30 Amazing Benefits Of Tamarind (Imli) For Skin, Hair, And Health January 24, 2017

Spice, condiment, and beans – the tangy tamarind is present in the list of kitchen essentials in all these forms. Unarguably a palate pleasing fruit, trust this little genius to add a delicious flavor to your dishes.

However, the uses of this brown colored pulpy fruit go beyond just being a kitchen staple. It can be used to rejuvenate and revamp your skin and hair. It also provides a plethora of other health benefits like weight loss, protection against cancer, and improved digestive health. Packed with assorted vitamins, such as Vitamin C; antioxidants, including carotene; and minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, this mushy fruit is a storehouse of nutrients.

So, if you’re yet to try and ‘taste’ this amazing ingredient, here are the top 25 reasons you should do it right now!

Tamarind – A Brief

Tamarind

Image: Shutterstock

Scientific Name – Tamarindus indica
Origin – Africa
Other Names – Imli (Hindi), chintapandu (Telugu), tintidi (Sanskrit), tetul (Bengali), amli (Gujarati), chinch (Marathi), hunase (Kannada), and vaalanpuli (Malayalam)

Initially, this fruit used to grow in the hot regions of Africa. The sweet tamarind fruit grows atop extremely tall trees of the ‘fabaceae family’ (the family that includes peas and other legumes). The cultivation of tamarind has now spread to most of the warmer, drier regions of Mexico and Asia, including India and Sri Lanka.

It has a tart-sweet taste that is loved by Indian nationals worldwide. No wonder it has carved a special place for itself in the Indian kitchens in the form of chutneys, digestive candies, pickles, and more.

Tamarind is an ace nutrition-wise. Every 100 grams of this tart fruit contains 28 milligrams sodium and 628 milligrams of potassium in addition to 36% of the thiamine, 23% of the magnesium, 35% of the iron, and 16% of the phosphorus of the recommended daily requirement of a healthy woman. Additionally, this amazing fruit also contains niacin, vitamin C, calcium, copper, and pyridoxine.

Tamarinds also have very high levels of tartaric acid (thus the tart taste), a powerful antioxidant that can help scavenge harmful free radicals from the system. The other phytochemicals present in tamarind include limonene, geraniol, safrole, cinnamic acid, pyrazine, methyl salicylate, and alkyl thiazoles.

A cup of tamarind contains 6.88 grams of natural sugars. It has a calorie count of 287, 0.72 grams fat, and 3.36 grams protein. This fruit also contains 6.1 grams of fiber per 100 grams, which helps promote digestive health.

Let’s take a look at the skin, hair, and health benefits of tamarind.

Why Should You Use Tamarinds

Skin Benefits

  1. Lightens Skin
  2. Natural Skin Exfoliating Agent
  3. Natural Remedy For Cellulite
  4. Natural Skin Moisturizing And Toning Properties
  5. Natural Anti-Aging Agent
  6. Removes Dark Rings Around The Neck
  7. Eliminates Pigmentation
  8. Cures Acne

Hair Benefits

  1. Prevents Hair Loss
  2. Helps Treat Oily And Greasy Scalp

Health Benefits

  1. Works As An Antiseptic
  2. Aids Weight Loss
  3. Is Good During Pregnancy
  4. Treats Bilious Disorders
  5. Controls Cholesterol Levels
  6. Cures Malaria
  7. Treats Jaundice
  8. Soothes Inflammation
  9. Prevents Cancer
  10. Treats Constipation
  11. Works As A Cleansing Agent
  12. Treats Piles
  13. Blood Purification
  14. Provides Cardiovascular Health
  15. Cures Mouth Ulcers
  16. Promotes Digestive Health
  17. Aids Proper Blood Circulation
  18. Improves Nerve Function
  19. Helps Manage Diabetes
  20. Boosts Immune System

Skin Benefits Of Tamarind

Wondering what will happen if you apply tamarind topically to your skin?

You will get pretty!

