Where do I find Tamarind?
If you enjoy Indian, Caribbean and Southeast Asian cuisine, you’ve probably had the pleasure of devouring tamarind (Tamarindus Indica). Its unmistakable sweet and sour flavor makes its way into delicious chutneys, marinades, sauces (like Worcestershire sauce). Also use it in main dishes, desserts and beverages.
Tamarind grows like beans in large pods on the tamarind fruit tree in India, Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Tamarind grows in other tropical places as well. It’s well-known and savored for its culinary uses and its many healing benefits.
Although tamarind is a definite culinary favorite, a number of studies, as well as generations of indigenous peoples from tropical climates, can attest to its numerous health benefits. For starters, it’s quite high in most of the essential amino acids. These are protein building-blocks that our bodies can’t make, so we must get them from our food. In addition, tamarind contains phytochemicals (plant compounds) known as polyphenols. These act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, providing increased protection against a number of chronic diseases that stem from inflammation. These include cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Here’s more about this favorite tropical fruit:
This review looked at 51 PubMed and Google articles published between 1978 and 2013 and found references to its use for gastrointestinal problems, bacterial infections, diabetes, low blood sugar, heart disease, fatty liver disease, weight loss, malnourishment and more.
Also, this NIH-published article points to Tamarind’s use in treating pathogenic bacteria and microbes, it’s antioxidant power, it’s use as a laxative and a treatment for abdominal pain including diarrhea and constipation, it’s wound-healing properties, it’s use in liver support, eye inflammation, pain-reduction, treating malaria, diabetes, blood pressure, body weight, atherosclerosis, and even parasitic infections and snake venom!
Finally, this six-month chronic toxicity study of tamarind-pulp water extract showed a definite anti-obesity effect in animal studies along with decreased LDL and triglyceride levels without any damage to the liver or blood-biochemistry parameters, noting that “This study showed that long-term use of tamarind pulp water extract was generally safe and well tolerated at the tested dose”.