Tamarind as Medicinal tree
Tamarind other uses
Tamarind is a multipurpose plant.
The pulp of the fruit is used as a spice in Asian cuisine. Tamarind is widely used in various types of
chutney as a flavouring agent in India. It is extensively in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh cuisines, where it
is used to prepare Rasam, Sambhar, Vatha Kuzhambu and Puliyogare
In addition to tamarind other spices are added to the sauce such as sugar and spice to make the sauce a bitter sweet
flavor. The tender pods and flowers are also pickled and used as a side dish.
A tamarind-based sweet-and-sour sauce served over deep-fried fish is also a common dish in Central Thailand. In Singapore and
Malaysia it is used to add a sweet-sour taste to gravy for fish in a dish called
asam fish. Mexican tamarind snacks are available in specialty food stores worldwide in pod form or as a paste or
concentrate. In the Philippines, tamarind is popular and it is used in foods like sinigang
soup, and also made into candies. In Burma, young and tender leaves and flower buds are eaten as a vegetable.
Tamarind is not only a food item but its pulp, leaves, and bark also have medical applications.
The wood, pulp and gum of tree also have many industrial applications. Due to its denseness and durability,
tamarind heartwood can be used in making furniture and wood flooring. Tamarind trees are used as ornamental trees
and to provide shades in roadsides
Hindi - Imli
English - Tamarind tree
Latin - Tamarindus indicus
Sanskrit - Cinca, Tintrini
Tamil - Puli Amilam
Kannada - Huli, Amli
Telgu - Chintapandu
Malayalam- Puli, Kolpuli
Marathi - Chincha
Gujarati - amli
Bengali - tentul
Taiwan - loan
Myanmar - magee-bin
Thailand - ma-kham
Sinhalese - siyambala
Tamarind fruits (
Tamarind grows naturally all over Asia upto an altitude of about 500 m. In the Indian
sub-continent, it is grown from Burma to Afghanistan – more so in central and southern India.
Tamarinds are slow-growing, long-lived, evergreen trees that under optimum conditions can grow 80 feet high with a spread of 20 to 35 ft.
Leaves: The leaves are normally evergreen but may be shed briefly in very dry areas during the hot
season. The leaves are pinnate compound with 5-10 cm long rachis. Each leaf has 10-20 pairs of opposite leaflets.
Flowers: The five-petalled flowers are borne in small racemes and are yellow with orange or red streaks. The flower buds are pink due
to the outer color of the 4 sepals which are shed when the flower opens.
Fruit: The tamarind fruit, also called Imli, is the best-known part.
The 3 - 8 inch long, brown, irregularly curved pods are borne in abundance along the new branches. As the pods mature, they fill out somewhat and
the juicy, acidulous pulp turns brown or reddish-brown. When fully ripe, the shells are brittle and easily broken. The pods may contain from 1 to 12
large, flat, glossy brown, obovate seeds embedded in the brown, edible pulp. The
pulp has a pleasing sweet/sour flavor and is high in both acid and sugar. It is also rich in vitamin B and high in calcium.
Seeds: The 1 to 12 fully formed seeds are hard, glossy-brown, squarish in form, 1/8 to
1/2 in (1.1-1.25 cm) in diameter, and each is enclosed in a parchment like membrane.
Tamarind is also rich in vitamin B and high in calcium. It barks and seeds
contains complex acids and yield an amber oil useful as an illuminant and as a varnish.
Lac insect, Kerria lacca, deposits a resin on the twigs of Tamarind.
Soils: Tamarind tree tolerate a great diversity of soil types but do best in deep,
well drained soils slightly acidic..
Irrigation: The tamarind is adapted to semiarid regions of the tropics and can
withstand drought conditions quite well. They require minimum irrigation so avoid over-watering..
Fertilization: Young trees should be fertilized every 2 - 3 months with a 6-6-3
NPK or similar analysis fertilizer. Apply 1/4 lb. and gradually increase to
about 1/2 lb. Bearing trees can be fertilized with 8-3-9 NPK or similar analysis, at rates of about 1/2 lb. per application per
year of tree age.
Pruning: Young trees are pruned to allow three to five well spaced branches to
develop into the main scaffold structure of the tree.
Harvest: Tamarind fruits mature in late spring to early summer. They may be left
on the tree for as long as 6 months after maturity so that the moisture content will be reduced. Fruits for immediate processing are often
harvested by pulling the pod away from the stalk. Ripe fruit in humid climates is readily
attacked by beetles and fungi, so mature fruit should be harvested and stored under refrigeration.
Preservation: To preserve tamarinds for future use, they may be merely shelled, layered with sugar in boxes or pressed into tight
balls and covered with cloth and kept in a cool, dry place.
Pest control and diseases: One of the major pests of the tamarind tree in India is the Oriental yellow scale,
Aonidiella orientalis. Tamarind scale, A. tamarindi, and black, or olive, scale, Saissetia oleae, are also partial to tamarind but of less importance.
Tamarind as Medicinal tree
Medicinal is used extensively in Ayurveda. Tamarind preparations are universally recognized as refrigerants in fevers and as laxatives
and carminatives. Alone, or in combination with lime juice, honey, milk, dates, spices or camphor, the pulp is considered effective as a
digestive and as a remedy for biliousness and bile disorders, and as an antiscorbutic. The pulp is applied on inflammations, is used in a gargle for sore
throat and, mixed with salt, as a liniment for rheumatism. It is administered to alleviate sunstroke, Datura poisoning, and alcoholic
Tamarind leaves and flowers, dried or boiled, are used as poultices
for swollen joints, sprains and boils. Lotions and extracts made from them are used in treating conjunctivitis, as antiseptics, as
vermifuges, treatments for dysentery, jaundice, erysipelas and hemorrhoids and various other ailments. The fruit shells are burned
and reduced to an alkaline ash which enters into medicinal formulas.
