The tamarind tree grows in most tropical areas of the world. The fruit is eaten from its unripe state all the way to its overripe state. The entire tree is used for everything from food to medicine to dyeing and more. The tree grows to 70 feet tall and makes a good source of shade.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally – Tamarind is used to treat fever, constipation and helps the digestion. It can aid sunstroke victims, as well as counteract Datura poisoning and intoxication. The pulp is recommended in cases of paralysis to restore sensation. The bark can be fried with salt and pulverized to an ash and then given to remedy colic and indigestion. Decoctions are used for gingivitis and asthma as well as eye inflammations.
Externally – The pulp is applied topically for inflammation, it is used as a gargle for sore throat and when mixed with salt is used as a liniment to treat rheumatism. Leaves and flowers are dried or boiled and then used as poultices to treat sprains, boils and swollen joints. Extracts and lotions made from the leaves are used to treat jaundice, erysipelas, hemorrhoids, conjunctivitis and dysentery as well as being used as an antiseptic. The bark can be made into lotions or poultices for open sores. Powdered seeds are used in a paste to draw out boils.
Other Uses – Tamarind leaves are used for livestock fodder and to feed silkworms. The leaves and flowers are also used as mordants to set colors when dyeing fabrics. An infusion made from whole pods is added when dyeing goat hides. The pulp of the fruit can also be used as a dyeing fixative and can coagulate rubber latex. If the pulp is mixed with sea water the mixture can clean copper, brass and silver. An ointment made of pulp, butter and other ingredients is used on livestock and pets to rid them of parasites like fleas.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
The powdered seeds are mixed with cumin seeds and palm sugar to treat diarrhea and dysentery.
Most parts – The tamarind is very useful. The seeds, fruit, leaves, flowers and bark are all used medicinally as well as for other uses.
The herb is considered safe with no known contraindications.
Preparation and Dosage
Tamarind pulp can be mixed with a little water to make a gargle for sore throats.
If you are using commercial preparations, follow the directions on the label or the instructions provided by your care provider.