Tag Archives: Curry Tree

Kaffir Lime

Botanical Name : Citrus hystrix DC., Rutaceae),
Family: Rutaceae
Other Names:Kieffer lime, Thai lime, wild lime, makrut, or magrood,
Burmese: shauk-nu
Indonesian: jerk purut, jeruk sambal
Malay:
duan limau purut
Philippino: swangi
Thai: makrut, som makrut

The leaves of this member of the citrus family are responsible for the distinctive lime-lemon aroma and flavour that are an indispensable part of Thai and, to a lesser extent, Indonesian cooking.

Description:
The leaves of the kaffir lime tree are a dark green color with a glossy sheen. They come in two parts: the top leaflet is lightly pointed at its tip and is attached to another leaflet beneath that is broader on its upper edge. The size of the leaves can vary quite a bit, from less than an inch to several inches long.

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The fruit is dark green and round, with a distinct nipple on the stem end. It has a thick rind, knobby and wrinkled, and one of its common names is ‘porcupine orange’. As the fruit becomes older, the color fades to a lighter, yellowish green. Though the juice is infrequently use in cooking, the zest of the rind is often used for making curry pastes.
The leaves and rind have a perfume unlike any other citrus, sometimes called mysterious or haunting. There is a combined lemon/lime/madarin aroma but clearly an identity of its own.

Culinary Uses
Kaffir lime leaves are precious to many Thai dishes, from soups and salads to curries and stir-fried dishes. They blend blend with lemon grass and lime juice in tom yam to give the soup its wholesome lemony essence. In soupy dishes, add the leaves whole or torn into smaller pieces, using them as one would bay leaves to flavour broth or stew.

Salads or garnishes require fresh leaves. Dried leaves cannot be substituted. The leaves, when young and tender, are finely shredded and added to salads and sprinkled over curries for a burst of flavour. Being rather thick, they must be cut very fine, like threads, and the thick mid-rib removed. To sliver kaffir lime leaves finely, stack three to four leaves of similar size together and slice them very thinly with a sharp knife. It is faster to cut diagonally , which gives the hands better leverage, or roll a few leaves at a time into a tight roll before slicing. If fresh kaffir lime leaves are not available, use the tender new leaves of lime, lemon or grapefruit. They won’t have the same fragrance but are preferable to using dried kaffir lime leaves in some dishes.

When making a soup or stock, whole fresh or dried leaves may be added, as they are removed after cooking. Finely chopped fresh or crumbled dry kaffir lime leaves are used in dishes like tom yum, strir fries and curries, especially those containing coconut cream. The flavour also combines well with basil, cardamom, chiles, cilantro, cumin, curry leaves, lemon grass, galangal, ginger, mint, tamarind, turmeric and coconut milk.

Though the juice is seldom used in cooking, the peel of the fruit, with its high concentration of aromatic oils, is indispensable in many curry pastes and is one reason why Thai curries taste refreshingly unique. The zest also imparts a wonderful piquant flavour to such delectable favorites as fried fish cakes, and it blends in powerfully with such spicy, chile-laden stews as “jungle soup” (gkaeng bpah). Because it’s strong flavour can over power the more subtle ones in a dish, the rind should be used sparingly, grated or chopped finely and reduced in a mortar with other paste ingredients until indistinguishable..

Kaffir lime is used extensively in Thai cooking. Both the zest and leaves are very useful. The fruit looks like wrinkled lime, big wrinkles. Thai people believed the juice is excellent hair rinse to prevent hair from falling out. The zest of the lime is an ingredient in red curry paste.

The juice is rarely used in Thai cooking, but the zest is common.

Recently, Thai growers have developed and started growing a kaffir lime without wrinkles that is easier to pack and ship around the world.
The leaf look like any citrus leaf, but it has two connecting leaves. I often call it the double leaf. Many recipes calls for its leaves. If the leaf is used whole, in soup, most people do not eat the leaf itself. The only time the leaf is eaten is when it sliced very thin for recipes like Tod Mun.

Medicinal Properties
The citrus juice used to be included in Thai ointments and shampoos, and in tonics in Malaysia. Kaffir lime shampoo leaves the hair squeaky clean and invigorates the scalp. Kaffir lime has also been used for ages as a natural bleach to remove tough stains.

The essential oils in the fruit are incorporated into various ointments, and the rind is an ingredient in medical tonics believed to be good for the blood. Like lemon grass and galangal, the rind is also known to have beneficial properties for the digestive system.

