MANILA, PHILIPPPINES, APRIL 1, 2012 (INQUIRER) By: R. Valencia and S. Bismark - ANTI-cholesterol, anti-kidney stones, anti-colon cancer and anti-diabetes—these are just some of the therapeutic qualities of the tamarind. Many Filipinos use it to make sinigang or eat it as a dried candy that is either salted or sweetened.

Bharat Aggarwal’s book, “Healing Spices,” lists down its beneficial uses and potency:

“The tamarind’s healing action comes from its antioxidants (including tartaric acid, which gives the fruit its sour taste), which are concentrated in its seedpods. Its pulp is a good source of calcium and the B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine.

“Research shows that a tamarind extract has the ability to heal bacterial keratitis, pink eye and conjunctivitis. In other studies, it decreases total cholesterol, lowers bad LDL, increases good HDL, and lowers triglycerides.”


The “Nutrition Research” journal states that “consumption of tamarind offers protection against kidney stones.” Indian researchers have discovered that the tamarind extract slows down the growth of colon cancer and is recognized as a traditional treatment for diabetes.

Consumption also lowers blood sugar in animals with drug-induced Type 1 diabetes. Dried blocks of the tamarind are sold in local markets and Indian stores. To prepare tamarind juice, cut off a chunk and soak in hot or boiling water for 15 minutes.

How else can we use the tamarind? In Jamaica, it is used in jams and syrups. In China, Thailand and Singapore, it is a useful ingredient to make hot, sour soups and fries. In India, it adds flavor to curries and vegetable dishes.

It’s also used in dips, sauces and condiments. And, because of its cool, flavorful taste, it is used to make a beverage mixed with lemon and sugar.

Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal

Regular Member, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Experimental Therapeutics

Research Interests: •Cytokines •Lymphokines •Monokines •Tumor necrosis factors •Purification •cDNA cloning •Mechanism of action •Growth inhibitors and stimulators •Tumor cell resistance •Receptors •Signal transduction

Dr. Bharat B Aggarwal is a Ransom Horne, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research, Professor of Cancer Medicine, Professor of Immunology, Professor of Biochemistry and Professor of Experimental Therapeutics, and Chief, Cytokine Research Section, in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

He earned his Ph. D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1977 and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco, and then started his career with Genentech Inc where his work lead to the discovery of TNF- a and TNF-b, an essential component of the immune system.

In 1989, he was recruited as Professor of Medicine Chief of the Cytokine Research section at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Since then Dr Aggarwal has been investigating the role of inflammatory pathways mediated through TNF, NF-kB and STAT3, for the prevention and therapy of cancer.

His group has identified over 50 compounds from dietary sources and traditional medicine that interrupt these cell-signaling pathways; have been tested in various animal models and some are in clinical trials.

He also serves as member of the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, and as an Adjunct Professor at Albert B. Alkek Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT), Texas A&M University, Houston, Texas and member in various Institutional committees of MDACC.

Dr. Aggarwal is currently a member of the editorial boards of about 24 international journals and served as a reviewer for more than 160 journals, various grant proposals and 10 Ph. D. thesis.

Dr. Aggarwal has edited 12 books and served as Guest editor for special issues from Biotherapy, Cancer Letters and Current Opinion in Pharmacology.

He has trained over 80 postdocoral fellows and visiting professors from around the world. He co-organized and served as member in many International and National Conferences/ Symposia and was invited to give lectures/seminars (324) in more than 50 countries.

He has recently authored “Healing Spices” book that was released on January, 2011.

Dr. Aggarwal has published more than 600 papers in peer-reviewed international journals (including Science, Nature, Cancer Cell, PNAS, Journal of Exp. Medicine, JBC, Cancer Research, Journal of Immunology), invited reviews and book chapters.

He has been listed as one of the most highly cited scientist by ISI since 2001; and has been included in ISI Highly Cited among most highly cited authors in Immunology category.

He has also been listed as top 25 researchers in apoptosis area in the World. His papers exhibit high-citation index (over 1000 for some).

Dr. Aggarwal is inventor/coinventor on over 33 patents.

Dr. Aggarwal has received numerous awards including World Congress Science Prize from Oxygen Club of California 2010, Excellance in Research Award of McCormick Research Institute from the American Association of Nutrition, 2008, Outstanding Scientist Award from the American Association of Indian Scientists in Cancer Research, 2006, Ranbaxy Award for Outstanding Scientist of the year, 2004.

