Health Benefits of Tamarind or Imli
Tamarind (Imli) Mature Fruit & Seeds
Latin Name : Tamarindus indica
In India, it is the fruit that is commonly eaten and called Imli.
The tamarind tree is native to tropical Africa. It produces edible pod-like fruits. The mature fruit has a hard brown shell with a sweet and sour juicy pulp inside that is used in many cuisines worldwide. The tamarind tree grows in most of the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The tree is sensitive to frost.
The young tamarind fruit can be eaten raw also, though it is very sour and acidic. On maturity, the pulp becomes much sweeter than sour.
In India, tamarind chutney is very popular. Tamarind is also used in jams, sweetened drinks, blended in drinks etc. It is a constituent of Worcestershire sauce and HP sauce, a brown sauce produced in the Netherlands.
Besides this, tamarind since ages has been used in traditional medicine. The fresh stem, bark and leaves have also been used to get relief from stomach, skin and blood disorders and as a laxative.
Tamarind has been used in various ways in carpentry. The wood has been used to make wooden flooring and furniture. Metal polish to clean and impart shine to metals like copper and brass is also made with tamarind.
Some varieties of the tamarind tree have been used in gardens as ornamental trees.
Consume tamarind chutney by spreading it on bread/pav or use it as a dip for pakode and other snacks to get its health benefits. You can also prepare tamarind or imli water and use it for homemade golgappe.
Tamarind (Imli) Chutney
Tamarind Nutritional Benefits
Tamarind pulp is rich in non-starch polysaccharides, the dietary fibre like gums, hemicelluloses, mucilage, pectin and tannins.
It is rich in tartaric acid which is a very powerful antioxidant.
Tamarind contains many volatile phytochemicals like limonene, geraniol, safrole, cinnamic acid, pyrazine, methyl salicylate and alkylthiazoles
It is a good source of various minerals like potassium, copper, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium.
Tamarind also contains very good amounts of vitamins of the B complex group like thiamine and niacin and some amounts of pyridoxine. It also contains some vitamin A.
Tamarind Nutritional Value
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica),
Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Tamarind Health Benefits
Most parts of the tamarind tree are medicinal and offer various health benefits to us. The seeds, fruit pulp, leaves, flowers, bark all have medicinal uses.
- The dietary fibre helps in lowering cholesterol by binding the bile salts and preventing their absorption. It is helpful in preventing constipation, binding toxins in the digestive tract and thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer.
- The pulp is made into a poultice and applied on swollen joints for relief.
- Potassium effectively regulates blood pressure while the iron in tamarind keeps the haemoglobin levels up.
- Tamarind purifies the blood while it also has digestive and laxative effects.
- A poultice made from tamarind leaves is effective in treating boils, sprains and swelling of the joints.
- Tamarind is used to cure jaundice as it cures bile disorders.
- Tamarind bark is effective in getting rid of open sores while its seeds can be made into a paste and applied on boils for relief.
- The leaves have astringent and antiseptic properties and a decoction of the leaves is effective in killing intestinal worms in children. Tea made of tamarind leaves reduces malarial fever.
- Juice of tamarind flowers is used to treat piles.
- Tamarind pulp relieves flatulence, indigestion and vomiting.
- Gargling with tamarind water relieves sore throat. The pulp prevents sunstroke.
- The polysaccharides increase resistance to infections by stimulating and boosting immunity.
- The bark is used to relieve abdominal pain due to flatulence.
- A paste made of the seeds and applied at the site of a scorpion bite draws out the poison and is an excellent antidote to scorpion bites.
- Tamarind juice acts as an antidote in intoxication due to opium and other intoxicants.
- Tamarind consumption removes fluoride from the body.
Sweet & Sour Tamarind Water - Imli ka Khatta Meetha Pani
Some Ayurvedic Remedies With Tamarind
Tamarind referred to here means tamarind pulp.
- Drink tamarind water.
- Consume tamarind juice made from the leaves; 30 ml each time twice a day; once in the morning on empty stomach and then in the evening before dinner, for 5 days. Avoid salt and spices during this period.
For Stomach Pain And Other Disorders
Consume ash of the tamarind bark; 1/2 tsp with honey 2 times a day.
Rub the seeds on a grinding stone and apply this paste on the styes for relief from pain and burning. This is an excellent remedy.
For Liver Problems
Dry tamarind flowers in the shade. Powder and add an equal quantity of candy sugar. Mix well and store in a tightly closed bottle. For relief from liver problems, take 5 grams of this mixture before lunch and dinner.
- Massage the palms of the hands and soles of the feet with tamarind pulp. It will provide relief.
- Soak 25 grams tamarind in a glass of water and drink this water.
Drink tamarind juice to which candy sugar has been added
Soak 30 grams tamarind in a glass of water. Mash it well in the water once soft. drink this water for relief.
Drink tamarind juice.
As a Cooling Drink
To a glass of water add 10 grams of tamarind and blend it in when soft. Strain, add sugar to taste and drink. This is an excellent cooling drink.
Use Gur or Jaggery instead of sugar for more effectiveness.
Drink juice of tamarind leaves for benefit.
Sunstroke And/ Or Intoxication
Soak 50 grams of tamarind in 500 ml water for 2 hours or till the pulp turns soft. Mash it well and blend it in the water. Add sugar, candy sugar, brown sugar or jaggery as per taste and preference. Mix well, strain and drink.
This concoction gives relief in sunstroke and its effects, uneasiness, nausea etc, clears bowels, removes the effects of opium and alcohol intoxication, burning sensation in the body.
If there is a bad taste in the mouth replace the sugar with salt to taste, add some black pepper powder and roasted ground caraway seeds.
This will improve the taste of the mouth and relieve anorexia.
Fluorosis occurs when water with excess fluoride is consumed. The immediate effects are seen in the teeth. It causes teeth to become yellow and decay due to enamel erosion. Long term consumption of fluoride leads to calcification effects on the bones. The joints and movements become restricted and painful. The spinal column, too, becomes stiff and painful. The muscles and ligaments may also calcify, cause pain and lose their free movements.
Drinking tamarind water destroys the fluoride ions and thereby prevents fluorosis. Adding salt to tamarind water tremendously increases the capacity of this water to remove the fluoride from the water.
Some Precautions With Tamarind
Tamarind has been found safe in usage at levels used in foods.
However, it increases the risk of bleeding if taken along with drugs that have a propensity for increasing risk of bleeding.like, aspirin, ibuprofen, anticoagulants, antiplatelet drugs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Though there is no known contraindication for use in pregnant and breastfeeding women, they should take the advice of a doctor before using it.
It may cause a lowering of blood sugar levels. Hence diabetics should take note of this.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.
Some Recipes With Tamarind
- How to Make a Tamarind Shake. A Refreshing Summer Fruit Drink!
How to make a refreshing summer tamarind fruit shake.
- Shrimp In Tamarind Sauce (Tom Rang Me)
Shrimp in Tamarind Sauce (Tom Rang Me) Asian cooking often makes use of tamarind concentrate/liquid for souring agent. It gives special unique tart and tangy flavors. This souring agent is widely used in Asian soups, curries, drinks and sauces. One..
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© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly