Chinese cardamom

Chinese Name: Cao dou kou
Medical Name:
Latin Name: Alpinia katsumadai
Origin: Seed, sundried.
Taste: Pungent

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

KAI BAO MATERIA MEDICA: "Treats pathogenic wind-cold and vomiting by promoting the digestion and subduing the rise of pathogenic factors."

AN EXPLANATION OF THE CANON OF MATERIA MEDICA: "The power of the cardamom seed resides in its aromatic smell, and its power will be reduced if it is fried. Grind it finely for use in decoctions. The decoction is especially efficacious if drunk at boiling point."

THE BAG OF PEARLS: "Benefits the spleen and stomach, expels cold, and allays pains in the heart and stomach caused by external cold."

Western Research

Phytother Res. 2003 Nov;17(9):1041-7.
Antioxidant activity of extracts from Alpinia katsumadai seed
Lee SE, Shin HT, Hwang HJ, Kim JH.
Department of Oral Biochemistry, College of Dentistry, Kyung Hee University Seoul 130-701, Korea.
Alpinia katsumadai (Zingiberaceae) has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of conditions such as emesis and gastric disorders. However, very little is known about the cellular actions by which this plant mediates its therapeutic effects. Various aspects of antioxidant activity were evaluated in a total extract derived from Alpinia katsumadai seed in this study. Relatively high levels of 1,1-diphenyl-2- picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity were detected in the total extract (IC(50) 1.6 microgram/mL). Other known compounds such as (-)-epigallocatechine- 3-gallate (EGCG) and resveratrol showed IC(50) values of <0.8 and 4.8 microgram/mL, respectively. The total extract also enhanced the viability of Chinese hamster lung fibroblast (V79-4) cells and inhibited H(2)O(2)-induced apoptosis. The total extract of Alpinia katsumadai also dose-dependently enhanced the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) in V79-4 cells, and these effects were comparable to other antioxidant compounds such as EGCG and resveratrol. Taken together, our findings show that Alpinia katsumadai contains significant antioxidant activity. Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 1992 Aug;17(8):451-3, 509
[Textual study on traditional Chinese drugs caodoukou and baidoukou] [Article in Chinese]
Dong H, Mei Q, Xu G, Xu L.
China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing.
Through a critical study of herbalogy, it is concluded that the mature seeds of Alpinia zermubet were used as caodoukou in ancient times. The original plant of Yutao recorded in Zhiwu Mingshi Tukao may be the species of Alpinia katsumadai. Baidukou used in ancient times may be the seeds of Alpinia katsumadai found in the south of China, or Amomum compactum and Am. kravanh imported from foreign countries.