Read on to know about the benefits of tamarind for the skin in detail:

1. Lightens Your Skin

Lightens-Your-Skin

Image: Shutterstock

Prolonged exposure to the sun, as well as dust and pollution, takes a toll on our skin. Dull and dry skin, check. Tanning, check. Uneven complexion, check. Clogged pores, check. Name any skin problem, and it can be traced back to the sun.

We can’t stop going out, but we can always take measures to lessen the impact. I’m talking about scarves, hats, and this easy-to-make skin lightening face pack.

You Will Need
  • 30 grams of tamarind pulp
  • 150 grams hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
What You Need To Do
  1. Soak the tamarind pulp in hot water for 10 minutes.
  2. Extract the pulp.
  3. Add half teaspoon of turmeric powder to this extract.
  4. Apply the paste evenly on cleansed skin and leave it on for 15 minutes.
  5. Wash off with tepid water to reveal fairer and more radiant skin.
  6. This pack is ideal for oily skin and can be used up to 2 times a week.

Note: For a bleach-like effect, go for a tamarind-lemon pack. Mix one teaspoon of tamarind extract with one teaspoon each of lemon and honey. Apply this mixture to your face and wash it off after 15 minutes for visibly lighter skin.

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2. Natural Skin Exfoliating Agent

Why go for costly cosmetic procedures and burn a hole in your pockets when you can get the same thing done at home for free?

That’s right. Look in your kitchen, especially the spice rack, and you will find tamarind that works great as a skin exfoliating agent.

How?

This fruit is a wonderful source of alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), one of the major constituents of various leading exfoliating creams available in the market. They eliminate the dirt and impurities that lie deep inside the skin and unclog the clogged skin pores (1).

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind pulp
  • 1 teaspoon rock salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk cream/yogurt
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix one teaspoon of tamarind extract with one teaspoon of rock salt and one tablespoon of milk cream or yogurt.
  2. Apply the mixture evenly on your face. Using your fingers, massage in gentle, circular motions for 5-7 minutes to eliminate the dead cells.
  3. Repeat this process twice a week for dirt-free happy skin.

Note: While milk cream is ideal for dry skin, yogurt works well for oily skin. Mix the ingredients well.

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3. Natural Remedy For Cellulite

Are you in search of a good, yet affordable exfoliating agent to eliminate cellulite from your body?

Tamarind could be your answer!

Just use the following mix religiously, and you will see the effects in a matter of weeks.

You Will Need
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind extract
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix two teaspoons of fresh tamarind extract with one teaspoon each of sugar and lemon juice and half a teaspoon of baking soda.
  2. Mix the ingredients well.
  3. Apply the paste on the skin and scrub gently in circular motions with a brush.
  4. Repeat this process twice a week for four-five weeks. This will lessen the visibility of cellulite. But, make sure you do it before you get your skin waxed as it could cause blisters.

Note: This remedy is only for people with oily skin.

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4. Natural Skin Moisturizing And Toning Properties

Patchy, scaly skin, fine lines, coarse and dull skin, cold sores, skin tightness – all these issues are on my winter skin woes list. Those with forever dry skin will most definitely relate to me.

A bowl of boiled and cooled tamarind water can be used as a natural skin toning and moisturizing agent (2). Who knew a small bean can do so much to restore the moisture!

Use the following pack once a week for a hydrated and fresh-looking skin:

You Will Need
  • 15 grams tamarind pulp
  • 2 teaspoons green tea
What You Need To Do
  1. Just add 15 grams of tamarind to boiling hot water and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of green tea to the water and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  3. Strain both the liquids and mix well.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool and apply. This can be used as a natural skin toning and hydrating agent.

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5. Natural Anti-aging Agent

Who doesn’t want their skin to remain ageless forever? The sole reason why anti-aging products are such a hit.

In my opinion, going natural is always the best solution for skin woes.

Tamarind is packed with various acids, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins that combat the free radicals that cause premature aging.

