Tamarind Information and Health Benefits

The tamarind, also known as the Indian date, is quite an interesting fruit with tons of history behind it.  Despite its name, the tamarind doesn’t actually originate in India.  In fact, it is actually indigenous to a region quite far from India: tropical Africa, near modern-day Sudan.  To this day, the tamarind still grows wild in the jungles of Africa.

In fact, in the 16th century, the tamarind was introduced to Mexico and South America by colonists, and it was heavily grown and became very common in the area.  Now, the tamarind is also cultivated across many regions of Africa, as well as many parts of Asia and the Americas.

The tamarind fruit grows on a bushy, medium-size tree that is able to live to a long life.  The tree is extremely flexible, and it’s able to grow well in all types of soil, as long as it has sunshine.  Enough about the tree – here’s some about the actual fruit.

The tamarind is quite interesting – it’s actually a pod with a brown-colored, hard shell.  However, once opened, the pod reveals juicy and a bit acidic flesh.  The flesh of the tamarind is brown to reddish-brown, and the number of seeds in each tamarind pod depends on the variety.  Asian varieties of tamarind have as many as six to twelve seeds per pod, while African and Indian tamarinds have just one to six.

The tamarind’s taste is unlike other fruits and is very unique.  The flesh tastes both sweet and sour at the same time, and contains many nutrients, including a plethora of B vitamins.  In addition, the tamarind is extremely unusual in that it provides a great supply of calcium, which is very rare for any fruit.

The tamarind can be used in many ways in cooking, if not eaten by itself.  In fact, did you know that the tamarind is a component in Worcestershire sauce and HP sauce?  All throughout the world, the tamarind is used in many dishes.

For many centuries, the tamarind has been valued for its health benefits and medical uses.  In fact, modern studies have found that tamarind is very high in tannins, saponins, alkaloids, and more compounds that naturally fight bacteria, including Salmonella and Staph.

Traditionally, tamarind has also been used in African and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to help digestion, the heart, and more.  The tamarind has also been found to lower cholesterol and blood sugar.  Finally, tamarind is great as a laxative, and is greatly helpful for the digestive system.

Further reading

  1. [amazon asin=0132092301&text=Heinerman New Encyclopedia of Fruits & Vegetables, Revised & Expanded Edition] 

4 thoughts on “Tamarind Information and Health Benefits

  1. Billy

    Very interesting post, real good information. I was unaware that Tamarind was in Worcestershire sauce. There are lots of fruits most people haven’t heard of that are great for your health. Another one is Nopal or prickly pair cactus. the fruit is high in betalins that is good as an anti-imflamatory.

  2. Pingback: Drinks from Around the World

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