Tamarind is a fruit with a distinctive sweet and sour taste. Used in cuisines from around the world, this delicious pod-like fruit is a nutritional powerhouse with an abundance of health benefits.
Tamarind trees are cultivated in abundance in Africa and Asia and South America. Although raw tamarind is edible, it has an unusual sour taste which makes you change your facial expression every time you take a bite (try it). Ripe tamarind pods or mature pods when cracked open have a brown or brownish-black colored fruit which contain hard black seeds. The brown flesh of the fruit is juicy andacidic and has a sweet-tangy flavor. Aside from being used in world cuisine, Tamarind fruit is hugely popular because of its health benefits and medicinal benefits. Leaves, bark, seeds, and flowers of tamarind too have medicinal uses. Tamarind trees grow up to 40-80 meters depending on soil condition and weather condition.
A mature tree is capable of producing between 175- 250kg tamarind fruit per year. The tree belongs to the family of’ Fabaceae’, its scientific name, Tamarindus indica. The name Tamarind is derived from the Arabic- ‘Tamr-Hindi’, which means or translates into being ‘Date of India’. Flowers and leaves of tamarind are edible and have a delicious flavor. Thailand is known for its supreme variety of sweet tamarind and boasts of some of the fleshiest and sweetest ripe pods. This fruit is loaded with minerals and vitamins required in daily diet. Tamarind offers excellent nutrition value which is why this is the one of the most popular condiment in the world.
Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses of Tamarind
It’s not just the fruit of tamarind that offers health benefits. Combinations of herbs and spices mixed with tamarind powders are used by herbalists and ayurvedic practitioners for various natural treatments. Fruit, leaves, seeds, bark, flowers and pulp of tamarind have been used in several ancient cultures and by medieval herbalists. Listed below are the numerous health benefits and medicinal uses of tamarind.
1. Pulp of tamarind acts as a laxative and is an excellent remedy for sluggish bowel movement. The presence of dietary fiber in tamarind pulp plays an important role on binding bile salts. Two teaspoons of tamarind paste is very good for bowel movement.
2. Tamarind has the ability to lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) thereby promoting healthy cardiovascular health, this because of the presence of phenols, antioxidants beneficial for levels of HDL.
3. Leaves of tamarind are used in herbal tea decoctions. Medicinal teas that contain extracts of tamarind leaves are given to individuals suffering from fever and chills.
4. Diluted tamarind paste is an excellent home remedy for sore throat. A person with throat infection can gargle diluted lukewarm tamarind water for relief.
5. Tamarind pulp with a mix of crushed herbs such as coriander and mint is an excellent treatment for mouth ulcers. Tamarind has a cooling effect on ulcers caused by hot and spicy foods.
6. In several cultures flowering leaves of tamarind are crushed to extract juice. This juice is a home remedy for piles.
7. This fruit pod is loaded with minerals and vitamins essential for red blood cell production and healthy cardiovascular function.
8. Scoops of thick tamarind paste are diluted in water and given to individuals with intestinal parasites.
9. Tamarind is an excellent home remedy for persons with bile problems.
10. In Ayurvedic medicine, Tamarind is a major ingredient used to treat digestive and gastric problems.
11. Tamarind fruit is rich in dietary fiber such as tannins, mucilage and pectin, a combination that plays a vital role in preventing constipation. 13% to 15% percent dietary fiber is provided by 100 grams of tamarind paste.
12. Pulp of tamarind is known to protect against Vitamin C deficiency.
13. Powdered tamarind seeds mixed with turmeric paste are used as a treatment for inflammation and sores in many Asian cultures.
14. Tamarind juice is used as a traditional medicine for jaundice sufferers.
15. This fruit has powerful antioxidants that protect against harmful chemicals that cause cancer.
16. Tamarind should be included in your diet because minerals present in this fruit are good for bone health.
17. Paste of tamarind seeds acts as an antidote and is used as a home remedy for insect bites and stings.
18. Paste made from powdered tamarind seeds or paste made from bark powder is used as a home remedy for healing open sores.
19. Individuals that suffer from thyroid disorders should include tamarind in their diet.
20. Fruit extract of tamarind is consumed because it acts as a natural blood purifier.
21. This fruit is essential for healthy muscle function beneficial for good health.
22. A cup of tamarind water or two tablespoons of thick tamarind paste is an excellent home remedy for an individual that has suffered mild sunstroke.
23. Paste of tamarind is excellent for diabetics. It is used as traditional medicine along with jamun and herbs for diabetes control. Pulp of this fruit helps lower glucose levels that tend to rise after meals.
24. Tamarind juice is a natural antiseptic that is used with herbal ingredients to cure Scurvy that arises from deficiency in Vitamin C.
25. Paste or powder of tamarind seeds is used as a home remedy for relief from styes and burns.
26. Extracts of leaves and flowers are used as a treatment for hemorrhoids, dysentery and erysipelas. Flower, fruit and leaf juice of tamarind are used as an antiseptic and vermifuge.
27. Juice of tamarind is given to individuals with a severe hangover resulting from alcohol consumption. Intoxication from various substances can be treated because tamarind plays the role of antidote.
28. Paste made from leaves of tamarind can be applied on areas of the body to reduce swelling of joints. This paste provides much-needed relief for arthritis sufferers that are not able to move their hands, legs or shoulders because of joint pain. Paste of seeds can also be used to treat boils and sprains.