Use this tamarind and semolina pack on a regular basis to give your skin a radiant and youthful look:

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
  • 1 tablespoon gram flour
  • 1 teaspoon semolina
  • 1 teaspoon honey
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix all the ingredients to form a fine paste.
  2. Apply this paste on freshly cleansed face. Let it stay for 10 minutes, or until it dries.
  3. Wipe off the pack using a soft sponge.
  4. Wash it off and towel-dry.
  5. Repeat this process once or twice a week.

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6. Removes Dark Patches Around The Neck

Dark patches on the neck are more common in women as compared to men. While many of us resort to bleaching agents as instant solutions, here is one natural ingredient that could have long-lasting effects. Yes, tamarind is an absolute all-rounder.

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix the tamarind concentrate with honey and rose water.
  2. Apply this paste on the neck and leave it on for about 20 minutes.
  3. Wash it off with rose water or warm water.
  4. Doing this once a week for two months could help in eliminating the dark patches completely.

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7. Eliminates Pigmentation

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 your clean face twice a week to erase the blemishes and pigmentation and reveal clear skin.

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8. Cures Acne

Acne is like that clingy cousin who just doesn’t leave you alone.

Well, getting away from her might be difficult, but getting rid of acne and acne scars isn’t, at least not anymore.

Tamarind is here to save the day (and face)!

The vitamins C and A and other antioxidants present in tamarind enable it to act as a natural cure for various inflammatory skin conditions, including pimples and acne.

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix tamarind extract with turmeric powder and fresh yogurt.
  2. Apply this pack on your face and allow it to dry. This will take around 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Wash off with warm water and apply a good moisturizer suitable for oily skin.
  4. Use this pack once every week. It will not only combat these skin eruptions, but also ensure that your skin gets a glow.

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Hair Benefits Of Tamarind

We all envy those models in the hair product commercials for their long and lustrous hair, don’t we?

While I wouldn’t recommend you trust those ads, you can always trust natural and homemade products. Read on to know how you can use tamarind for your hair:

9. Prevents Hair Loss

Prevents-Hair-Loss

Image: Shutterstock

Tamarind is known to strengthen your hair and prevent hair loss.

Use this pack and test it for yourself:

You Will Need

15 grams tamarind pulp

What You Need To Do
  1. Soak a lemon-sized ball of tamarind in water for 10 minutes.
  2. Extract the liquid and massage it all over your scalp and hair.
  3. Dip a towel in warm water and squeeze out the extra water.
  4. Use this hot towel to cover your hair and scalp. Leave it on for half an hour.
  5. Rinse off thoroughly with a good shampoo, and follow it up with a conditioner.
  6. This can be repeated twice a week to prevent hair loss.

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10. Helps Treat Oily And Greasy Scalp

Oily scalp is the cause of a number of hair disorders, including dandruff and hair loss. Controlling the sebum production in the scalp is one of the best solutions to get flaunt-worthy hair.

Trust tamarind pulp to do that for you!

Use the following pack to get rid of the greasiness from your scalp within no time.

You Will Need
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon buttermilk
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix tamarind pulp, buttermilk, and olive oil to form a smooth paste.
  2. Apply this paste on your hair and gently massage for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Let the pack stay on for another 15 minutes. If it’s too runny, wear a plastic cap.
  4. Wash it off using warm water and a mild shampoo.
  5. Repeat this process once every week to get rid of the oil from your scalp.

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Health Benefits Of Tamarind

Apart from being an elixir for your hair and skin, tamarind can also be quite effective in treating a number of health issues. Let’s find out what they are:

11. Works As An Antiseptic

Works-As-An-Antiseptic

Image: Shutterstock

Cuts, bruises, burns – these are the staple if you are a kitchen klutz like me. That is why my mom likes to stock up on a few kitchen ingredients, apart from regular Burnols, to be ready for any future mishap.

Tamarind is one of her trusted antiseptic solutions.

This tart fruit is known to have medicinal properties that heal wounds and prevent infections from spreading in the body. It has strong antimicrobial properties due to the presence of tannins, terpenoids, and citric acids (3).

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12. Aids Weight Loss

Tamarind can help you lose a few pounds.

Don’t believe me? Well, here’s good news for you.