Tamarind From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the tropical plant. For the South American monkey, see Tamarin. For the Australian rainforest tree, see Diploglottis cunninghamii. For other uses, see Tamarindo (disambiguation).

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) (from Arabic: تمر هندی‎, romanized tamar hind, "Indian date") is a tree in the family Fabaceae indigenous to tropical Africa. The genus Tamarindus is a monotypic taxon, having only a single species. The tamarind tree produces edible, pod-like fruit which are used extensively in cuisines around the world.[1]

The tamarind is a long-lived, medium-growth, bushy tree, which attains a maximum crown height of 12.1 to 18.3 metres (40 to 60 feet). The crown has an irregular, vase-shaped outline of dense foliage. The tree grows well in full sun in clay, loam, sandy, and acidic soil types, with a high drought and aerosol salt (wind-borne salt as found in coastal area) resistance.

Leaves are evergreen, bright green in color, elliptical ovular, arrangement is alternate, of the pinnately compound type, with pinnate venation and less than 5 cm (2 inches) in length. The branches droop from a single, central trunk as the tree matures and is often pruned in human agriculture to optimize tree density and ease of fruit harvest. At night, the leaflets close up.

The tamarind does flower, though inconspicuously, with red and yellow elongated flowers. Flowers are 2.5 cm wide (one inch), five-petalled, borne in small racemes, and yellow with orange or red streaks. Buds are pink as the four sepals are pink and are lost when the flower blooms.

The fruit is an indehiscent legume, sometimes called a pod, 12 to 15 cm (3 to 6 inches) in length, with a hard, brown shell.

[PHOTO - Tamarind sweets in a Mexican candy boutique]

The fruit has a fleshy, juicy, acidulous pulp. It is mature when the flesh is coloured brown or reddish-brown. The tamarinds of Asia have longer pods containing six to 12 seeds, whereas African and West Indian varieties have short pods containing one to six seeds. The seeds are somewhat flattened, and glossy brown.

The tamarind is best described as sweet and sour in taste, and is high in acid, sugar, B vitamins and, interestingly for a fruit, calcium.

A tamarind seedling

Tamarind flowers As a tropical species, it is frost sensitive. The pinnate leaves with opposite leaflets give a billowing effect in the wind. Tamarind timber consists of hard, dark red heartwood and softer, yellowish sapwood.

Tamarind is harvested by pulling the pod from its stalk. A mature tree may be capable of producing up to 175 kg (350 lb) of fruit per year. Veneer grafting, shield (T or inverted T) budding, and air layering may be used to propagate desirable selections. Such trees will usually fruit within three to four years if provided optimum growing conditions.

Culinary uses

[PHOTO -Tamarind balls from Trinidad and Tobago]

The fruit pulp is edible. The hard green pulp of a young fruit is considered by many to be too sour and acidic, but is often used as a component of savory dishes, as a pickling agent or as a means of making certain poisonous yams in Ghana safe for human consumption.

The ripened fruit is considered the more palatable, as it becomes sweeter and less sour (acidic) as it matures. It is used in desserts as a jam, blended into juices or sweetened drinks, sorbets, ice creams and all manner of snacks.

In Western cuisine, it is found in Worcestershire sauce,and HP sauce.

In Karnataka, India, the tamarind is called "Hunasae Hannu" and is used in saaru (lentil soup), sambhar or sambar (Vegetable Soup), Gojju(Sauce), Majjigae Huli (Yogurt based soup) and several types of chutnies. Imli chutney and pulusu use it.

Along with tamarind, sugar and spices are added to (regional) taste for chutneys or a multitude of condiments for a bitter-sweet flavor. The immature pods and flowers are also pickled and used as a side dish.

It is also dried and used in place of ripe tamarind for mild flavour. In southern parts of Kerala, mostly along the coastal belt, it is added to fish curry masalas, with ground coconut for flavouring.

In Guadeloupe, tamarind is known as tamarinier and is used in jams and syrups.

Tamarind tree, India In Mexico, it is used in sauces or sold in various snack forms: dried and salted; in sweet, soft clusters, or candied (see for example chamoy snacks). Agua de tamarindo, a fresh beverage made from Tamarind is popular throughout the country. Agua fresca beverages, iced fruit bars and raspados all use it as the main ingredient. Jarritos is a well known export brand soda drink (tamarind is the second most popular flavour of the brand). Mexican tamarind snacks, such as Pelon Pelo Rico and Pulparindo are available in specialty food stores worldwide. Often in Mexico, Tamarind is plucked off the tree and eaten raw.

