20 Amazing Benefits Of Tamarind (Imli) For Skin, Hair And Health August 5, 2016

Tangy, yet sweet, tamarind is also popular as ‘imli‘ in Hindi, ‘chintapandu‘ in Telugu, ‘tintidi‘ in Sanskrit, ‘tetul‘ in Bengali, ‘amli’ in Gujarati, ‘chinch‘ in Marathi, ‘hunase‘ in Kannada and ‘vaalanpuli‘ in Malayalam. Tamarind is unarguably a palate pleasing fruit. No wonder it has carved a special place for itself in the Indian kitchens, in the form of chutneys, digestive candies, pickles, and more. However, the uses of this deep and brown colored pulpy fruit, goes beyond just being a kitchen staple. It can be used to rejuvenate and revamp your skin and hair. Packed with assorted vitamins, such as Vitamin C, antioxidants including carotene, minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, this mushy fruit can easily makes its way into your daily skincare regimen

Skin Benefits of Tamarind:

Wondering what would be the effects of applying tamarind topically to your skin? Nothing, but pure beauty! Read on to know in depth about the benefits tamarind has in store for the skin:

1. Lightens Your Skin:

The pulp of tamarind can be used to lighten the skin tone. Just soak 30 grams of this fruit in 150 ml hot water for 10 minutes. Extract the pulp. Mix ½ a teaspoon turmeric powder to this extract. Apply evenly on cleansed skin and leave for 15 minutes. Wash off with tepid water to reveal a fairer and more radiant skin. This pack is ideal for oily skin and can be used by 3 times a week for a glowing skin.

2. Natural Skin Exfoliating Agent:

Tamarind is a wonderful source of alpha hydroxyl acids. AHA, as it is commonly referred to, is one of the major ingredients in various leading exfoliating (1) creams available in the market. These ingredients possess the potential to eliminate the dirt and impurities that lie deep inside the skin, unclogging the clogged skin pores.

Mix one teaspoon tamarind extract with one teaspoon rock salt and 1 tbsp milk cream or yogurt. While milk cream is ideal for dry skin, yogurt works well for oily skin. Mix all the ingredients well. Apply the mixture evenly on your face and using your finger, massage in gentle, circular motions for 5 to 7 minutes to eliminate the dead cells and reveal a clean and clear skin.

3. Innate Skin Bleaching Properties:

Give your skin natural bleach effects with pure and natural tamarind extract. Mix one teaspoon of tamarind extract with one teaspoon each of lemon and honey. Apply this mixture on your face and wash off after 15 minutes for a visibly lighter skin.

4. Natural Remedy For Cellulite:

Are you in search of a good, yet affordable exfoliating agent to eliminate cellulite from your body? Then tamarind could be your answer. Mix 2 teaspoon of fresh tamarind extract with 1 teaspoon each of sugar and lemon juice and half a teaspoon baking soda. Mix the ingredients well. Apply on the skin and using a brush, scrub gently in circular motions. This one will lessen the visibility of cellulite. Make sure you do it before you get your skin waxed as it could otherwise cause blisters. This remedy is just for people with oily skin.

5. Natural Skin Hydrating And Toning Properties:

A bowl of boiled and cooled tamarind water can be used as a natural skin toning and moisturizing agent. Just add 15 grams of tamarind to boiling hot water and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of green tea to the water and simmer for another 5 minutes. Strain both the liquids and mix well. This can be used as a natural skin toning and hydrating agent. All you have to do is allow the mixture to cool and apply.

6. Natural Anti-aging Agent:

Tamarind is packed with various acids, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins that combat the free radicals. These free radicals can cause premature aging. Apply a pack made with gram flour, tamarind extract, semolina, and honey, on a regular basis, to prevent these damages and give your skin that radiant and youthful look.

[ Read: Surprising Benefits Of White Tea ]

7. Removes Dark Circles Around The Neck:

The dark shades on the neck are common in women than men. While many of us resort to bleaching agents as instant solutions, here is one natural ingredient which could have longer lasting effects. Mix in 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate with 1 tsp honey and 1 tsp rose water. Apply this on the neck and leave for about 20 minutes. Wash off with rose water or warm water. Doing this for a period of time could help in eliminating the darkness completely.

