- Scientific name: Tamarindus indica
- Family: Mimosaceae
- Origin: Tropical Africa
- Varieties: Sweet and sour, but mostly sour
- Tree: height 20-30 m
- Fruit: diameter: 2-3 cm; length: 5-10
- Season: in the dry season
Tamarind is a long bean-like pod that belongs to the vegetable order, but is treated like a fruit. Its name is derived from the Arabic “tamar”, meaning a “dry date fruit”. It was the Arabs in India who gave the name of “tamar-hindi” to this tree.
Tamarind is green when immature and when it matures, it becomes fatter and changes color to a sandy brown. The flesh of the fruit consists of dry, sticky, dark brown pulp and inside the pulp are shiny black seeds. It is this pulp that people eat to get all the nutritional and health benefits of the tamarind. The pulp of the tamarind has a very sour taste while it is young, but as it ripens the pulp gets sweeter. Though the pulp will sweeten with age, the tamarind generally has a sour, acidic taste. The sour taste of tamarind is the favorite flavoring for a host of fish and curry dishes.
Tamarind Culinary uses: The pulp is used for jams, syrups and sweets. In the West, tamarind contributes to the preparation of Worcestershire and barbecue sauces and other meat condiments.
Other uses: Tamarind juice is a great cleanser of brass, copper and other metals.
Tamarind Fruit Health Benefits:
- Lowers cholesterol
- Promotes a healthy heart
- Use as a gargle for sore throats, and as a drink to bring relief from sunstroke.
- Used as a remedy for bilious disorders, jaundice and catarrh.
- Good source of antioxidants that fight against cancer.
- Reduces fevers and provides protection against colds. Make an infusion by taking one ounce of pulp, pour one quart of boiling water over this and allow to steep for one hour. Strain and drink tepid with little honey to sweeten. This will bring down temperature by several degrees.
- Helps the body digest food and can help promote bowel movement.
- Applied to the skin to heal inflammation
- Pulp with hot water added can help to expel intestinal worm, and gas.
Tamarind Nutrient Content: Per 100 gm.
- Vitamin A: 30 I.U.
- Vitamin B: Thiamine .34 mg.;
- Riboflavin: .14 mg.;
- Niacin: 1.2 mg.;
- Vitamin C: 2 mg.
- Calcium: 74 mg.
- Iron: 2.8 mg.
- Phosphorus: 113 mg.
- Fat: .6 gm.
- Carbohydrates: 62.5 gm.
- Protein: 2.8 gm.
- Calories: 239
Tamarind Leaves Medicinal Benefits:
- Young leaves are high in vitamin A.
- Decoction used as bath in fever, after childbirth and during recovery from illness.
- Decoction use as wash for skin ulcer.
- Juice of young leaves is used to expel intestinal worms.
- Decoction taken in fever and cough.
Tamarind Seed Medicinal Benefits:
- The red outer covering of the seed is an effective remedy against diarrhea and dysentery.
Tamarind Flower Medicinal Benefits:
- Juice extracted from the flowers is given internally for bleeding piles.
Tamarind Tree Bark Medicinal Benefits:
- Poultice applied to relieve sores, ulcers, and boils.
- Ash mixed with water and used as gargle for sore throat.