Tamarind — actually meaning ‘tamr Hindi’ or ‘date of India’ in Arabic though originally from eastern Africa; is now found in tropical Asia, Carribean, and Latin America. It is a much valued food ingredient in many Asian and Latin American recipes. Even in Europe and America it is used as an indispensable ingredient in the classic marinade-Worcestershire sauce.
The raw tamarind is sour to taste which ripens to get a sweeter taste. With age it turns sour and acidic.
In olden days tamarind formed an important item in the diet of sailors as its acid and sugar content helped them to offset their starchy diet, and to prevent scurvy.
The whole plant has medicinal values—
—the leaves are cooling and anti-bilious.
—the bark an astringent, a tonic and reduces fever.
—the fruit pulp is digestive, anti-flatulent, cooling, laxative and antiseptic.
—the seeds are also astringent.
It is rich in vitamins fibre, potassium, and magnesium.
As a home remedy it is used –
- As an anti oxidant
- To aid digestion
- For bile disorders
- As a mild laxative
- To lower cholesterol
- To cure sore throat
- For arthritic and rheumatic pains
- For scurvy
- For burns
- As an astringent
- To heal oedema
The ripe tamarind pulp is widely used in culinary preparations notably –rasam, sambhar and chutney in south India. Tamarind –pepper rasam a clear soup, is considered an effective home remedy for colds in south India. The steaming hot rasam has a flushing effect.
Tamarind does not loose it’s anti-scorbutic properties on drying as in case of other fruits and vegetables.