8. For Blemish-Free Skin:

Packed with AHA, tamarind is an established anti-blemish agent. It is also known to act as a natural remedy for pigmentation. Just apply freshly prepared tamarind juice on the face to ease the blemishes and pigmentation and reveal a clear skin.

9. Cure For Inflammatory Skin Conditions:

The Vitamin C, A, and other antioxidants present in tamarind enables it to act as a natural cure for various inflammatory skin conditions, including pimples and acne. Just mix tamarind extract with turmeric powder and fresh yogurt. Apply this pack on your face and allow it to dry. Wash off with warm water and apply a good moisturizer exclusive for oily skin. This will not only combat the skin eruptions, but also ensure that your skin gets a glow.

Hair Benefits of Tamarind:

10. Prevents Hair Loss:

Tamarind is known to strengthen hair and prevent hair loss. Soak a lemon sized ball of tamarind in water for 10 minutes. Extract the liquid and massage it all over your scalp and hair. Dip a towel in warm water and squeeze out the extra water. Use this hot towel to cover your hair and scalp. Leave as such for half an hour. Rinse off thoroughly with a good shampoo followed by a conditioner. This can be repeated twice a week to prevent hair loss.

Health Benefits of Tamarind:

Let us now discuss how regular usage of tamarind is beneficial as it contains various nutrients in different proportions that are desired by the body. The tamarind benefits are as follows.

11. Antiseptic:

Tamarind is used as an antiseptic to heal wounds and to prevent infections from spreading in the body (2).

12. Bilious disorders:

Tamarind is an effective cure for bilious disorders. it plays an indirect yet very important role in controlling the cholesterol levels in the body (3). Dietary fibres in tamarind binds to bile salts formed from cholesterol and decrease its re-absorption. This helps excrete bad cholesterol and keeps your heart healthy (4).

[ Read: Nutmeg Health Benefits ]

13. Malaria:

Tamarind mixes well in herbal tea and is used for treating malaria fever (5).

14. Jaundice:

A decoction of tamarind leaves is used in preparing medicinal solutions for curing jaundice and ulcers (6).

15. Inflammation:

Inflammation is a serious skin care problem and also affects a few internal organs of the body that can cause a great deal of discomfort and even pain for some. Tamarind is a good medicine for treating inflammation. You can prefer taking ½ a teaspoon of roasted tamarind seed powder twice a day with water to boost joint lubrication and ease the joint pain (7).

16. Cancer:

Tamarind is a good source of antioxidants and helps in curbing the growth of cancerous products in the body by preventing free radicals from being formed which conduct unwanted reactions in the body (8).

[ Read: Lady’s Finger Health Benefits ]

17. Eye drops, stomach worms, sore throat:

Tamarind when mixed with other solutions makes an effective treatment for eye cleansing and for relieving stomach worms. Sore throats are also cured by such solutions.

18. Laxative:

Tamarind pulp is used as a mild laxative. This impacts the sluggishness of the bowels and a few spoonfuls of the pulp can improve bowel movements considerably (9).

19. Piles:

Tamarind juice, extracted from its flowers is used in the treatment of piles (10).

[ Read: Bael Fruit Benefits ]

20. Blood purification:

Tamarind in general participates in the purification of blood (11) and hence including it in daily meals is extremely beneficial.

