Tamarind may be used as medicinal herb. It is in the family of Fabaceae also referred to as the legume tree. The main parts used as herbal medicine are the fruits and leaves. It bears brown-grey pods containing dark brown, edible, juicy, tangy and meaty seeds. Though very sour, the pulp is used to make sweets, beverages and preserves. It is also used as a laxative herb and to prepare a gargle for sore throats.
As a child, I remembered coming from school with my friends, we had to stop at one of the trees that was grown along the side of the road. As a matter of fact, it is still there today. We would actually count to five before putting the pulps in our mouths because all we were thinking of is the sourness.
However, we never knew the benefits that
we were gaining just by eating the pulps and then further in life, to
realize that the leaves have medicinal properties for various
conditions. God is really good. No matter how sour they were, we loved eating them.
The common names are Ase, Chita, Magyi and Imi. The medicinal properties are cathartic, astringent, febrifuge, antiseptic, and refrigerant.
In Jamaica we call the sweets made from the pulp, balls and these are favourites among children and likewise adults. This is mixed with sugar and roll into the shape like balls and sold locally. So we call them tamarind balls. Local people also make them as snacks for children to take to school. It is also an ingredient in chutneys.
Mexico, Aruba and India also make the sweets for their own benefits. As herbal remedies, Africans utilize the pulp and also the leaves as poultice for sores.
The benefits of this plant are numerous so when the season is in, as we so call it in Jamaica, it is good to partake of the fruit because of the health benefits you will receive. It is factually a powerful supply of natural vitamins, which includes vitamin C and B vitamins, fiber, potassium, as well as magnesium and flavonoids.
It is amazingly plentiful in South Asia, where it happens to be widely distributed and it has a long roots or history of cultivation. The pulp provides an organically produced acid substance in which the primary ingredients are tartaric acid and also malic acid which are found in sour foods.
It can also be found in Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines
where it is used to treat numerous of ailments. It is even found In Western
cuisine and is an ingredient Worcestershire sauce. This plant is
really good for healthy living. The juice is a delicious and thirst quenching drink. One of my aunts loves to make the juice and she knows that I love it as well, so a fair amount is always stored away in the refrigerator for my next visit at her home.
The tea from the leaves are used in baths for children to soothe
itching, measles, fevers, smallpox, and chicken pox. Therefore it makes a
good herbal bath. I remembered as a child my mother gave me a good herbal bath made from the leaves because my skin was itching me terribly. After the bath, I felt much better and the itching was minimal.
Used as a medicinal herb, the tea made from the leaves is also excellent for chest colds, throat irritations, diabetes, bile
disorders, aids in digestion of food, and the juice is good for scurvy
and coughs. In Southeast Asia, it is used as a poultice to place on
foreheads of those suffering with fever. The tea made from the leaves can also
be used as an eyewash for red eyes.