Tamarind | Tamarind Health Benefits, Uses and Nutrition Facts


Tamarind (Imli)

Tamarinds are leguminous trees with edible fruit that are most likely native to tropical Africa. The only species in the genus Tamarindus, which is monotypic, is this one. It belongs to the Fabaceae family.

The brown, pod-like fruits that the tamarind tree produces are utilised in foods all around the world because of their sweet, acidic pulp. Additionally, the pulp is utilised as a metal polish and in conventional medicine. Tamarind seed oil can be produced from the seeds of the tree and used in woodworking. In Indian and Filipino cuisine, the young, sensitive leaves of the tamarind are employed. Tamarind is grown all over the world in tropical and subtropical regions due to its many applications.

Tamarind Description

The tamarind tree has a long lifespan and a medium growth rate; its maximum crown height is 25 metres. Dense foliage forms an amorphous, vase-shaped appearance around the crown. The tree thrives in direct sunlight. It favours sandy, acidic, clay, loam, and soil types with a strong resilience to drought (wind-borne salt as found in coastal areas).

The pinnately lobed, alternately placed evergreen leaves. The leaflets are fewer than 5 centimetres long, bright green, elliptic-ovular, and pinnately veined. As a tree ages, its branches droop from a single, central stem and are frequently clipped in agriculture to maximise tree density and facilitate fruit harvesting. The leaflets fold up at night.

Being a tropical species, it is vulnerable to frost. The opposite-sided, pinnate leaves create a billowing effect in the breeze. Hard, dark red heartwood and lighter, yellowish sapwood make up tamarind wood.

Although inconspicuous, the tamarind produces elongated red and yellow blooms. Five-petaled, yellow blooms with orange or red streaks are produced in little racemes with a diameter of 2.5 cm. The four sepals on the flower's four buds, which fall off when the flower blooms, are also pink.

tamarind tree
Tamarind Fruits

Tamarind Fruit

The fruit is an indehiscent legume with a hard, brown shell that is 12 to 15 cm in length. It is frequently referred to as a pod.

The fruit's pulp is luscious, meaty, and acidic. When the fruit flesh is brown or reddish brown in colour,  it is mature and ready to harvest. African and West Indian kinds of tamarind have shorter pods, whilst Asian varieties have longer pods (containng six to twelve seeds) (containing one to six seeds). The glossy brown seeds are somewhat flattened. The fruit's flavour is best characterised as sweet and sour, and it contains significant amounts of tartaric acid, sugar, B vitamins, and calcium—unusual for a fruit.

Health Benefits of Tamarind

Tamarind is used in traditional medicine since ancient times, but further research is needed to determine its exact benefits. Tamarind is packed with plenty of nutrients & vitamins required for a healthy lifestyle.

The tamarind fruit has the following health advantages:

Tamarind | Imli

Healthy Tissue

The amino acid found in Tamarind is beneficial for a healthy tissue. The body needs amino acids, which are the protein's building blocks, in order to develop and repair tissues. Some amino acids are essential, meaning that the body cannot create them on its own, and must therefore be received through diet. Except for tryptophan, tamarind has high levels of each necessary amino acid for a healthy tissue. It satisfies the WHO requirements for an ideal protein in terms of the other amino acids required for a better health.

Cancer Risk Reduction and Prevention

Scientists recommend antioxidant-rich diets for a number of advantages, including a decreased risk of cancer. Antioxidants can protect the DNA of cells from harm. Many cancers, according to scientists, have DNA damage as their primary cause. Antioxidant properties are seen in plant phytochemicals. One of the several phytochemicals found in great quantities in tamarind is beta-carotene.

Brain Health

There are eight similar-functioning vitamins in the B vitamin group which all dissolve in water, thus the body doesn't keep them. Without using supplements, you ought to be able to receive enough B vitamins from food. The full spectrum of B vitamins is necessary for optimum health. For the brain and neurological system to function properly, they are very important. Vitamin B are abundant in tamarind pulp, particularly thiamine and folate. Tamarind does not contain B12, like other plants.

Bone Health

The bone density of those who consume adequate magnesium in their diets is higher than that of those who do not. Many people, particularly teenagers and people over 70, do not consume enough magnesium. Magnesium can be found in abundance in tamarind. Additionally, it has more calcium than many plant-based diets. Together, these two minerals and weight-bearing activity may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. To utilise calcium, the body needs vitamin D. You must obtain vitamin D from other sources because tamarind is not a substantial source of the vitamin.

