom, the "Queen of Spices"

Described as a herbal plant with bulbous roots, cardamom fruits are round, hairy, grayish-yellow, usually appearing in small, short clusters. When mature, they burst open, releasing seeds used as primary seasonings in cooking. Indonesia hosts various types of cardamom, including Javanese and Sabrang varieties. Sabrang cardamom, also known as green cardamom, earns the moniker "Queen of Spices" due to its meticulous manual harvesting and sorting process.

Akhyari Hananto

I began my career in the banking industry in 1997, and stayed approx 6 years in it. This industry boost his knowledge about the economic condition in Indonesia, both macro and micro, and how to More understand it. My banking career continued in Yogyakarta when I joined in a program funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB),as the coordinator for a program aimed to help improve the quality of learning and teaching process in private universities in Yogyakarta. When the earthquake stroke Yogyakarta, I chose to join an international NGO working in the area of ?disaster response and management, which allows me to help rebuild the city, as well as other disaster-stricken area in Indonesia. I went on to become the coordinator for emergency response in the Asia Pacific region. Then I was assigned for 1 year in Cambodia, as a country coordinator mostly to deliver developmental programs (water and sanitation, education, livelihood). In 2009, he continued his career as a protocol and HR officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, and two years later I joined the Political and Economic Section until now, where i have to deal with extensive range of people and government officials, as well as private and government institution troughout eastern Indonesia. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief in Good News From Indonesia (GNFI), a growing and influential social media movement, and was selected as one of The Most Influential Netizen 2011 by The Marketeers magazine. I also wrote a book on "Fundamentals of Disaster Management in 2007"?, "Good News From Indonesia : Beragam Prestasi Anak Bangsa di dunia"? which was luanched in August 2013, and "Indonesia Bersyukur"? which is launched in Sept 2013. In 2014, 3 books were released in which i was one of the writer; "Indonesia Pelangi Dunia"?, "Indonesia The Untold Stories"? and "Growing! Meretas Jalan Kejayaan" I give lectures to students in lectures nationwide, sharing on full range of issues, from economy, to diplomacy Less
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