Tamarind contains a unique compound, hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is connected to weight loss (4). This compound helps inhibit an enzyme in our system that aids the storage of fat. Additionally, having tamarind suppresses your appetite for a longer period, specifically by increasing the secretion of serotonin (a neurotransmitter).

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13. Is Good During Pregnancy

The nine months of pregnancy are not easy for would-be moms. They undergo all kinds of physical, behavioral, and psychological changes. And, on top of all that, are the number of diet and nutrition suggestions from family and friends.

The ’jack of all trades’, tamarind, has been used to cure several pregnancy-related issues like morning sickness, upset tummy, nausea, and constipation. This fruit is full of fiber, which, apart from inhibiting overeating, promotes fetal development. Tamarind also has tummy cooling effects, which come in handy when you have a strong urge to throw up. You can suck on a tamarind piece that is seasoned with salt and pepper to prevent nausea.

However, make sure you consult your doctor before you do so.

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14. Treats Bilious Disorders

Including tamarind in your diet is an effective way to cure bilious disorders.

These disorders are basically the result of irregular and uncontrolled bile production in the liver that lead to an upset stomach and fever.

Tamarind, being a bilious substance, helps in the proper stimulation of bile production (5). This, in turn, can help dissolve food faster as well as regulate gastric juices. All these processes lead to improved digestion.

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15. Controls Cholesterol Levels

High cholesterol level has become one of the most common disorders in people between the age of 25 to 50. You will find many younger people at the borderline risk zone. Blame it on bad lifestyle and food choices all you want, but ‘zero trans fat’ food products aren’t the only solution available. Trust Mother Nature to provide us with something super-affordable and healthy in the form of the tasty tamarind.

This fruit plays an indirect, yet very important role in controlling the cholesterol levels in the body (6). The dietary fibers in tamarind bind to the bile salts formed from cholesterol and decrease its reabsorption. This helps excrete bad cholesterol and keeps your heart healthy (7).

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16. Cures Malaria

This warm fruit is a known to be antiviral and antipyretic. So, having a small piece of tamarind twice a day can help keep malaria fever under control (8).

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17. Treats Jaundice

In the case of jaundice, the RBCs present in the liver are overwhelmed by the presence of bilirubin, a yellow chemical secreted by the organ. The elevated levels of this particular chemical lead to yellowing of the eyes, skin, and urine.

Tamarind is very effective in maintaining liver health and regulating bilirubin levels, thus lessening the chances of jaundice.

Use the following natural treatment every day to cure jaundice:

You Will Need
  • 100 grams tamarind pulp
  • 50 grams plum
  • 50 grams dry coriander seeds
  • 50 grams dry lily flower
  • A clay pot
  • 4 liters water
  • Candy sugar (to taste)
What You Need To Do
  1. Take the pot and add all the ingredients to it.
  2. Add water to the container to cover the ingredients. Leave it on overnight.
  3. Mix the ingredients well the next day. Strain and store the juice in an airtight container.
  4. Drink this solution every morning for a week. You can add candy sugar for taste.

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18. Soothes Inflammation

Inflammation is a serious issue and it can affect a few internal organs of the body. This can cause a great deal of discomfort and even pain for some.

Tamarind is a good natural medicine to treat inflammation.

Tamarind seed extracts protect our bones, joints, and cartilage from the possibilities of arthritis. The anti-inflammatory action of this tart fruit helps break down inflammatory chemicals, such as interleukin, and blocks the formation of enzymes responsible for breaking down of bones and cartilage.

Make a solution of half a teaspoon of roasted tamarind seed powder and water. Have this twice a day to boost joint lubrication and ease joint pain (9).

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19. Prevents Cancer

Cancer is a scary disease. Treating cancer is a lengthy and painful process, however, we can try and prevent this fatal disease.

This is where tamarind comes into play. This juicy fruit is a good source of antioxidants. These help in curbing the growth of cancerous cells in the body by preventing the formation of free radicals. The harmful radicals (you can call them the ‘Trojan virus’ in our body) cause major dysfunction in the system (10).

