Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tamarindus indica L.

Family : Caesalpiniaceae

Synonym(s) : Tamarindus officinalis (Hook), Tamarindus occidentalis, Gaertn.

English Name : Tamarind Tree

Origin : Probably Africa


A large handsome tree with spreading branches and a thick straight trunk, ash-grey bark, height up to 40 feet. Leaves alternate, abruptly pinnated; leaflets light green and a little hairy, in twelve to fifteen pairs. In cold damp weather and after sunset the leaflets close. Flowers fragrant, yellow-veined, red and purple filaments, in terminal and lateral racemes. Legume oblong, pendulous, nearly linear, curved, somewhat compressed, filled with a firm acid pulp. Bark hard and scabrous, never separates into valves; inside the bark are three fibres, one down, on the upper concave margin, the other two at equal distances from the convex edge. Seeds six to twelve, covered with a shiny smooth brown shell, and inserted into the convex side of the pericarp.


Lower hills and plains of India as well as other tropical parts of the globe.

Parts Used : Fruit, flower, seed, bark and leaf

Herb Effects

Antiviral (flower); laxative and reduces fever (fruit pulp); astringent (seed); refrigerants in fevers and as laxatives and carminatives.

Active Ingredients

Tartaric and malic acids (fruit and leaf); orientin, iso-orientin, vitexin and iso-vitexin (leaf); tannic acid (seed); acetic acid, alpha-terpineol, citric acid, limonene, safrole (fruit); ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, cinnamaldehyde (flower).

Medicinal Use

As an astringent in bowel complaints, to weaken the action of resinous cathartics (pulp); in correcting bilious disorders, for rheumatism (plant); used in subacid infusions, and a decoction is said to destroy worms in children, and is also useful for jaundice, and externally as a wash for sore eyes and ulcers (leaves)In some forms of sore throat the fruit has been found of service; for asthma (bark).


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