29. 5 grams of tamarind pulp consumed twice a day for 3 to 4 weeks can be used to delay fluorosis progression.
30. Root and bark infusions of tamarind are used as an alternative treatment for leprosy.
Other Uses of Tamarind
In many Asian countries tamarind juice is used to clean brass, copper and other metals. This is done to restore shine on metal. The juice when scrubbed on metal gets rid of grime, tarnish and formation of green patina. Tamarind tree wood is hard and extremely durable. Natural bright-red tamarind wood used to make furniture and floor panels with natural hues. Tamarind trees are used in landscape design and ornamental gardening in several Asian countries. The bonsai species
Nutritional Benefits of Tamarind
Tamarind has several nutritional benefits. this fruit is a powerhouse when it comes to balanced nutrition. It contains phytochemicals such as cinnamic acid, limonene, pyrazine, geraniol, alkylthiazoles, methyl salicylate and saforole, compounds essential for good health. Tamarind is a rich source of tartaric acid, a powerful anti oxidant that shelters the body from deadly free radicals. Tartaric acid gives food that unmistakable sour flavor, an essential for good health. Sticky pulp of tamarind contains NSP/ (Non- Starch Polysaccharides) Dietary fiber such as tannins, pectin, gums, mucilage and hemicelluloses. Dietary fiber is essential in daily diet to prevent constipation and helps protect against cancer causing chemicals that pose harm to the colon mucus membrane. This fruit is a rich collective source of minerals and vitamins. Iron, selenium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium and copper among other minerals are present in tamarind. Minerals play a vital role in cardiovascular activities. Vitamin C, Niacin Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Thiamine and Folic Acid are among the many important vitamins present in tamarind. Many vitamins present in this fruit play an important role in enzyme metabolism. Tamarind has antioxidants and flavonoids beneficial for protection against cancer. Although the composition of flavonoids present in tamarind in being researched in regard with cancer prevention, dietary fiber composition present in tamarind is known to flush out toxins that are present in the digestive tract, thereby minimizing risk of colon cancer.
Nutritional Value of Tamarind (Per 100 g)
(Source- USDA Nutrient Database)
• Iron- 2.8 mg
• Phosphorous- 113 mg
• Copper- 0.86 mg
• Magnesium- 92 mg
• Zinc- 0.10 mg
• Calcium- 74 mg
• Selenium- 1.3 mcg
• Vitamin C- 3.5 mg
• Vitamin K- 2.8 mcg
• Vitamin A- 30 IU
• Vitamin E- 0.10 mg
• Riboflavin- 0.152 mg
• Pantothenic Acid- 0.143 mg
• Niacin- 1.9 mg
• Thiamine- 0.428 mg
• Folates- 14 mcg
• Carotene- 18 mcg
• Lutein- Zeaxanthin- 0 mcg
• Crypto- Xanthin- 0 mcg
• Potassium- 628 mg
• Sodium- 28 mg
• Fats- 0.6 g
• Protein- 2.8 g
• Carbohydrates- 67.5 g
• Dietary Fiber- 5.1 g
• Energy- 239 kacl
• Cholesterol- 0 mg
Tamarinds as home remedy (Traditional Medicine)
Tamarind is popular in world cuisine but is used in several cultures because of its medicinal properties. This fruit paste is used as an alternative treatment and cure. Pulp, flesh, leaves, flowers and bark of tamarind are used in traditional medicine and ayurvedic treatments. Tamarind has several medicinal benefits and used as a home remedy for…
• Dry Eyes
• Bile Disorders
• Boosting Immunity
• Intestinal Worms
• Insect bites
• Stomach Disorders
• Motion Sickness
• Urinary Stones
Culinary uses of Tamarind
Tamarind is used in various recipes from around the world. In several Asian countries flowering leaves of tamarind is one of the major ingredients used to make green chutneys. Tamarind sweets are hugely popular in South East Asia, Africa and Latin America. Pulp of tamarind is extensively used in recipes from India and South East Asia. Tamarind pulp and tamarind sauce is popular in global cuisine because of its numerous health benefits and unique taste. In the western world barbecue sauces made with tamarind are popular because they give meat a sour and tangy flavor. Several street foods in Asia use tamarind sauce in foods and snacks. In India tamarind chutney is used in a number of recipes. Bhel-Puri, a popular and tasty street snack contains a large portion of sweet tamarind chutney. Tamarind chutneys are served with fried street snacks India. Snacks such as samosa, bhajia, and batata vada (potato patty) taste delightful with tamarind chutney. Tamarind pulp is used in several marinade recipes. Many countries in Asia use tamarind in lentils, sprouts and soups. Tamarind extract is used to make syrups, jams, sauces, and vinegars.
Tamarind paste is used in numerous fish curry preparations from South East Asia. In several fried fish recipes from around the world tamarind paste is used as a major ingredient that goes into making the fish marinade. In many countries tamarind is used instead of vinegar to give food a sour flavor. Tender raw tamarind can be mashed and used as a souring ingredient in marinades made from mint leaves, coriander, and parsley. Mexico is known for its tamarind snacks and tamarind beverages. Small tamarind balls blended with spices and coated with fine granulated sugar are a popular snack in Latin America and Africa. Chilled sweet-n- tangy tamarind beverages are becoming a rage in many parts of the world because of its unique flavor. Tamarind drinks can be made at home and had chilled or lukewarm, either way they are refreshing.
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