Know in one minute about Tamarind benefits
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica L; family Leguminosae) is an indigenous fruit tree that grows up to 20–30 m tall. Its various parts such as seeds, root, leaves, bark, and fruits have been extremely used in traditional India and African medication. Tamarind benefits are used in jaundice, in the liver complaints, as an acid refrigerant, as a gentle laxative, in yellow fever, as a blood tonic, and as a skin cleanser.
There are two main types of tamarind: sour (the most common) and sweet (comes from Thailand). The fruit shows a reddish-brown color that turns black or black-brown. It becomes more aromatic and sour on ripening. The fruits contain pulp (30 %), seeds (40 %), and hull (30 %). The pulp is rich in sugar (30%–40%) than many other conventional and indigenous fruits. Tamarind fruit is mostly consumed fresh and is made into juice, brine, chutneys, sauces, jam, sweets, and preservatives. The fruit pulp possesses a sweet acidic taste which is due to the presence of high amounts of reducing sugars and tartaric acid.
It is indigenous to tropical Africa. However, it has become naturalized in North and South America from Florida to Brazil. It is also grown in subtropical China, India, Pakistan, Indochina, Philippines, Java, and Spain (1).
The word tamarind is derived from the Arabic “Tamar-u’l-Hind” (Tamere-Hind means the date of India) as the pulp of these fruits is similar to dried dates. It is known by various names to include
- Ambli, Imlii (in Hindi)
- Indian date, Sweet tamarind (in English)
- Tamarind, Tetul (in Bangladesh)
- Tamarindo (in Brazil, Cuba, Madagascar, and Canary Islands)
- Manhan (China)
- Tamarindo (Cuba)
- Asam Jawa, Asem, Kaju Asam, Pokok asam jawa (in Indonesia and Malaysia)
- Tamarind (in Japan)
- Hamer (Saudi Arabia)
Nutritional value of Tamarind
According to the USDA, tamarind benefits are due to nutrients like fiber, carbohydrate, iron, protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, etc (2).
|Compound||Amounts per 100 g.|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.6 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||5.1 g|
|Iron, Fe||2.8 mg|
|Vitamin C||3.5 mg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.14 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.06 mg|
|Vitamin A, RAE||2 µg|
|Vitamin A, IU||30 IU|
|Vitamin K||2.8 µg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.27 g|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||0.18 g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||0.059 g|
Some of the tamarind benefits are as follows
1. Rich in nutrients
Tamarind benefits are because of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and β‐carotenoids, tartaric, malic, and citric acids as well as sugars. Thus tamarind consumption can prevent the risk of scurvy and pellagra in humans (3).
2. Antimicrobial properties
Tamarind is highly effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Bacillus subtilis, and Listeria monocytogenes. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas sp., and Salmonella sp (4).
3. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties
Tamarind contains alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, triterpenes, saponins, steroids glycosides, and polyphenols. These compounds help to treat body pain, stomach pain, and throat pain. It also treats eye inflammation, bronchitis, etc (5).
4. Treat obesity and atherosclerosis
Tamarind (15 mg/kg body weight) contains polyphenolic and flavonoid compounds that help to decrease body weight (6). It also reduces cholesterol, triglycerides levels, and prevents fat accumulation in the arteries. Apart from this, it also increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels (7).
5. Reduce blood pressure
Tamarind benefits also include lowering blood pressure (8).
6. Treat Arthritis and Septic arthritis
Arthritis is a joint disorder caused by the degradation of bone and cartilage. Tamarind seed contains procyanidin B2, catechin, rutin, and embelin. It can protect bone and cartilage, reduces inflammation, and associated stress (9).
Septic arthritis is a painful infection in a joint caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Tamarind leaves contain vitamin C, α-carotene, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These compounds help to treat septic arthritis not only in animals but also in human beings (10).
7. Keep skin healthy
Tamarind seed contains a high amount of phenolic content that acts as a skin lightener agent. This seed inhibits melanin production and lightens dark patches thus treating hyperpigmentation (11). Besides tamarind seed extract, loaded cream increases the water content in the skin and reduces facial wrinkles. This water content provides a smoother look and protects the skin from aging (12).
8. Treat diabetes
Tamarind seed ingestion helps to reduce blood sugar levels. Also, the continued intake of these seed extracts for the long term restores the enzymes to a normal level that causes diabetes (13). Furthermore, tamarind seed also helps to treat metabolic syndrome due to its improved insulin action (14).
9. Antioxidant properties
Tamarind seed contains a good amount of polyphenols that enhance antioxidant activities. It also protects against oxidative damage (15). Also, tamarind fruit is rich in polyphenolic content which regulates neutrophils thus protecting it from various infections (16).
10. Treat indigestion
Tamarind fruit contains a high amount of malic acid, tartaric acid, and potassium content. This compound acts as a laxative agent that loses stools and increased bowel movements thus treat constipation. Apart from this, its seeds are the most abundant source of xyloglucan and soluble fiber in nature. It helps to treat abdominal pain, heal ulcerative colitis, and enhance appetite (17).
11. Treat diarrhea
Tamarind is an excellent source of flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, cyanogenic glycosides, and anthraquinones. These compounds show antibacterial activity against diarrhea-causing bacteria (18). Thus, tamarind helps to relax muscles, treat diarrhea and dysentery (19).
12. Treat ulcer
Peptic ulcer (mucosal damage) is painful gastrointestinal damage in the stomach and duodenum. Polyphenolic compounds, mainly procyanidin, epicatechin, and polymeric tannins found in tamarind seed prevent the development of an ulcer (20).
13. Protect the liver
14. Treat anemia
Tamarind leaves contain flavonoids, phenols, and iron which help to increase hemoglobin and RBC count in anemic rats (23).
15. Treat Alzheimer’s disease and clotting disorders
Tamarind bark and seed both can treat Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting cholinesterase enzyme activity. Furthermore, tamarind also helps to dissolve blood clots from the brain (24).
16. Good for the eye
Tamarind seed polysaccharides and hydrogel are very useful as eye drops. It helps to relieve important problems of eyes such as dry eye syndrome, glaucoma, ocular burning, trouble blinking, and sensation (25). This polysaccharide also promotes corneal wound healing and treats bacterial keratitis (infection of the cornea that is caused by bacteria) (26).
17. Reduce fluoride toxicity
Fluoride mainly found in drinking water can harm health. Tamarind leaves and fruit decreases plasma fluoride concentration and ameliorate fluoride-induced liver and kidney damage (27).
Side effect of tamarind
A research study suggested that long-term use of tamarind pulp does not cause any side effects thus recognized as safe and well-tolerated (28). However, another study shows that a high dosage of tamarind for a long time may cause liver damage and dental erosion (29).
Moreover, tamarind seed contains tannin and other compounds that make digestion difficult. Therefore, it is suggested to consume it after boiling or waiting inside the water (30).
How does tamarind taste like?
Tamarind taste is sour, sweet, cool, and sharp, due to the presence of high amounts of reducing sugars and tartaric acid.
Is Tamarind good for weight loss?
Tamarind contains trypsin inhibitors that decrease food intake and suppress inflammation. Also, they contain flavonoids and polyphenols that could be responsible for weight reduction (31).
How much tamarind should I eat daily?
There is no recommended dosage available for tamarind, it can be used as per your requirement. However, 10 g tamarind daily is best to reduce the excess fluoride content in the body (32).
Is Tamarind harmful to health?
Nope, tamarind is safe and well tolerable in a low amount. But intake of the long term may cause dental and liver problems.