In folk medicine, the juice of kaffir lime is said to promote gum health and is recommended for use in brushing teeth and gums. It is believed to freshen one’s mental outlook and ward off evil spirits

The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and can be stored frozen.

The juice and rinds of the kaffir lime are used in traditional Indonesian medicine; for this reason the fruit is sometimes referred to in Indonesia as jeruk obat – literally “medicine citrus”. The oil from the rind has strong insecticidal properties.

The zest of the fruit is widely used in creole cuisine and to impart flavor to “arranged” rums in the Réunion island and Madagascar.

Storage
The leaves may be recognized by their distinctive two sections. For simmering in soups or curries the leaves are used whole. Frozen or dried leaves may be used for simmering if fresh leaves are not available. The finely grated rind of the lumpy-skinned fruit has its own special fragrance. If you can obtain fresh kaffir limes, they freeze well enclosed in freezer bags and will keep indefinitely in that state. Just grate a little rind off the frozen lime and replace lime in freezer until next required. The leaves freeze well too. dried kaffir lime leaves should be green, not yellow, and are best kept under the same conditions as other dried herbs. They will keep for about 12 months in an airtight pack, out of light, heat and humidity.

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Resources:

http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/kaffir.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaffir_lime

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/67460/

Curry Leaves

Botanical Name : Murraya koenigii
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Murraya
Species: M. koenigii
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Syninyms: Bergera koenigii, Chalcas koenigii

Common Names: Curry Tree or Curry-leaf Tree,The Curry Tree  (Tamil: karivepallai, Malayalam: kariveppila, Kannada: karibevina soppu, Konkani:  karibeva paallo, Telugu: karivepaku , kadipatta, Bengali:  Kari Gaas)  It produces the leaves known as Curry leaves or Sweet Neem leaves. Karivepillai in Tamil means black neem as the appearance of the leaves look similar to the neem leaves.

The small and narrow leaves somewhat resemble the leaves of the Neem tree; therefore they are also referred to as Kadhi Patta (Hindi), Mithho Limdo (Gujarati) Kadhielimba (Marathi), (Patta meaning leaf and Kadhi being a popular dish that consists of a thin soup or stew made from yogurt, among dishes this leaf is used to spice) Karivepaku in Telugu (aaku means leaf), Karuveppilai (translated to Black Neem leaf) in Tamil and Malayalam, Karu/Kari meaning black, ilai meaning leaves and veppilai meaning Neem leaf. In the Kannada language it is known as Kari Bevu. Other names include Karivepaku Karuveppilai, noroxingha (Assamese), Bhursunga Patra (Oriya), and Karapincha (Sinhalese).

Habitat: .The curry tree is native to India; today, it is found wild or become wild again, almost everywhere in the Indian subcontinent excluding the higher levels of the Himalayas. In the East, its range extends into Burma.

The name curry plant is often used for Helichrysum italicum (Asteraceae), a relative of immortelle; several subspecies grow in the European Mediterranean countries. The essential oil shows considerable infraspecific variation; its main components are monoterpene hydrocarbons (pinene, camphene, myrcene, limonene) and monoterpene-derived alcohols (linalool, terpinene-4-ol, nerol, geraniol, also their acetates); further important aroma components are nonterpenoid acyclic β-ketones, which give rise to a somewhat disagreeable flavour (e.g., 2,5,7-trimethyldec-2-en-6,8-dione, 2,5,7,9-tetramethyldec-2-en-6,8-dione, 2,5,7,9-tetramethylhendec-2-en-6,8-dione, 3,5-dimethyloctan-4,6-dione, 2,4-dimethylheptan-3,5-dione).

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Plant family:  Rutaceae (citrus family).

Description:
It is a small tree, growing 4-6 m tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm broad. They are highly aromatic. The flowers are small white, and fragrant. The small black, shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous.

The species name commemorates the botanist Johann König.

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Uses:
The leaves are highly valued as seasoning in South Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, much like bay leaves and especially in curries with fish or coconut milk[citation needed]. They are also used as an ingredient in the popular marathi dish karhi. In their fresh form, they have a short shelf life though they may be stored in a freezer for quite some time; however, this can result in a loss of their flavour[original research?]. They are also available dried, though the aroma is much inferior.

The leaves of Murraya koenigii are also used as a herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Their properties include much value as an antidiabetic, antioxidant,  antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-hypercholesterolemic etc. Curry leaves are also known to be good for hair, for keeping them healthy and long .

Although most commonly used in curries, leaves from the Curry Tree can be used in many other dishes to add spice.