In Trinidad and Tobago as well as Jamaica, tamarind is rolled into balls (5 cm in diameter) with white granulated sugar and a blend of spices to create tambran balls.

A sour, chilled drink made from tamarind is served in Egypt.

A traditional food plant in Africa, tamarind has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.[10]

In southern Kenya, the Swahili people use it to garnish legumes and also make juices. In Somalia it is used to give rice some sour flavour. In Madagascar, its fruits and leaves are a well-known favorite of the ring-tailed lemurs, providing as much as 50% of their food resources during the year if available. In northern Nigeria, it is used with millet powder to prepare kunun tsamiya, a traditional pap mostly used as breakfast, and usually eaten with bean cake.[citation needed]

In Turkey, it is called "Demirhindi" and is consumed as a sweetened cold drink. It is also available as a fruit but is not well known by the general population since it is not grown locally and is imported.

The Javanese dish gurame and more so ikan asem, also known as ikan asam (sweet and sour fish, commonly a carp or river fish) is served throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore; Some dishes in Manado, Sulawesi and Maluku cuisines use Tamarind.

In Lebanon, the Kazouza company sells a tamarind-flavoured carbonated beverage.

In Myanmar, young and tender leaves and flower buds are eaten as a vegetable. A salad dish of tamarind leaves, boiled beans, and crushed peanuts topped with crispy fried onions is served in rural Myanmar.


In the Philippines, tamarind is used in foods like sinigang soup, and also made into candies. The leaves are also used in sinampalukan soup.

In Thailand, a cultivar has been bred specifically to be eaten as a fresh fruit: it is particularly sweet and minimally sour. It is also sometimes eaten preserved in sugar with chili as a sweet-and-spicy candy.

Tamarind is an essential souring ingredient in the Central Thai variant of kaeng som, a sour curry.

Pad Thai often includes tamarind for its tart/sweet taste (with lime juice added for sourness and fish sauce added for saltiness and umami). A tamarind-based sweet-and-sour sauce is served over deep-fried fish in central Thailand.

Medicinal uses

Phytochemical studies have revealed the presence of tannins, saponins, sesquiterpenes, alkaloids and phlobatamins and other extracts active against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, at temperatures of 4–30 °C (39–86 °F).

Studies on the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of the extracts on the test organisms showed the lowest MIC and the MBC were demonstrated against Salmonella paratyphi, Bacillus subtilis and Salmonella typhi and the highest MIC and MBC were exhibited against Staphylococcus aureus.

In northern Nigeria, fresh stem bark and fresh leaves are used as decoction mixed with potash for the treatment of stomach disorders, general body pain, jaundice, yellow fever and as blood tonic and skin cleanser.

In Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and Javanese traditional medicine, asem leaves are used as a herbal infusion for malarial fever, the fruit juice as an antiseptic, and for scurvy and even cough cure.

Throughout Southeast Asia fruit of the tamarind as used a poultice applied to foreheads of fever sufferers.

Tamarind is used as in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for gastric and/or digestion problems, and in cardio-protective activity.

In animal studies, tamarind has been found to lower serum cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Due to a lack of available human clinical trials, there is insufficient evidence to recommend tamarind for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia or diabetes.

Based on human study, tamarind intake may delay the progression of skeletal fluorosis by enhancing excretion of fluoride. However, additional research is needed to confirm these results.

Excess consumption has been noted as a traditional laxative.

Other medicinal uses include: Anthelminthic (expels worms), antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, asthma, astringent, bacterial skin infections (erysipelas), boils, chest pain, cholesterol metabolism disorders, colds, colic, conjunctivitis (pink eye), constipation (chronic or acute), diabetes, diarrhea (chronic), dry eyes, dysentery (severe diarrhea), eye inflammation, fever, food preservative, food uses (coloring), gallbladder disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, gingivitis, hemorrhoids, indigestion, insecticide, jaundice, keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), leprosy, liver disorders, nausea and vomiting (pregnancy-related), paralysis, poisoning (Datura plant), rash, rheumatism, saliva production, skin isinfectant/sterilization, sore throat, sores, sprains, sunscreen, sunstroke, swelling (joints), urinary stones, wound healing (corneal epithelium).

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
All rights reserved




Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved