Cardamom is Native to the moist forests of India but can now be seen in many parts of Asia and Guatemala. The main part used is the dried ripe fruit which contain aromatic seeds. Their distinct flavour and aroma are used to flavour both sweet and savoury dishes, not just in Asia but throughout the world.
Most of the medicinal properties can be attributed to the volatile oils (essential oils). Cardamom is especially indicated for use on the digestive system. It's anti-spasmodic and carminative properties mean that it's useful for spasms of the digestive tract (such as in colic and IBS) as well as bloating and flatulence. Herbalists often use cardamom as a tonic to improve digestion where the digestive system is weakened or where there is excess acid.
Cardamom also offers us a decongestant action which is why it has traditionally been used in cases of asthma where there is spasm of the bronchial tract and excess mucus in the airways.