The tamarind is a large tropical evergreen tree, which grows in height thanks to its branches, and can reach a height of 30 meters, although its trunk remains underdeveloped. The tamarind trees are of African origin, being a long-lived tree can even get to live 150 years.
Its fruits, also called “date of India”, are woody pods, which contain inside from 4 to 12 seeds, wrapped in an edible pulp with a slightly sour taste.
Rich in vitamins and minerals, and not only defined as a powerful antioxidant and useful for digestion.
Nutritional Characteristics of the Tamarind Fruit
Its fruit has great nutritional value, the pulp is composed of 31% water, 57% sugar, and 5% dietary fiber, ash, protein and fat.
The main constituents are pectins and simple sugars. Among the various minerals present there is a high amount of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, calcium and selenium, and is a source of vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin C, K, and J.
The fruit of tamarind is also rich in tartaric acid, present with a percentage of 12%, tartaric acid is also a powerful antioxidant that helps the body to protect itself from free radicals.
Its brown, sticky pulp is a rich source of food polysaccharides, hemucellulose, mucilage, pectins and tannins.
The fruit contains many volatile oils such as limonene, geraniol, safrole, cinnamic acid, methyl salicylate and pyrazine. Together these compounds give tamarind its medicinal properties.
Properties of Tamarind
The fruit of the tamarind has many and varied properties. The active ingredient contained in the seeds is tamaridine. It has an antibacterial and anti-infective action and is effective against certain viruses and bacteria.
In particular, it has been shown to be a very active component against Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudonas aeruginosa.
Also known are the purgative and refreshing properties and the effectiveness against jaundice and dysentery. The pulp, leaves and bark are used in some countries for their therapeutic properties against malaria fevers.
Recently some substances with an antioxidant action have been discovered inside its pulp, such as ellagic acid, chlorogenic, caffeic and some different flavones.
The watery extract of tamarind, on the other hand, has hypoglycemic properties.
The intake of tamarind is very useful in case of digestive problems and gastric level. It has good laxative properties and is an excellent intestinal regulator thanks to the presence of organic acids in its pulp.
To this end, we use jam that can also be administered to children as it does not cause pain in the colon.
It is good to know that the intake of tamarind interferes with that of some drugs, such as: aspirin (because the tamarind increases the bioavailability); reduction in the absorption of other drugs taken simultaneously.