Propagation:
Seeds must be planted fresh; dried or shriveled fruits are not viable. Plant either the whole fruit (or remove the pulp) in potting mix and keep moist but not wet.
Sensory quality:
Fresh and pleasant, remotely reminiscent of tangerines.

Main constituents:
Fresh leaves are rich in an essential oil, but the exact amount depends besides freshness and genetic strain also on the extraction technique. Typical figures run from 0.5 to 2.7%.

The following aroma components have been identified in curry leaves of Sri Lanka (in parentheses, the content in mg/kg fresh leaves): β-caryophyllene (2.6 ppm), β-gurjunene (1.9), β-elemene (0.6), β-phellandrene (0.5), β-thujene (0.4), α-selinene (0.3), β-bisabolene (0.3), furthermore limonene, β-trans-ocimene and β-cadinene (0.2 ppm). (Phytochemistry, 21, 1653, 1982)

Newer work has shown a large variability of the composition of the essential oil of curry leaves. In North Indian plants, monoterpenes prevail (β-phellandrene, α-pinene, β-pinene), whereas South Indian samples yielded sesquiterpenes: β-caryophyllene, aromadendrene, α-selinene. (Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 17, 144, 2002)

Uses:   Its leaves are highly aromatic and are used as an herb. Their form is small and narrow and somewhat resemble the leaves of the Neem tree; therefore they are also referred to as Kari Bevu, translated to Black Neem, in the Kannada language and Karivepaku in Telugu again translating to the same meaning. In Tamil and Malayalam it is known as Karuveppilai, ilai meaning leaves. Other names include Kari Patta (Hindi), Kadi Patta (Marathi), Limda(Gujarati) and Karapincha (Sinhalese).

They are commonly used as seasoning in Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, much like bay leaves and especially in curries with fish or coconut milk. In their fresh form, they have a short shelf life and may be stored in a freezer for up to a week; they are also available dried, although the aroma is clearly much inferior.

Curry leaves are extensively used in Southern India and Sri Lanka (and are absolutely necessary for the authentic flavour), but are also of some importance in Northern India. Together with South Indian immigrants, curry leaves reached Malaysia, South Africa and Réunion island. Outside the Indian sphere of influence, they are rarely found.

In Burma, however, a completely different definition of “curry” is in use: Burmese “curries” owe their flavour to a fried paste of ground onions and other spices (see onion for details). Lastly, in Indonesia, any spicy food may be termed a curry (kari in Indonesian). Sometimes, one even hears about Ethiopian (see long pepper) or Caribbean “curries”, whatever this may mean (except, perhaps, the least common denominator of all those: Spiciness).

Medicinal Uses:-

Said to be tonic and stomachic.  In India, the young leaves are taken for dysentery and diarrhea.   The leaves and the stem are used as a tonic, stimulant and carminative.   An infusion of the toasted leaves is anti-emetic.  A paste of the bark and roots is applied to bruises and poisonous bites.  The seeds are used to make a medicinal oil called ‘zimbolee oil.’  Fresh juice of the leaves mixed with lemon juice and sugar is prescribed for digestive disorders, and eating 10 curry leaves every morning for 3 months is thought to cure hereditary diabetes.  A few drops of the juice are believed to keep eyes bright.  A liberal intake of curry leaves impedes premature greying of the hair.  The leaves, boiled in coconut oil, are massaged into the scalp to promote hair growth and retain color.  The leaves may also be used as a poultice to help heal burns and wounds.  Juice from the berries may be mixed with lime juice and applied to soothe insect bites and stings.

Curry leaves possess the qualities of herbal tonic.They strengthen the functions of stomach. and promots its action.They are also used as a mild laxative.The leaves may be taken mixed with other mild testing herbs. The juice extracted from 15 grams of leaves may be taken with buttermilk.

Digestive Disorders:
Fresh juice of curry leaves and sugar,is an effective medicine for morning sickness,vomiting and nausea due to indigestion and excessive use of fats.One or two teaspoon of juice leaves mixed with teaspoon of lime juice may be taken in these conditions.The curry leaves ground to a fine paste and mixed with buttermilk can be taken in an empty stomach with beneficial results in case of stomach upsets.

Tender curry leaves are used in diarrhoea,dysentry and piles.They should be taken mixed with honey.The bark of the tree is also useful in bilious vomiting.A teaspoon of powder or decoction of the dry bark should be given with cold water in this condition.

