Anti-hypercholesterolemic influence of the spice cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) in experimental rats

J Sci Food Agric. 2017 Aug;97(10):3204-3210. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.8165. Epub 2017 Jan 23.


Background: Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is an aromatic seed spice grown extensively in India and used as a flavoring in sweets. In this study, the anti-hypercholesterolemic effect of cardamom was evaluated in Wistar rats by inducing hypercholesterolemia with a high-cholesterol diet for 8 weeks. Dietary interventions were made with (a) cardamom powder (50 g kg-1 ), (b) cardamom oil (3 g kg-1 , equivalent to 50 g kg-1 cardamom) and (c) de-oiled cardamom powder (50 g kg-1 ).

Results: A significant reduction in blood total cholesterol (31%) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (44%) was observed by oral administration of cardamom oil in hypercholesterolemic rats, accompanied by a marked decrease in serum triglycerides by 42%. The cholesterol content of cardiac muscle was beneficially lowered by 39% with administration of cardamom oil in hypercholesterolemic rats. Liver triglycerides were reduced by 33%. Incorporation of cardamom oil/powder in the diet did not alter feed consumption by rats. Compromised activities of hepatic antioxidant enzymes in the hypercholesterolemic situation were generally countered by dietary cardamom. Treatment with de-oiled cardamom as well as cardamom oil countered the diminished activity of catalase in hypercholesterolemic animals. Cardamom also enhanced the activity of heart superoxide dismutase in the hypercholesterolemic situation. The concentration of ascorbic acid in serum was significantly increased by dietary cardamom or its fractions in the hypercholesterolemic situation.

Conclusion: This animal study has established the potential of cardamom oil in restoring the alteration in lipid homeostasis in conditions of hypercholesterolemia. The significant reduction in atherogenicity index by dietary intervention with cardamom powder and cardamom oil indicates the potential cardioprotective effect of cardamom. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: antioxidant enzymes; atherogenicity index; blood cholesterol; dietary cardamom; hypercholesterolemia.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / metabolism*
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Elettaria / chemistry
  • Elettaria / metabolism*
  • Glutathione Reductase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / metabolism
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spices / analysis*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Cholesterol
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione Reductase