Tamarind UDA Nutrition Chart:


Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy239 Kcal12%
Carbohydrates62.50 g40%
Protein2.80 g5%
Total Fat0.60 g3%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber5.1 g13%
Folates14 µg3.5%
Niacin1.938 mg12%
Pantothenic acid0.143 mg3%
Pyridoxine0.066 mg5%
Thiamin0.428 mg36%
Vitamin A30 IU1%
Vitamin C3.5 mg6%
Vitamin E0.10 mg<1%
Vitamin K2.8 µg2%
Sodium28 mg2%
Potassium628 mg13%
Calcium74 mg7%
Copper0.86 mg9.5%
Iron2.80 mg35%
Magnesium92 mg23%
Phosphorus113 mg16%
Selenium1.3 µg2%
Zinc0.10 mg1%
Carotene-ß18 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin0 µg

Tamarind in about 100 grams of its quantity contains 239 calories, 1.8 gram proteins, 62.5 gram of carbohydrates, 0.6 gram fat and other important minerals too. These include Phosphorus – 113 mg, Iron – 2.8 mg, Calcium – 74 mg, Vitamin C – 2 mg, Niacin – 1.2 mg, and Vitamin K-2.8mg.

[ Read: Eggplant Health Benefits ]

How To Select Tamarind

To reap the goodness of tamarind, you ought to know how to pick the right one. Tamarinds are widely available in India, in its freshest form, between April and July. You get tamarind, the dried ones as well as the concentrates in the market all through the year. Nevertheless, here are few tips that could come handy when it comes to picking the right kind of tamarind:

  • If you are buying packaged ones, then squeeze the packs to check if they are really soft. The softer the tamarind is, the better the quality will be.
  • Opt for the tamarinds that come in deep brown shades as they tend to stay longer without getting spoiled.
  • Check for the moisture levels. Tamarind tends to lose its moisture and start cracking as they ripen. Make sure you pick a medium ripe one with shiny seeds if your goal is to store it for a longer duration.

With the increasing demand of tamarind for culinary purposes, instant use tamarind powder is also being available in the market. It can be directly used in the preparations and takes no effort as well. Tamarind powder uses for culinary purposes include in making of rasams, chutneys, sambars, etc in place of pulp.

How To Store Tamarind:

Tamarind pods, when stored in an airtight package and at room temperature, remains intact for a long time. You can even sprinkle a little rock salt to prevent the fruit from getting dehydrated and brittle. Take a look at how you can store the pods as well as the concentrate to be used fruitfully:

How To Store Whole Tamarind Pods:

Follow the tips to store the tamarind pods for a longer period of time:

  • Place the tamarind pods as whole in an airtight bag with a zipper.
  • Squeeze out air, if any, and then seal your bag.
  • Place the bag at room temperature to use the tamarind later.

Tamarind powder can be stored in airtight containers.

How To Store Tamarind Concentrate:

While you get the concentrates from the super markets, you can actually prepare your own concentrate and store it in your freezer for an indefinite time.

  • Soak tamarind in hot water.
  • Extract the concentrate and strain the mixture.
  • Discard the leftover.
  • Transfer the extract to an airtight container.
  • Seal the jars tightly and place it in the freezer.
  • While using, take out the required quantity using a spoon free of moisture. Reseal the jar and freeze again.

How To Use Tamarind:

Tamarind can be used to infuse a tangy flavor to various preparations in Asian and Caribbean cuisines. While it is a prominent ingredient of sambar, assorted chutneys and rasam in South Indian cuisine, it is used in preparing digestive candies and pickles in North India. Here are few common recipes where tamarind is used:

5 Must Try Tamarind Recipes:

1. Sambar:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Sambar is a side dish that is served along with rice, idly, or dosa in South India. An assortment of vegetables are simmered in a tangy tamarind gravy and mixed with cooked, mashed lentils and flavored with assorted spices. The following is a recipe for sambar prepared using shallots:


  • Shallots – 1 ½ cups, roasted in oil
  • Tamarind – size of a small lemon
  • Moong dal – ½ cup, pressure cooked, mashed
  • Sambar powder – 1 teaspoon, heaped
  • Salt – to taste
  • Asafetida – ¼ tsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  • Curry leaves – 10
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Green chili – 1, slit lengthways


  1. Soak tamarind in 1 cup water for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil to a medium sized pan heated on medium to high flame.
  3. Add shallots and sauté until golden brown.
  4. Extract tamarind concentrate and add to the shallots.
  5. Add asafetida and sambar powder along with rest of the water and allow the mixture to come to a boil.
  6. Lower the flame to low to medium and let the mixture simmer while boiling for 10 to 12 minutes or until shallots turn soft and sambar powder loses its raw flavor.
  7. Mix in mashed dal and adjust the salt.
  8. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
  9. Remove from fire and keep aside.
  10. In a small pan, heat rest of the oil.
  11. Add mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
  12. Add curry leaves and green chilies and sauté for 30 seconds.
  13. Pour this mixture over sambar and mix in coriander leaves.