Diabetes: Eating 10 fresh fully grown curry leaves every morning for three months is said to prevent diabetes due to heredity factors. It can cure diabetes due to obesity as the leaves have weight reducing properities.

Kidney Disorders:The root of the curry plant also has medicinal properities.The juice of the root can be taken to relieve pain associated with kindeys.

Premature Greying of Hair: Liberal intake of curry leaves is considered beneficial in preventing premature greying of hairs.These leaves have the properity of naurishing the hair roots.New hair roots that grow are healther with normal pigments.The leaves can be used in the form of CUTNEY or the juice may be squeezed and taken in buttermilk or lassi.

Burns and Bruises:
Curry leaves can be effectively used to treat burns,bruises and skin eruptions.They should be applied as a poultice over the affected areas.

Eye Disorders:
Fresh juice of curry leaves suffused in the eyes makes them look bright.It also prevents the early development of cataract.

Insect Bites: Fruits of tree,which are berries,are edible,They are green when raw but purple when ripe.Juice of these barries, mixed with equal proportion of lime juice is an effective fluid for external application in insect stings and bites of poisonous creatures.

Hair Tonic: When leaves are boiled with coconut oil till they are reduced to blackened residue, the oil forms an excellent hair tonic to stimulate hair growth and in retaining the natural pigmentation.

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Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Help taken from:h,ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curry_leaves http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Murr_koe.html and Herbs That Heal

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

 

Asafoetida

Botanical Name : Ferula asafoetida
Family:    Apiaceae
Genus:    Ferula
Species:    F. assa-foetida
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Apiales
Common Names : Asafoetida , devil’s dung, food of the gods, hing, narthex

It has several Names
Asafetida, Assafetida, Assafoetida, Devil’s Dung, Devil’s Durt, Food of the Gods (Persian), Laser (Roman), Stinking Gum
French: assa foetida, ferulr perisque
German: Asafotida, Stinkender Asant
Italian: assafetida
Spanish: asafetida

Ferula foetida

Ferula foetida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Afghan: kama-i-anguza
Indian: hing, hingu, heeng
Tamil: perunkaya,   Bengali :Hing

Asafoetida gets its name from the Persian aza, for mastic or resin, and the Latin foetidus, for stinking. It is a gum that is from the sap of the roots and stem of the ferula species, a giant fennel that exudes a vile odour. Early records mention that Alexander the Great carried this “stink finger” west in 4 BC. It was used as a spice in ancient Rome, and although not native to India, it has been used in Indian medicine and cookery for ages. It was believed that asafoetida enhanced singers voices. In the days of the Mughal aristocracy, the court singers if Agra and Delhi would eat a spoonful of asafoetida with butter and practice on the banks of the river Yamuna.

Plant Details and it’s Cultivation
Asafoetida is grown chiefly in Iran and Afghanistan from where it is exported to the rest of the world. In India it is cultivated in Kashmir. It is a perennial fennel that grows wild to 3.6 metres (12 ft) high, in large natural forests where little else grows. It bears fine leaves and yellow flowers. The roots are thick and pulpy and also yield a similar resin to that of the stems. All parts of the plant have the distinctive fetid smell. In March and April, just before flowering, the stalks are cut close to the root. A milky liquid oozes out, which dries to form a resin. This is collected and a fresh cut is made. This procedure lasts for about three months from the first incision, by which time the plant has yielded up to two pounds of resin and the root has dried up.

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Asafoetida is a hard resinous gum, grayish-white when fresh, darkening with age to yellow, red and eventually brown. It is sold in blocks or pieces as a gum and more frequently as a fine yellow powder, sometimes crystalline or granulated.
Bouquet: a pungent smell of rotting onions or sulfur. The smell dissipates with cooking.
Flavour: on its own, extremely unpleasant, like concentrated rotten garlic. When cooked, it adds an onion-like flavour.
Hotness Scale: 0

To make and store:

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It is vital to keep asafoetida in airtight containers as its sulfurous odour will effect other foods and spices. It is most commonly available as a powder or granules that can be added directly to the cooking pot. It is also sold in lumps that need to be crushed before using. This is a very powerful spice and even in its ground state lasts well over a year if stored properly, away from light and air.

Cultivation and manufacture:
The resin-like gum comes from the dried sap extracted from the stem and roots and is used as a spice. The resin is greyish-white when fresh but dries to a dark amber colour. The asafoetida resin is difficult to grate and is traditionally crushed between stones or with a hammer. Today, the most commonly available form is compounded asafoetida, a fine powder containing 30% asafoetida resin, along with rice flour and gum arabic.