The bark of the tree is regarded as an effective astringent, tonic
and febrifuge. Fried with salt and pulverized to an ash, it is given as a remedy for indigestion and colic. A decoction is used in cases
of gingivitis and asthma and eye inflammations; and lotions and poultices made from the bark are applied on open sores and caterpillar rashes.
The powdered seeds are made into a paste for drawing boils and, with or without cumin seeds and palm sugar, are
prescribed for chronic diarrhea and dysentery. The seedcoat, too, is astringent, and it, also, is specified for the latter disorders. An
infusion of the roots is believed to have curative value in chest complaints and is an ingredient in prescriptions for leprosy.
Home remedies with tamarind:
For headaches due to excessive heat, soak tamarind pulp in water, squeeze it and
knead it well so that the pulp is dispersed completely and dissolves in water.
Strain it and to this extracted juice, add a tsp of ginger juice and drink.
For loss of appetite: Mix jaggery water with tamarind pulp and spice it with cinnamon
(dalchini) and cardamom (elaichi) and drink it.
For Diarrhoea: Blend these ingredients: 1 tsp tamarind pulp, a cup of butter milk and a mashed
ripe banana and have it. It provides relief from diarrhea quickly.
For indigestion: Add a pinch of salt to tamarind pulp and chew it well, when you are suffering from indigestion.
For bleeding piles: Fry tamarind leaves in oil and ghee and cook in sufficient quantity of curd. Add
powder of dried pomegranate, coriander (dhaniya) seeds and dried ginger to it and take internally.
For common cold: In acute cold, soup made from tamarind pulp is beneficial.
For skin itching: Smearing a paste of tamarind pulp over the affected parts provides instant relief.
To treat freckles: Application of paste of the roots and bark of tamarind helps to remove freckles.
For white discharge (leucorrhea): Soak tamarind seeds in water for a day or two and then pound it on a stone slab with milk. Take this paste regularly.
For inflamed joints: Crushed with water and made into a poultice, the leaves are applied on
inflamed joints and ankles. It reduces swelling and pain.
Tamarind other uses
The food uses:
The tender, immature, very sour pods are cooked as seasoning with rice, fish and meats in India. The pulp is made into a variety of products. It is an
important ingredient in chutneys, curries and sauces and in a special Indian seafood pickle called "tamarind fish".
Sugared tamarind pulp is often prepared as a confection. It is used in desserts as a jam, blended into juices or sweetened drinks, or as
a snack. In Africa tamarind has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.
Tamarind beverages: For the commercial production of spiced tamarind beverages have been developed
in India. The home method of preparing the ade is to shell the fruits, place 3 or 4 in a bottle of water, let stand for a short time, add a tablespoonful of sugar and shake
it. For a richer beverage, a quantity of shelled tamarinds may be covered with a hot sugar syrup with or without the addition of cloves, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, pepper or lime
slices and allowed to stand several days. It is then diluted as desired with ice water and strained.
Leaves: Fresh leaves with flowers are cooked and eaten as greens and in curries in India.
Flowers: The flowers are rated as a good source of nectar for honeybees in South India. The honey is
golden-yellow and slightly acid in flavor.
Seeds: The powder made from tamarind kernels has been adopted by the
Indian textile industry as 300% more efficient and more economical than cornstarch for sizing and finishing cotton, jute and spun
viscose, as well as having other technical advantages. It is commonly used for dressing homemade blankets. Other industrial uses
include employment in color printing of textiles, paper sizing, leather treating, the manufacture of a structural plastic, a glue
for wood, a stabilizer in bricks, a binder in sawdust briquettes, and a thickener in some explosives.
Oil: Tamarind seeds yield an amber oil useful as an illuminant and as a
varnish especially preferred for painting dolls and idols. The oil is said to be palatable and of culinary quality.
Wood: Tamarind wood, weighing about 20-25 kg per cubic foot, is somewhat hard to work.
The heartwood is rather small, dark purplish-brown, very hard, heavy, strong, durable and insect-resistant. It bends
well and takes a good polish and, while hard to work, it is highly prized for furniture, panelling, wheels, axles, gears for mills, ploughs, etc.
The wood is valued for fuel, especially for brick kilns, for it gives off an intense heat, and it also yields a charcoal for the manufacture of gun-powder.
Twigs and barks: Tamarind twigs are sometimes used as "chewsticks" and the bark of the tree as a
masticatory, alone or in place of lime with betelnut. The bark contains up to 7% tannin and is often employed in tanning hides and in dyeing, and is burned to make an
ink. Bark from young trees yields a low-quality fiber used for twine and string.
Lac: The tamarind tree is a host for the lac insect, Kerria lacca, that deposits a resin on the twigs.
The lac may be harvested and sold as stick-lac for the production of lacquers and varnish.
Tamarind tree boosts the economy of a country. Its fruits, pulp, leaves, seeds
and bark are food items and also have medical applications. The wood, pulp and gum of tree also have many industrial
applications. Due to its denseness and durability, tamarind heartwood can be used in making furniture and wood flooring.
Its seeds oil, seed powder, resin, lac have many industrial applications.
The extracts of tamarind fruits, leaves, flowers and bark are
used for cosmetic purposes - in body lotions and henna based hair dyes etc.