Native to southern India, but also cultivated in Guatemala, Indo China and Tanzania, cardamom is a unique spice, as essential to tea in India as it is to sausages in the Western world. The seeds come from a plant belonging to the ginger family, and are contained in small pods around the size of a cranberry.As with many popular gin botanicals, cardamom pods were valued for its medicinal qualities ahead of its taste. Ancient Egyptians doubled it up as a mouthwash/embalming solution and Greeks and Romans added it to perfumes and ointments. Its medicinal use has been varied Ì from curing congestion and tuberculosis to spider and snake bites. Modern medicine believes cardamom to have mood-elevating properties, and as such is used to treat depression.Cardamom has a pungent and identifiable aroma in spice form, but once itÌ¥s been distilled it becomes very green, like a blanket of grass. There is a definite piquancy on the nose as well, and to taste itÌ¥s identifiable only as itself Ì a slightly perfumed flavour, sweet at the fore with a fiery finish. Green cardamom seeds lend an additional eucalyptol flavour to gins, while black cardamom add a more smoky finish.