Ferula assafoetida is a monoecious, herbaceous, perennial plant of the family Apiaceae. It grows to 2 m (7 ft) high, with a circular mass of 30–40 cm (12–16 in) leaves. Stem leaves have wide sheathing petioles. Flowering stems are 2.5–3 m (8–10 ft) high and 10 cm (4 in) thick and hollow, with a number of schizogenous ducts in the cortex containing the resinous gum. Flowers are pale greenish yellow produced in large compound umbels. Fruits are oval, flat, thin, reddish brown and have a milky juice. Roots are thick, massive, and pulpy. They yield a resin similar to that of the stems. All parts of the plant have the distinctive fetid smell.

Edible Uses:
Use in minute quantities, adding directly to cooking liquid, frying in oil, or steeping in water. Asafoetida is used mostly in Indian vegetarian cooking, in which the strong onion-garlic flavour enhances many dishes, especially those of Brahmin and Jain castes where onions and garlic are prohibited. It is used mostly in south and west India, though it does not grow there. It is used in many lentil dishes (often to prevent flatulence), vegetarian soups and pickles. It is also suited to many fish dishes and some pappadums are seasoned with asafoetida.

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Constituents:  Typical asafoetida contains about 40–64% resin, 25% endogeneous gum, 10–17% volatile oil, and 1.5–10% ash. The resin portion is known to contain asaresinotannols ‘A’ and ‘B’, ferulic acid, umbelliferone and four unidentified compounds.
Medicinal Uses:
*Antiflatulent. Asafoetida reduces the growth of indigenous microflora in the gut, reducing flatulence.[8] In the Jammu region of India, asafoetida is used as a medicine for flatulence and constipation by 60% of locals.

*A digestion aid. In Thailand and India, it is used to aid digestion and is smeared on the abdomen in an alcohol or water tincture known as mahahing.  Assafoetida in this tincture form was evidently used in western medicine as a topical treatment for abdominal injuries during the 18th and 19th centuries, although when it came into use in the West and how long it remained in use is uncertain. One notable case in which it was used is that of Canadian Coureur des bois Alexis St. Martin, who in 1822 suffered a severe abdominal injury from an accidental shooting that perforated his right lung and stomach and shattered several ribs. St Martin was treated by American army surgeon William Beaumont, who subsequently used St Martin as the subject of a pioneering series of experiments in gastric physiology. When St Martin’s wounds had healed, there remained an open fistula into his stomach that enabled Beaumont to insert various types of food directly into St Martin’s stomach and record the results. In his account of his treatment of and later experiments on St Martin, Beaumont recorded that he treated the suppurating chest wound with a combination of wine mixed with diluted muriatic acid and 30-40 drops of tincture of asafoetida applied three times a day, and that this appeared to have the desired effect, helping the wound to heal.

*Fighting influenza: Asafoetida was used in 1918 to fight the Spanish influenza pandemic. In 2009, researchers reported that the roots of Asafoetida produce natural antiviral drug compounds that demonstrated potency against the H1N1 virus in vitro and concluded that “sesquiterpene coumarins from F. assa-foetida may serve as promising lead compounds for new drug development against influenza A (H1N1) viral infection”.

*Remedy for asthma and bronchitis. It is also said  to be helpful in cases of asthma and bronchitis. A folk tradition remedy for children’s colds: it is mixed into a pungent-smelling paste and hung in a bag around the afflicted child’s neck.
An antimicrobial: Asafoetida has a broad range of uses in traditional medicine as an antimicrobial, with well documented uses for treating chronic bronchitis and whooping cough, as well as reducing flatulence.

*A contraceptive/abortifacient: Asafoetida has also been reported to have contraceptive/abortifacient activity,. It is related to (and considered an inferior substitute for) the ancient Ferula species Silphium.

*Antiepileptic: Asafoetida oleo-gum-resin has been reported to be antiepileptic in classical Unani, as well as ethnobotanical literature.

*Balancing the vata and kapha. In India according to the Ayurveda, asafoetida is considered to be one of the best spices for balancing the vata dosha. It mitigates vata and kapha, relieves flatulence and colic pain. It is pungent in taste and at the end of digestion. It aggravates pitta, enhances appetite, taste and digestion. It is easy to digest.

*Antidote for opium. Asafoetida has only been speculated to be an antidote for opium.

