We all know tamarind as just a sweet and sour
food used to make chutneys or added to curry preparations. But in terms of
nutrition, it is by far a highly precious fruit for mankind.
Tamarind is a fruit that
grows on the Tamarindus indica tree (a tropical fruit tree) in dry climates.
The fruits are long and approximately 2 cm wide. The ripe fruit is filled with
a sticky pulp.
fruit pods mature, they fill out a juicy brown or reddish-brown acidulous pulp.
When fully ripe, the shells are brittle and can be easily broken. The pulp
eventually dehydrates to a sticky paste enclosed by coarse strands of fiber.
indigenous fruit tree grows well in semi-arid tropical harsh climatic conditions. It
grows throughout India and is found in the states
of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan
and northeastern Indian states.
Unlike other fruits, the
amazing fact about tamarind is that it is one of the richest sources of
calcium and phosphorous amongst fruits and vegetables. On top of it, the fruit
is extensively available and economical too. The
fruit contains up to 73% edible pulp. Pulp is a rich source of calcium,
phosphorous, and B vitamins like riboflavin, niacin and thiamine.
Due to various nutrient
inhibitors present in the fruit, all of the calcium from the fruit is not
available for absorption. But even if 50 percent of calcium is available to the
body, we by far meet our daily recommendations by consuming less than 100 grams
in a day.
tamarind in India is used in several ways. It is used in the preparations of
chutney, tamarind powder, puree, juice concentrate, jam, jelly, candies and
Generally most fruits contain 150 to 600 mg of
calcium per 100 grams. On the other hand, tamarind contains nearly 3000 mg of
calcium per 100 grams of edible fruit.
Consumption of a tamarind beverage, sherbet, can
easily meet the daily calcium recommendations and help keep bones and joints
Other health benefits of tamarind are:
The pulp of the ripe fruit is beneficial in the
treatment of flatulence, vomiting and indigestion. An infusion of the pulp
prepared by softening it in water is particularly useful for loss of appetite
and lack of inclination for food intake.
Tamarind, which is rich in vitamin C, helps to
build immunity and keep infections away.
Tamarind pepper rasam- a clear soup is
considered an effective home remedy for colds in South India. It is prepared by
boiling dilute tamarind water in a teaspoon of hot ghee and half a teaspoon of
black pepper powder for a few minutes. The hot rasam has flushing effects. As
one takes it, the nose and eye water and the nasal blockage is cleared.
The pulp of tamarind is useful in treating
fevers. A sherbet made by boiling 30 grams of pulp in half a liter of milk with
the addition of a few dates, cloves, sugar, cardamom and a little camphor is
found to be effective in fevers.
Gargle of tamarind water is beneficial in the
treatment of sore throat.