Hot, yummy sambar is ready to be served.

2. Pepper Rasam – Tamarind Soup:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

The tamarind concentrate used in this soup makes it an ideal antidote for scorching fever, runny nose, and irritating throat. Just drink a glass full of this black pepper laden tamarind soup to beat that cold.


  • Tamarind – One small lemon sized ball, soaked in hot water
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Black pepper powder – 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seed powder – ½ tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch
  • Clarified butter – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 10, roughly chopped
  • 8. Salt – to taste
  • 9. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • 10. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp


  1. In a deep pan placed on medium to high heat, add clarified butter.
  2. As it gets heated up, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow to splutter.
  3. Add curry leaves and sauté for 30 seconds.
  4. Meanwhile extract tamarind gravy and discard the tamarind.
  5. Pour the tamarind extract into the pan, add spice powders and salt.
  6. Let the mixture come to a boil.
  7. Lower the flame to low to medium and simmer until the tamarind loses its raw flavor.
  8. Adjust seasoning and serve hot.

3. Dates And Tamarind Chutney:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

This one is a mixture of flavors. Sweet, spicy, tangy, and salty-all are blended in a delightful proportion.


  • Tamarind – 1 cup
  • Jaggery – ¼ cup, grated
  • Dates – ½ cup, pitted, finely chopped
  • Chaat masala – ½ tsp
  • Red chili powder – ½ tsp
  • Cumin seed powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Water – 2 cups


  1. Soak tamarind in 2 cups warm water along with dates for 30 minutes.
  2. Squeeze the mixture and extract the pulp.
  3. Place a saucepan on medium to high flame.
  4. Add the mixture to it and mix in the spices.
  5. Allow the mixture to come to a boil.
  6. Lower the flame to low to medium and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes or until tamarind and dates loses the raw flavor.
  7. Allow to cool and use with chaats, rotis, or idlis.

4. Tamarind Jam:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

This one is from Caribbean cuisine and makes an ideal spread for breads and Indian flatbreads.


  • Tamarind pods – 500 grams
  • Water – 6 cups
  • Caster sugar – 1 ½ cups
  • Cloves – 3, roasted, crushed


  1. Peel the pods and add the fruit to water.
  2. Mix in sugar and crushed cloves.
  3. Allow the mixture to come to boil.
  4. Lower the flame to medium and simmer for 90 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a strainer to discard the seeds.
  6. Allow to cool, transfer to an airtight container, seal and refrigerate.

5. Tamarind Candy:

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

A good digestive aid, tamarind candy is definitely a tasty treat for pregnant women. A wonderful antidote for nausea and vomiting, regular use of this candy could even help you solve your constipation issues.


  • Fresh tamarind pods – 20
  • Sugar – 5 tbsp
  • Chili powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt – ½ tsp


  1. De-seed the tamarind.
  2. Cut into bite-sized pieces and shape it into small balls.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, mix the sugar with chili powder and salt.
  4. Add the balls to the mixture and roll to ensure even coating.
  5. Store it in airtight container to be used later.

Now that you know the benefits of tamarind, what are you waiting for? Try these recipes right now and flaunt a stronger hair and glowing skin.

How do you use tamarind? Share with us right below.

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  • Sameera

    Never knew that tamarind offers so many amazing benefits to us mortals! Would be great if you can also share different ways of using tamarind in our daily lives. Loved reading the post. Keep sharing more such interesting reads! :D

  • Narushi

    Thank you for this very nice and informative post….I was really amazed when i went through the article and i was surprised that tamarind is healthy ingredient that it is considered today.. Tamarind is so very helpful in so many health issues.