*Acifidity Bag. Asafoetida was approved by the US Pharmacopedia to stave off the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 that killed millions worldwide. It was placed into pouches called “acifidity bags” that were provided by drug stores to be hung around the neck to try to prevent catching the disease.
Other uses

Other Uses:
*Bait: John C Duval reported in 1936 that the odour of asafoetida is attractive to the wolf, a matter of common knowledge, he says, along the Texas–Mexico border. It is also used as one of several possible scent baits, most notably for catfish and pike.

*May also be used as a moth (Lepidoptera) light trap attractant by collectors—when mixed by approximately 1 part to 3 parts with a sweet, fruit jelly.

*Repelling spirits: In Jamaica, asafoetida is traditionally applied to a baby’s anterior fontanel (Jamaican patois mole) to prevent spirits (Jamaican patois duppies) from entering the baby through the fontanel. In the African-American Hoodoo tradition, asafoetida is used in magic spells, as it is believed to have the power both to protect and to curse.

*In ceremonial magick, especially from The Key of Solomon the King, it is used to protect the magus from daemonic forces and to evoke the same and bind them

Side Effects:
The uncooked herb can cause nausea and vomiting. Using asafoetida over long periods may cause throat irritation, gas, diarrhea, and burning urination. This herb should be avoided during pregnancy. It may affect the menstrual cycle, and it is known to induce miscarriage.

Known Hazards :  Do not use orally. Avoid during pregnancy as possible increased bleeding. Topical use may cause skin irritation

Availability:If you want to buy on line you may click on this link.

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Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asafoetida

Encylopedia of spices,

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail415.php

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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Tamarind

Botanical Name : Tamarindus indica
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Tribe: Detarieae
Genus: Tamarindus
Species: T. indica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Imlee. Tamarindus officinalis (Hook).
Common Names: Tamarind, Imli, Tantul in Bengali

Part Used: The fruits freed from brittle outer part of pericarp.

Habitat:Tamarind is native to India; tropical Africa; cultivated in West Indies.

Description:  Of all the fruit trees of the tropics, none is more widely distributed nor more appreciated as an ornamental than the tamarind, Tamarindus indica L. (syns. T. occidentalis Gaertn.; T. officinalis Hook.), of the family Leguminosae. Most of its colloquial names are variations on the common English term. In Spanish and Portuguese, it is tamarindo; in French, tamarin, tamarinier, tamarinier des Indes, or tamarindier; in Dutch and German, tamarinde; in Italian, tamarandizio; in Papiamiento of the Lesser Antilles, tamarijn. In the Virgin Islands, it is sometimes called taman; in the Philippines, sampalok or various other dialectal names; in Malaya, asam jawa; in India, it is tamarind or ambli, imli, chinch, etc.; in Cambodia, it is ampil or khoua me; in Laos, mak kham; in Thailand, ma-kharm; in Vietnam, me. The name “tamarind” with a qualifying adjective is often applied to other members of the family Leguminosae having somewhat similar foliage.

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The tamarind, a slow-growing, long-lived, massive tree reaches, under favorable conditions, a height of 80 or even 100 ft (24-30 m), and may attain a spread of 40 ft (12 m) and a trunk circumference of 25 ft (7.5 m). It is highly wind-resistant, with strong, supple branches, gracefully drooping at the ends, and has dark-gray, rough, fissured bark. The mass of bright-green, fine, feathery foliage is composed of pinnate leaves, 3 to 6 in (7.5-15 cm) in length, each having 10 to 20 pairs of oblong leaflets 1/2 to 1 in (1.25-2.5 cm) long and 1/5 to 1/4 in (5-6 mm) wide, which fold at night. The leaves are normally evergreen but may be shed briefly in very dry areas during the hot season. Inconspicuous, inch-wide flowers, borne in small racemes, are 5-petalled (2 reduced to bristles), yellow with orange or red streaks. The flowerbuds are distinctly pink due to the outer color of the 4 sepals which are shed when the flower opens.

The fruits, flattish, beanlike, irregularly curved and bulged pods, are borne in great abundance along the new branches and usually vary from 2 to 7 in long and from 3/4 to 1 1/4 in (2-3.2 cm) in diameter. Exceptionally large tamarinds have been found on individual trees. The pods may be cinnamon-brown or grayish-brown externally and, at first, are tender-skinned with green, highly acid flesh and soft, whitish, under-developed seeds. As they mature, the pods fill out somewhat and the juicy, acidulous pulp turns brown or reddish-brown. Thereafter, the skin becomes a brittle, easily-cracked shell and the pulp dehydrates naturally to a sticky paste enclosed by a few coarse strands of fiber extending lengthwise from the stalk. 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 parchmentlike membrane.

