Herbs & Plants

Guamúchil (Sweet Tamarined)

Botanical Name :Pithecellobium dulce
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Pithecellobium
Species: P. dulce
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Fabales

Other scientific Names: Inga camatchili,Inga dulcis,Inga lanceolata,Mimosa dulcis.Mimosa unguis,Acacia dulcis Roxb.

Common Names :Camachile (Pamp.),Kamarsiles (Tag.),Chamultis (Ig.),Kamatsele, Damortis (Ilk.)  Kamonsiles (Tag.),Damulkis (Bon.),Kamunsil (P. Bis.), Kamachili (Tag., Bik.)  Karamansili (Ibn.),Kamachilis (Tag.)  Komonsili (P. Bis.),Kamanchilis (P. Bis., Mag.) ,Komontos (Ting.),
Kamansile (Tag.)  Komontres (Ting.),Kamantilis (Pang.)   Madras thorn (Engl.),Sweet tamarind (Engl.)

It is known by the name Madras Thorn, but it is not native to Madras. The name Manila Tamarind is misleading, since it is neither closely related to tamarind, nor native to Manila. The name monkeypod is more commonly used for the Rain Tree (Albizia saman). Other names include Blackbead, Sweet Inga, Cuauhmochitl (Nahuatl), Guamúchil (Spanish), ‘Opiuma (Hawaiian), Vilayati ambli (Gujarati),  Jungle jalebi or Ganga imli (Hindi), Tetul (Bengali), Seeme hunase (Kannada),  Vilayati chinch (Marathi) , Kodukkappuli (Tamil), and Seema chinta (Telugu)

Referred to as manila tamarind because of the sweet-sour tamarind-like taste. Genus Pithecellobium derives from from the Greek words ‘pithekos’ (ape) and ‘lobos’ (pod), and the species name ‘dulce’ from the Latin ‘dulcis’ meaning sweet.

Habitat :Native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. It is introduced and extensively naturalised in the Caribbean, Florida, Guam and Southeast Asia.(Found throughout the Philippines at low or medium altitudes.) It is considered an invasive species in Hawaii.

Guamúchil is a tree that reaches a height of about 5 to 8 m (16 to 26 ft) with pendulous branches, with short, sharp stipular spines. Its trunk is spiny and its leaves are bipinnate and 4 to 8 cm long. Each pinna has a single pair of ovate-oblong leaflets that are about 2 to 4 m (6.6 to 13 ft) long. The flowers are greenish-white, fragrant,in dense heads, 1 cm in diameter, sessile and reach about 12 cm (4.7 in) in length though appear shorter due to coiling. The flowers produce a pod with an edible pulp. The seeds are black.

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The tree

Pithecellobium dulce old tree trunk

Pithecellobium dulce flowers

Pithecellobium dulce beans

Pods are turgid, twisted, and spiral, 10 to 18 cm long, 1 cm wide, and dehiscent along the lower suture. Seeds are 6-8, with an edible, whitish, pulpy aril. The arillus is sweet when the fruit is ripe.

Propagation & Cultivation : The seeds are dispersed via birds that feed on the sweet pod. Guamúchil is drought-resistant and can survive in dry lands from sea level to an elevation of 300 m (980 ft), making it suitable for cultivation as a street tree.Trees are very drought tolerant but also grow in areas of moderate rainfall. Grow in almost any soil type.

Edible Uses:
The seedpods contain a sweet pulp that can be eaten raw or prepared as a beverage.

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*Tannin, 25.36%; fixed oil, 18.22%, olein.
*A glycoside quercitin has been isolated.
*Seeds have been reported to contain steroids, saponins, lipids, phospholipids, glycosides, glycolipids and polysaccharides.
*Roots reported to be estrogenic.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts used : Bark, leaves.

Properties: Considered abortifacient, anodyne, astringent, larvicidal, antibacterial, antiinflammatory, febrifuge, antidiabetic.

• Frequent bowel movements: Decoction of bark taken as tea.
• The leaves, when applied as plasters, used for pain, venereal sores.
• Salted decoction of leaves, for indigestion; also used as abortifacient.
• Bark used in dysentery, dermatitis and eye inflammation.
• In Brazil, P. avaremotem, used as a cancer elixir.
• In Mexico, decoction of leaves for earaches, leprosy, toothaches and larvicide.
• In India, bark of the plant used as astringent in dysentery, febrifuge. Also used for dermatitis and eye inflammations. Leaves used as abortifacient.
• In Guiana, root bark used for dysentery and as febrifuge.

Studies :
Anti-Inflammatory / Antibacterial: Study of the fresh flowers of Pithecellobium dulce yielded a glycoside quercitin. The activity of the flavonol glycoside confirmed its antiinflammatory and antibacterial properties.
• Phenolics / Antioxidant: Free Radical Scavenging Activity of Folklore: Pithecellobium dulce Benth. Leaves: Study of the aqueous extract of Pithecellobium dulce leaves revealed phenolics including flavonoids and showed potent free radical scavenging activity..
• Anti-inflammatory Triterpene: Anti-inflammatory triterpene saponins of Pithecellobium dulce: characterization of an echinocystic acid bisdesmoside. A new bisdesmodic triterpenoid saponin, dulcin, was isolated from the seeds of PD
• Genotoxicity: Mutagenic and Antimutagenic Activities in Philippine Medicinal and Food Plants: In a study of 138 medicinal plants for genotoxicity, Pithecellobium dulce was one of 12 that exhibited detectable genotoxicity in any system.
Anti-tuberculosis / Antimicrobial: Hexane, chloroform and alcoholic leaf extracts were studied for activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains. The alcoholic extract showed good inhibitory activity and antimicrobial activity against secondary pathogens.
Anti-Diabetic: Study of ethanolic and aqueous leaf extract of P dulce in STZ-induced diabetic model in rats showed sigificant activity, aqueous more than the alcoholic extract, comparable to glibenclamide.
• Anti-Ulcer / Free Radical Scavenging: Study of the hydroalcoholic extract of PD was found to possess good antioxidant activity and suggests possible antiulcer activity with its free-radical scavenging and inhibition of H, K-ATPase activities comparable to omeprazole. Phytochemical screening yielded flavonoids – quercetin, rutin, kaempferol, naringin, daidzein.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Curry Leaves

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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).

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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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)

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.

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants


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.