Raw chocolate is loved by many, but is also well known for its rather over-stimulating properties. I’ve lost count of the number of sleepless nights I’ve had, wishing I’d been able to resist that last raw chocolate treat….
In an ideal world it’s probably best to keep raw chocolate as a ‘sometimes’ treat, eaten in small amounts earlier rather than later in the day. But if you don’t always manage this, what’s the answer?
Some years ago I read that cardamom is used in ayurvedic medicine (the traditional Indian natural health system) as an antidote to the stimulating effects of coffee. It seems that cardamom ‘detoxifies the caffeine in coffee’. It got me thinking – if it works for coffee, would it work for raw chocolate as well?
What I found was that ‘eating’ cardamom on days when I was also eating a lot of raw chocolate REALLY helped to reduce the stimulating effects of the chocolate, and enabled me to get a relaxing night’s sleep.
Medicinal Properties of Cardamom
Interestingly, when you look up the medicinal properties of cardamom, nowhere does it say that it has relaxing properties. The closest thing you find is that it helps reduce stress caused by depression or overwork. There is also the occasional reference to the fact that it can help lift your mood, which is also said to be true of raw chocolate (due to PEA – aka ‘the love chemical’ – and anandamide – aka ‘the bliss chemical’ – both of which are present in high quantities in raw cacao).
For several years now I have shared this useful piece of information about cardamom antidoting the stimulating effects of raw chocolate in my workshops. One participant, of a considerably more scientific frame of mind than myself said that it all made perfect sense as cardamom does indeed contain a constituent well known for its relaxing properties.
How To Use Cardamom
I find that the way to use cardamom as a raw chocolate ‘antidote’ varies from person to person.
Chew on the seeds – I myself have to take it to fairly extreme levels and chew on some cardamom seeds three or four times that day to get a result. For speed, I tend to put about six whole cardamom pods in my mouth, chew on them and then spit out the husks. It’s not the most pleasant way of ingesting cardamom, but rather that than a night of tossing and turning!
Essential oil or tea – other people don’t find it necessary to resort to such full on measures – perhaps just adding some cardamom essential oil to their chocolate recipe (yummy), or drinking some cardamom tea, will be enough for them.
So you may have to experiment to find your level, but to my mind it’s well worth it – a good night’s sleep is a precious thing!
Over to you…
Have you tried cardamom as an antidote to raw chocolate and if so, how do you take it and does it help?