A mature tree may annually produce 330 to 500 lbs (150-225 kg) of fruits, of which the pulp may constitute 30 to 55%, the shells and fiber, 11 to 30 %, and the seeds, 33 to 40%

Food use :

The food uses of the tamarind are many. The tender, immature, very sour pods are cooked as seasoning with rice, fish and meats in India. The fully-grown, but still unripe fruits, called “swells” in the Bahamas, are roasted in coals until they burst and the skin is then peeled back and the sizzling pulp dipped in wood ashes and eaten. The fully ripe, fresh fruit is relished out-of-hand by children and adults, alike. The dehydrated fruits are easily recognized when picking by their comparatively light weight, hollow sound when tapped and the cracking of the shell under gentle pressure. The shell lifts readily from the pulp and the lengthwise fibers are removed by holding the stem with one hand and slipping the pulp downward with the other. The pulp is made into a variety of products. It is an important ingredient in chutneys, curries and sauces, including some brands of Worcestershire and barbecue sauce, and in a special Indian seafood pickle called “tamarind fish”. Sugared tamarind pulp is often prepared as a confection. For this purpose, it is desirable to separate the pulp from the seeds without using water. If ripe, fresh, undehydrated tamarinds are available, this may be done by pressing the shelled and defibered fruits through a colander while adding powdered sugar to the point where the pulp no longer sticks to the fingers. The seeded pulp is then shaped into balls and coated with powdered sugar. If the tamarinds are dehydrated, it is less laborious to layer the shelled fruits with granulated sugar in a stone crock and bake in a moderately warm oven for about 4 hours until the sugar is melted, then the mass is rubbed through a sieve, mixed with sugar to a stiff paste, and formed into patties. This sweetmeat is commonly found on the market in Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. In Panama, the pulp may be sold in corn husks, palmleaf fiber baskets, or in plastic bags.

Tamarind ade has long been a popular drink in the Tropics and it is now bottled in carbonated form in Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and elsewhere. Formulas for the commercial production of spiced tamarind beverages have been developed by technologists in India. The simplest 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 vigorously. For a richer beverage, a quantity of shelled tamarinds may be covered with a hot sugar sirup and allowed to stand several days (with or without the addition of seasonings such as cloves, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, pepper or lime slices) and finally diluted as desired with ice water and strained.

In Brazil, a quantity of shelled fruits may be covered with cold water and allowed to stand 10 to 12 hours, the seeds are strained out, and a cup of sugar is added for every 2 cups of pulp; the mixture is boiled for 15 to 20 minutes and then put up in glass jars topped with paraffin. In another method, shelled tamarinds with an equal quantity of sugar may be covered with water and boiled for a few minutes until stirring shows that the pulp has loosened from the seeds, then pressed through a sieve. The strained pulp, much like apple butter in appearance, can be stored under refrigeration for use in cold drinks or as a sauce for meats and poultry, plain cakes or puddings. A foamy “tamarind shake” is made by stirring this sauce into an equal amount of dark-brown sugar and then adding a tablespoonful of the mixture to 8 ounces of a plain carbonated beverage and whipping it in an electric blender.

If twice as much water as tamarinds is used in cooking, the strained product will be a sirup rather than a sauce. Sometimes a little soda is added. Tamarind sirup is bottled for domestic use and export in Puerto Rico. In Mayaguez, street vendors sell cones of shaved ice saturated with tamarind sirup. Tamarind pulp can be made into a tart jelly, and tamarind jam is canned commercially in Costa Rica. Tamarind sherbet and ice cream are popular and refreshing. In making fruit preserves, tamarind is sometimes combined with guava, papaya or banana. Sometimes the fruit is made into wine.

Inasmuch as shelling by hand is laborious and requires 8 man-hours to produce 100 lbs (45 kg) of shelled fruits, food technologists at the University of Puerto Rico have developed a method of pulp extraction for industrial use. They found that shelling by mechanical means alone is impossible because of the high pectin and low moisture content of the pulp. Therefore, inspected and washed pods are passed through a shell-breaking grater, then fed into stainless steel tanks equipped with agitators. Water is added at the ratio of 1:1 1/2 or 1:2 pulp/water, and the fruits are agitated for 5 to 7 minutes. The resulting mash is then passed through a screen while nylon brushes separate the shells and seeds. Next the pulp is paddled through a finer screen, pasteurized, and canned.

