Cardamom is of the ginger family, and the two main genera are the green Elettaria cardamomum, native to Southern India, and the black Amomum, primarily from Asia and Australia. The use this spice dates back to Vedic times, about 3,000 BC, and is also mentioned 1,500 years later in ancient Ayurvedic texts. The Egyptians used it in perfumes and incense and chewed it to whiten their teeth. It is one of the most expensive spices by weight. The essential oil has a complex identity, evolving from a camphoraceous first impression to a crisp spicy note with a balsamic undertone.