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Difference Between Black and Green Cardamom

Black and green cardamom By Autopilot (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Black vs Green Cardamom

Native to India, Cardamom is a large leafy plant that flourishes in the countries tropical climate. The pods are harvested from the plant and the seeds are then dried and presented as a spice for cooking and medicinal purposes. Primarily, there are two types of cardamom plants available. The Green cardamom and the Black Cardamom. Each plant produces small pod capsules. Each capsule contains a set of seeds that are then dried and used as a spice.

The most common form of pod that is used is the Green cardamom. Before the plant reaches its full maturity, the seed pods are harvested and dried in curing installations. Harvesting the pods at such an early stage ensures the pods remain closed. The cardamom then retains its prized green colour. Green cardamom is classed as the highest grade available and will fetch a superior price at the spice market. Green cardamom has an intense, unique flavour and is often used to flavour sweet dishes found in Indian cuisine.  The seeds are best stored in their closed pods before use; once they are exposed, they will quickly loose their flavour. Rather than opening the pods to reveal the seeds, green cardamom is often used as a whole pod. Green cardamom can also be used in medicine. People in South East Asia often use the seeds to  treat mouth infections and soothe any digestive problems. Surprisingly, people also use the ground up seeds to treat venomous snack bites.

Black cardamom is often seen as an inferior cousin to the green pods. This is certainly not the case. Black cardamom is harvested much later than its green counterpart and its flavour is distinctively different from the green variety.  Many people prefer the camphor like taste that is often associated with black cardamom seeds. Black cardamom is often dried by exposing the pods to intense heat through placing them over a fire pit. This can produce a strong Smokey flavour that is more favoured in certain Indian dishes.  Although not bitter, the seeds from the black cardamom pod are much cooler in their flavour. Many people say that the seeds act like an antiseptic, numbing their tongue, rather like chewing really strong mints. Black cardamom has much larger pods than the early harvested green cardamom.  Unlike the green pods, the black pods are discarded and only the seeds are used. This enables the spice of the black cardamom to become economically cheaper; making it more widely available than its expensive counterpart. Black cardamom can also be used in medicine. The Chinese use the black cardamom seeds to cure constipation and dysentery.


  1. Green and Black cardamom are from the same plant family.
  2. Green cardamom is harvested before it reaches maturity and the pods are often used whole.
  3. Black cardamom is intensely dried and the seeds are extracted.
  4. Green cardamom is used to flavour sweet dishes and black cardamom is used for a more pungent flavour.
  5. Green cardamom is a highly priced spice while black cardamom is more commercially available.
  6. Black and Green cardamom seeds have distinctively different flavours and uses.

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  1. Black pepper added to black Cardamon increases the cytoactivity of NK cells against YAC 1 lymphoma cells (pub med ncib).

    • Hi Dorothy,
      Thanks for the information regarding black cardomom and black pepper . I’m curious , if used for the purpose you describe , how would you prepare, and consume it ? Tea possibly ? Thanks for any advice ! I’m a beginner/intermediate herbalist , but I’m just now working with cardomom, I love it in my coffee

      • My mom used cardamon in Finnish coffee cake the aroma enticingly lovely the aroma in the house unforgettable braided coffee cake with this spice in it drizzled with glaze, sliced fresh with butter on the side Yum!
        She may have used ground black cardamom vs
        Green pod not as mature but green does not smell like the black that it had a n on the end mon vs mom
        Google says cardamon is spelled wrong

  2. “Venomous snack bites”, love it !


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