Tamarind Nutrition Facts

Tamarind (Raw) Nutritional value per 100 g


240 kcal


38 g

Dietary fiber

3 g


2.8 g


34 g

FAT (Total)



0.6 g

0.27 g

0.05 g

Vitamins Quantity %DV†

Vitamin A


Thiamine (B1)


Riboflavin (B2)


Niacin (B3


Pantothenic acid (B5)


Vitamin B6


Foliate (B9)


Vitamin C


Vitamin E


Vitamin K


Minerals Quantity %DV†

















Uses of Tamarind

The fruit is harvested by removing the pod from the stalk. Up to 175 kg of fruit can be produced annually by a mature tree. To propagate desirable cultivars, techniques such veneer grafting, shield (T or inverted T) budding, and air layering may be used. If given ideal growing conditions, these trees often bear fruit in three to four years.

Fruit pulp can be consumed. Many people find the young fruit's hard, green pulp to be overly sour, although it is frequently used in savoury meals, as a pickling spice, or as a way to make some dangerous yams in Ghana safe for food. Fruit that has ripened is said to taste better because it is sweeter and less acidic as it ages. Different cultivars of tamarind have different levels of sourness, and some sweet type tamarind varieties have almost no acidity when mature. Tamarind pulp is a component in Worcestershire sauce and HP Sauce in Western cuisine.

Tamarind paste is used in cooking in a variety of ways, including as a flavour for curries, chutneys, and the traditional drink sharbat syrup. In Pakistan and India, tamarind sweet chutney is widely used as a condiment for a variety of snacks and is frequently served with samosa. Tamarind pulp is a crucial component in the Chigali lollipop, rasam, and some types of masala chai tea, all of which are used to flavour curries and rice in south Indian cuisine. Tamarind is frequently mixed with dried fruits to create a sweet-sour tang in savoury recipes all over the Middle East, from the Levant to Iran, especially in stews that contain meat. Unlike recipes that use vinegar instead, the traditional Filipino dish called sinigang uses the whole fruit as an ingredient to give it a distinctively sour flavour. Sayur asem, a tamarind-based soup from Indonesia, has a similar sour flavour.

The pulp is diluted with water and sweetened to create an agua fresca beverage in Mexico and the Caribbean. It is frequently used across all of Mexico to make candies, including tamarind and chilli powder candies.

The seeds can be boiled to make them safe for ingestion, and the leaves and bark are also edible. A salad from Upper Myanmar called magyi ywet thoke uses tender, blanched tamarind leaves together with other ingredients like roasted peanuts, pounded dried shrimp, garlic, and onions.

Seed oil and kernel powder

The oil extracted from the tamarind seed kernel is known as tamarind seed oil. It is challenging to separate the kernel from the thin but resilient shell.

In the production of industrial gums and adhesives, as well as for the processing of textiles and jute, tamarind kernel powder is utilised as a sizing material. It is de-oiled before storing to keep its colour and smell stable.

Folk medicine

The tamarind fruit is used as a poultice in Southeast Asia to treat feverish persons by applying it to their foreheads. Due to the fruit's high concentrations of tartaric acid, malic acid, and potassium bitartrate, it has a laxative effect. The world over, there is evidence of its use to treat constipation.


Tamarind wood is used to create carvings, furniture, turned things like mortars and pestles, chopping blocks, and other tiny speciality wood items. Reddish brown with a hint of purplish colour, tamarind heartwood is visible. Only older and larger trees typically have tamarind heartwood, which is typically narrow. Sharp lines clearly separate the heartwood from the pale yellow sapwood. Heartwood is reputed to have a durable to very durable resistance to decay as well as an insect-resistance. Its sapwood is weak and prone to attack by fungi, insects, and spalting. Tamarind is thought to be challenging to deal with due to its bulk and interlaced grain. Cutting edges are noticeably blunted by heartwood. Tamarind makes good turns, binds, and finishes. Heartwood can withstand a strong natural polish.

Metal polish

The fruit pulp is used to polish copper, brass, and bronze kitchenware as well as shrine sculptures and lights made of brass in homes and temples, particularly in Buddhist Asian nations. Tartaric acid, a weak acid found in tamarind, can erase tarnish. Another acidic fruit utilised in similar ways is lime.


Tamarind is consumed as a dietary supplement. Many chemical compounds were extracted from this and utilised widely in the pharmaceutical and textile industries as well as in the production of feed. Timber is produced from tree trunks. Due to its ingredients, it has a tart, sweet, cold, and astringent flavour. With regard to the plant's overall health benefits, the tamarind tree can be recommended as a secure, crucial, and therapeutic plant for people. Many elements of the tamarind tree have been utilised in traditional medicine to treat diseases as well as their symptoms.

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