Cardamom, sometimes called, is a pungent, aromatic herb first used
around the eighth century, and is a native of India. It was probably
imported into Europe around A.D. 1214.
Today, cardamom is cultivated in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Mexico, Thailand and Central America.
Cardamom, which is also called Grains of Paradise, is native to the East originating in the forests of the western ghats in southern India, where it grows wild. Cardamom plants grow wild in parts of the monsoon forests of the Western Ghats in southern India. This area has become known as the Cardamom Hills.
Today it also grows in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Guatemala, Mexico, Thailand, Central America, Indo China and Tanzania. Whole Cardamom pods come from India while the decorticated seeds are imported from Guatemala. Indian Cardamom is considered to be of premium quality.
It was first used around eighth century. Cardamom is mentioned in Sanskrit texts of the 4th century BC in a treatise on politics called Kautilya's Arthashasthra and in Taitirriya Samhita where it is used in offerings.
Although India is the largest producer of cardamom, only a small share of the Indian production is exported because of the large domestic demand. The main exporting country is Guatemala, where cardamom cultivation has been introduced to less than a century ago and where all cardamom is grown for export.
Despite its numerous applications in the cooking styles of Sri Lanka, India and Iran, 60% of the world production is exported to Arab.