Tamarind is a sweet and sour fruit that is usually used as a food seasoning, but this fruit load with health benefits. it comes from the pods of the tamarind plant. In Asian and African cuisine, tamarind is widely used to give the right flavor to dishes. Sour fruit gives a sweet and delicious taste to dishes.
Tamarind fruit extract has long been an ancient remedy in treating snake bites, diabetes, malaria, constipation, and several other health problems. Here we will provide more information about tamarind, especially about the health benefits of tamarind and the possible side effects that arise.
What Is Tamarind?
The tamarind plant or Tamarindus Indica is a tamarind tree that comes from Tropical Africa and has been popular in India for thousands of years. The Indians then took care of and adopted this plant so well that this plant seemed to come from India. Tamarind is a Persian word called Tamar-I-hind, which means “Indian dates”.
Tamarind is also known by many other names such as Tamarindo in Spanish and Portuguese, and in France it is known as tamarin, tamarinier des Indes, tamarinier, or tamarindier. In Germany it is known as tamarinde and tamarandizio in Italy. ,While in India it is known as ambli, chinch, imli, or tamarind. In Cambodia it is known as ampil or khoua me and in Thailand it is known as ma-kharm. While in Vietnam, tamarind is known by the name “me. Tamarind or tamarindier is an additional spice in various cuisines in the world. That is why this plant has many names according to their respective regions.
Origin of Tamarind
The tamarind is a tree that comes from India, its botanical name is indica and was naturalized in Hawaii in 1797. Tamarind is said to have been introduced in Tropical America, the Bahamas, and the West Indies and in Bermuda.
Tamarind is a slow growing tree and it can grow tall with large trunks. The fruit is in the form of a pod and this will be clearly visible when the fruit is ripe. The flesh is sour, the seeds are soft whitish with a brown outer color.
When ripe, the skin of the fruit turns into a shell that is easy to crack and tastes sweet and sour. The seeds grow hard and turn a shiny brown color. Tamarind fruit is widely used in cooking. Usually added in dishes such as rice, fish, curries, sauces, pesto, even in meat dishes.
So, tamarind can be used in almost all dishes in your kitchen. However, tamarind is famous not only for its taste, but it has many health benefits and can be delicious in cooking. Tamarind is known for its therapeutic properties, so it is also useful as a laxative and as an excellent carminative. It also has strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
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Traditionally, tamarind is used as a natural remedy to treat dysentery, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. Tamarind is also good as a traditional medicine to treat asthma, joint pain, conjunctivitis, hemorrhoids, sore throat and swollen joints.
Below we see what are the health benefits of consuming tamarind.
Tamarind is a popular home remedy used to manage constipation, skin health, diabetes, and microbial infections. It also aids in weight loss and is good in preventing cardiovascular disease. Immediately, we see some evidence that tamarind is good for treating several health problems.
1. Brighten the skin
One of the benefits of tamarind is that it can make the skin bright and beautiful. Since ancient times, tamarind fruit flesh has been used as a skin scrub, this will make the skin smooth, light and bright because tamarind contains alpha-hydroxyl acids (AHAs). The AHAs in tamarind contain 8–23.8% tartaric acid, citric acid, lactic acid (2%), and malic acid. These AHAs, and pectin and reverse sugar work to hydrate the skin and moisturize it.
There was a small study on 11 men, this study was made to investigate the effects of extracts from tamarind seeds. This extract is applied twice a day on the facial skin and carried out for twelve weeks. As a result, there is a decrease in skin melanin and sebum content. This is due to the presence of polyphenols in tamarind, this is an antioxidant that functions to eliminate free radicals and indirectly has an effect on reducing melanin in the skin.
2. May reduce liver injury
Inflammation that occurs in the body can gradually affect your heart. A study in rats with arthritis were given tamarind seed extract. Well, the results of this study indicate a decrease in oxidative stress in the liver.
The active substance called procyanidins in tamarind is useful in counteracting oxidative damage to the liver. It will also attenuate markers of liver damage, depletion of inflammatory markers such as glutathione, glutathione peroxidase, total thiols, and reductase. In tamarind there are minerals that have an effect on increasing the body’s defense against oxidative stress. These minerals are like copper, nickel, selenium, manganese, and iron.
Selenium and vitamin E are able to protect lipids in liver cells from free radical attack.
3. May manage weight
Being overweight or obese is closely related to liver, heart, kidney and metabolic disorders. The experts found the same effect on weight loss and obesity problems in studies conducted on mice. Tamarind fruit is also useful for lowering cholesterol, and increasing good cholesterol in blood plasma.
This anti-obesity effect was known when the experimental rats were seen when they consumed 5.25 or 50 mg/kg of pulp extract orally for 10 weeks. In this study also get results on weight loss in rats.
This extract also contains fatty acid synthase activity known as Fatty Acid Synthase (FAS). More simply, FAS is an enzyme that promotes the formation of adipose tissue. Also the benefit is to prevent lipid oxidation by free radicals. Studies on rats have shown one big benefit: the high antioxidant content of tamarind.
Tamarind extract also provided benefits in diabetic rats. To know clearly about the benefits to humans and this should involve more research.
4. Relieves stomach ache and constipation
Tamarind has also traditionally been an effective remedy in preventing stomach pain because it contains a laxative, this laxative comes from the content of malic and tartaric acids. In addition, tamarind also contains bitartrate, it also contains active ingredients to relieve constipation.
Constipation and diarrhea often cause stomach pain, extracts of tamarind root and bark have been proven to be effective in curing stomach aches. In Nigeria, they soak tamarind for consumption in relieving constipation. Rasam is a south Indian food that is loaded with spices, cumin, tamarind, black pepper and mustard. This is then eaten with rice and the benefit is that it can improve digestion.
5. Helps relieve diabetes
Research on diabetic rats, tamarind extract is said to be able to lower blood sugar levels in rats. Tamarind is able to normalize hyperglycemia even this can happen in mice with severe diabetes though.
One of the causes of diabetes is due to inflammation in the pancreas, especially in the cells that produce insulin. Acid can prevent the production of chemicals such as pro-inflammatory and TNF alpha, acid can protect the pancreas from damage caused by inflammation.
While tamarind seeds are reported to be able to increase neogenesis or stimulate the production of new cells in the pancreas. This means that it can restore the body’s ability to produce the amount of insulin that diabetics need.
6. Tamarind is good for heart health
Tamarind fruit that has been dried turns out to contain hypertensive effects. The tamarind pulp was found as a drug to lower diastolic blood pressure at a dose of 15 mg/kg body weight. Research on tamarind in animals found the results of an anti-atherosclerotic effect in this food. So, tamarind extract has a high potential in lowering the risk of clogged arteries, this also applies to humans.
Tamarind fruit is also useful for treating atherosclerotic lesions in hamsters. While the active molecules in tamarind have an anti-inflammatory effect. This can reduce the severity of atherosclerosis and relieve other heart diseases.
Tamarind Side Effects
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that tamarind is a fruit that is safe for consumption and non-toxic. Even mice were given 5000 mg/kg body and 3000 mg tamarind per kg doses of its extract.
The human kidneys are sometimes affected by the amount of mineral content. So, if you want to consume it, you should first consult with a local nutritionist. Talking about the safety of tamarind fruit, so far there is no evidence that consuming tamarind for pregnant and lactating women has side effects (there is no scientific evidence).
Some people prohibit the consumption of tamarind for pregnant and lactating women, and some even claim that there is no evidence of this until now.