Young leaves and very young seedlings and flowers are cooked and eaten as greens and in curries in India. In Zimbabwe, the leaves are added to soup and the flowers are an ingredient in salads.

Tamarind seeds have been used in a limited way as emergency food. They are roasted, soaked to remove the seedcoat, then boiled or fried, or ground to a flour or starch. Roasted seeds are ground and used as a substitute for, or adulterant of, coffee. In Thailand they are sold for this purpose. In the past, the great bulk of seeds available as a by-product of processing tamarinds, has gone to waste. In 1942, two Indian scientists, T. P. Ghose and S. Krishna, announced that the decorticated kernels contained 46 to 48% of a gel-forming substance. Dr. G. R. Savur of the Pectin Manufacturing Company, Bombay, patented a process for the production of a purified product, called “Jellose”, “polyose”, or “pectin”, which has been found superior to fruit pectin in the manufacture of jellies, jams, and marmalades. It can be used in fruit preserving with or without acids and gelatinizes with sugar concentrates even in cold water or milk. It is recommended as a stabilizer in ice cream, mayonnaise and cheese and as an ingredient or agent in a number of pharmaceutical products.

Food Value

Analyses of the pulp are many and varied. Roughly, they show the pulp to be rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine and riboflavin and a good source of niacin. Ascorbic acid content is low except in the peel of young green fruits.

Other Uses

Fruit pulp: in West Africa, an infusion of the whole pods is added to the dye when coloring goat hides. The fruit pulp may be used as a fixative with turmeric or annatto in dyeing and has served to coagulate rubber latex. The pulp, mixed with sea water, cleans silver, copper and brass.

Leaves: The leaves are eaten by cattle and goats, and furnish fodder for silkworms–Anaphe sp. in India, Hypsoides vuilletii in West Africa. The fine silk is considered superior for embroidery.

Tamarind leaves and flowers are useful as mordants in dyeing. A yellow dye derived from the leaves colors wool red and turns indigo-dyed silk to green. Tamarind leaves in boiling water are employed to bleach the leaves of the buri palm (Corypha elata Roxb.) to prepare them for hat-making. The foliage is a common mulch for tobacco plantings.

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. It is exported to Japan, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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. The tannin-rich seedcoat (testa) is under investigation as having some utility as an adhesive for plywoods and in dyeing and tanning, though it is of inferior quality and gives a red hue to leather.

Wood: The sapwood of the tamarind tree is pale-yellow. 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, planking for sides of boats, wells, mallets, knife and tool handles, rice pounders, mortars and pestles. It has at times been sold as “Madeira mahogany”. Wide boards are rare, despite the trunk dimensions of old trees, since they tend to become hollow-centered. 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. In Malaysia, even though the trees are seldom felled, they are frequently topped to obtain firewood. The wood ashes are employed in tanning and in de-hairing goatskins. Young stems and also slender roots of the tamarind tree are fashioned into walking-sticks.

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. Galls on the young branches are used in tanning.

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. If it is not seen as a useful byproduct, tamarind growers trim off the resinous twigs and discard them.

Medicinal Uses:

Medicinal uses of the tamarind are uncountable. The pulp has been official in the British and American and most other pharmacopoeias and some 200,000 lbs (90,000 kg) of the shelled fruits have been annually imported into the United States for the drug trade, primarily from the Lesser Antilles and Mexico. The European supply has come largely from Calcutta, Egypt and the Greater Antilles. 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, even for elephants, and as a remedy for biliousness and bile disorders, and as an antiscorbutic. In native practice, 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, further, administered to alleviate sunstroke, Datura poisoning, and alcoholic intoxication. In Southeast Asia, the fruit is prescribed to counteract the ill effects of overdoses of false chaulmoogra, Hydnocarpus anthelmintica Pierre, given in leprosy. The pulp is said to aid the restoration of sensation in cases of paralysis. In Colombia, an ointment made of tamarind pulp, butter, and other ingredients is used to rid domestic animals of vermin.

Tamarindpepper rasam is also considered an effective home remedy for a cold in South India. Dilute 50 mg tamarind in 250 ml of water. Boil the diluted tamarind water for a few minutes with a teaspoon of hot ghee and half a teaspoon of black pepper powder. This steaming hot rasam has a flushing effect, and should be taken three times a day. As one takes it, the nose and eyes water and the nasal blockage is cleared.

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.

The leaves and roots contain the glycosides: vitexin, isovitexin, orientin and isoorientin. The bark yields the alkaloid, hordenine.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamarind
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/tamarind.html