The many, often overlooked benefits of the Tamarind tree

At Tamarind Springs we are indeed fortunate to share our landscape with many old stately Tamarind trees, hence our namesake. Its botanical term is Tamarindus indica, originally derived from the Persian "tamar-I-hind," translates to "date of India". The Tamarind, part of the fabaceae family, is a beautiful and grandiose tree, which in favourable soil and weather condition, can grow up to thirty meters in height.

The trees harvest a copious amount of long, curved, brown pods filled with seeds, surrounded by a sultry pulp that dries naturally into a gummy paste. The pods resemble large, overgrown brown-colored green beans. The exotic and tangy tasting fruit of the Tamarind tree is a well-regarded age-old Asian delicacy. Culinary uses of the Tamarind are plentiful, from flavoring curry pastes, to jams, to teas and deserts, to simply eating the fruits raw straight from the tree. Tamarind fruit can last for months, provided it’s bought fresh while still in the pods and kept cool in the fridge.

Besides the numerous tangy flavoring options the Tamarind fruit offers in Asian cuisine, the tree has a long history of many, often overlooked, medicinal benefits. Both the leaves, bark, as well as the seeds and flowers of the Tamarind tree all have known healing charms. Many involve easing stomach discomfort and aiding digestion. Tamarind preparations are often used for fevers, sore throat, rheumatism, inflammation as well as sunstroke. Tamarind extracts are also antimicrobial, anti-venom, antioxidant, assists with wound healing, as well being proactive against asthma, diabetes and malaria.

Nutritional values present in 100 grams of Tamarind:

  • Calories – 239
  • Protein – 2.8 gm
  • Carbohydrates – 62.5 gm
  • Fat – 0.6 gm
  • Phosphorus – 113 mg
  • Iron – 2.8 mg
  • Calcium – 74 mg
  • Vitamin C – 2 mg
  • Niacin – 1.2 mg
  • Riboflavin – 0.14 mg
  • Thiamin (vitamin B) – 0.34 mg
  • Vitamin A – 30 IU
  • Vitamin K – 2.8 mg
  • Vitamin E – 0.1 mg
  • Pyridoxine – 0.066 mg
  • Pantothenic Acid – 0.143 mg
  • Niacin – 1.938 mg
  • Folate – 14 mg
  • Dietary fiber – 5.1 g
  • Fat – 0.6 g
  • Protein – 2.8 g
  • Energy – 239 kcal
  • Potassium – 628 mg
  • Sodium – 28 mg
  • Zinc – 0.1 mg
  • Selenium – 1.3 mg
  • Phosphorus – 113 mg
  • Magnesium – 92 mg
  • Copper – 0.86 mg
  • Calcium – 74 mg
  • Carotene – 18 mg

20 interesting medicinal uses of the Tamarind tree.

tamarind-tree-full

  1. Tamarind leaves are of often used in herbal tea concentrate. Such medicinal teas are given to those suffering from fever and chills.
  2. Loaded with minerals and vitamins, the fruit pod of the Tamarind is essential for red blood cell production and healthy cardiovascular function.
  3. The pulp of the Tamarind can serve as a laxative and a remedy for lethargic bowel movement. The presence of dietary fibre in Tamarind pulp plays a role on binding bile salts. Two teaspoons of Tamarind paste in many cases can improve bowel movement.
  4. Watered-down Tamarind paste is a known home remedy for sore throats. Those with throat infection can wash their month with lukewarm Tamarind water for relief.
  5. The pulp of the Tamarind mixed with crushed herbs such as coriander and mint can serve as a treatment for mouth ulcers, as Tamarind has a cooling effect on ulcers.
  6. Tamarind are known to lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), predominantly due to the presence of phenols, antioxidants beneficial for levels of HDL.
  7. Tamarind is a major ingredient used in Ayurvedic medicine, to treat digestive and gastric ailment.
  8. Tamarind fruit is rich in fibre such as pectin, tannins and mucilage, a combination that plays a vital role in preventing constipation.
  9. Vitamin C deficiency can be countered with the pulp of Tamarind.
  10. Tamarind seeds in its powdered form, mixed with turmeric paste, are used as a treatment for inflammation and sores in many Asian cultures.
  11. Jaundice sufferers can use the juice of the Tamarind to relieve symptoms, subscribed by many traditional healers.
  12. Paste made from powdered Tamarind seeds or paste made from its bark’s powder is used as a home remedy for healing open sores.
  13. Two tablespoons of thick Tamarind paste or a cup of Tamarind water is a well-known Asian home remedy for individuals suffering mild sunstroke.
  14. Those who suffer from thyroid disorders may consider including Tamarind in their diet.
  15. Fruit extract of Tamarind is consumed because it acts as a natural blood purifier.
  16. Tamarind juice is a natural antiseptic that is used with herbal ingredients to cure Scurvy that arises from deficiency in Vitamin C.
  17. The home-made remedy made from the paste or powder of Tamarind seeds can be used as for the relief from styes and burns.
  18. Extracts of leaves and flowers are used as a treatment for haemorrhoids, erysipelas and dysentery. Flower, fruit and leaf juice of Tamarind are used as an antiseptic.
  19. 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.
  20. Insect bites and stings can be soothed by the paste made from the Tamarind seeds, which acts as an antidote.

On your next visit to Tamarind Springs Forest Spa, remember to ask us to show you the numerous old Tamarind trees we are fortunate to have growing on our property. They have provided us with shade and a beautiful indigenous forest setting for years.

Until next week.

Your Tamarind Springs blog team 

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