The abundant fiber present in this fruit binds to the toxins present in the food taken. Thus, it protects the mucus membrane of the colon from the chemicals that can cause cancer.

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20. Treats Constipation

Treats-Constipation

Image: Shutterstock

Constipation is quite common and can happen to anyone, young or old, healthy or sick. It is annoying, and it makes you feel irritated, bloated, and stuffed at the same time.

While the ‘churnas’ in the market can be effective, nothing can beat a home remedy with natural ingredients.

Tamarind pulp is used as a mild laxative. A few spoonfuls of the pulp can improve bowel movements considerably (11).

The sticky pulp of this tart fruit is a good source of non-starch polysaccharides as well as dietary fibers like gums, mucilage, pectin, hemicelluloses, and tannins. These fibers and saccharides add bulk to your stool, facilitating proper bowel movement.

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21. Works As A Cleansing Agent

Tamarind is an amazing cleansing agent. This is due to the fact that its pulp is full of antibacterial, antiviral, as well as anti inflammatory properties. These help in getting rid of stubborn bacteria and viruses from our body.

Tamarind, when mixed with other solutions, works well for cleansing the eyes, cleaning out toxic deposits in the kidney, and relieving stomach worms. Such solutions can also relieve a sore throat.

It is especially beneficial in the treatment of dry eyes due to the presence of a chemical similar to mucin, a chemical that helps protect and wet the cornea surface (12).

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22. Treats Piles

Piles are synonymous with a truckload of pain. Not being able to move and sit freely is most definitely a curse. Thankfully, we have a natural solution to deal with this painful problem – tamarind.

Tamarind juice, extracted from its flowers, is used in the treatment of piles, both internal and external (13). Have this medicinal concoction to treat piles.

You Will Need
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tamarind flower extract
  • 1 glass fresh yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate
What You Need To Do
  1. Mix the ingredients.
  2. Have this concoction with your lunch every day until the symptoms subside.

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23. Blood Purification

This pulpy and rich fruit is full of essential minerals, dietary fiber, and vitamin C, all of which help in the purification of blood.

As mentioned earlier, the antioxidants present in tamarinds actively scavenge the free radicals, thus oxidizing and purifying your blood.

Hence, including tamarind in daily meals is extremely beneficial.

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24. Provides Cardiovascular Health

There are several reasons tamarinds are the best for our heart.

Tamarind is very effective in controlling cholesterol levels. It does this by lowering LDL (the bad cholesterol) and promoting HDL (the good cholesterol) with the help of the antioxidants and phenols (14). It also exhibits strong vasodilatory effects due to the high potassium content in the fruit. This keeps your blood pressure under control. All these factors, along with the abundance of vitamin C, help lessen the stress on the cardiovascular system.

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25. Cures Mouth Ulcers

Cures-Mouth-Ulcers

Image: Shutterstock

Canker sores or mouth ulcers, the annoying little spurts under our lips and on our mouth, can be cured with the help of tamarind. This fruit has a cooling effect and can easily calm the burning sensation caused by these little boils.

For best results, use a concoction made of tamarind pulp and a mix of crushed herbs such as coriander and mint. Have this medicine twice every day for faster recovery.

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26. Promotes Digestive Health

All the spices that reside on your kitchen rack assist in bettering your digestive system, and tamarind is no different.

The abundant fiber in this fruit bulks up the stool, making it smoothly pass through the stomach and intestines. Also, the bilious effects of this fruit keeps our liver, colons, and other digestive organs healthy.

So, make it a point to have tamarind daily for improved digestion.

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27. Aids Proper Blood Circulation

Tamarind, being a good source of iron, aids proper blood circulation in our body.

A serving of this tasty pulp provides around 10% of the daily recommended portion of iron, which is responsible for increasing the red blood cell (RBC) count in our blood. This, in turn, ensures proper oxygen supply to every cell and organ (15).

So, eat a lot of tamarinds to keep anemia, an iron deficiency that can lead to fatigue, headaches, stomach issues as well as cognitive disorders, at bay!

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28. Improves Nerve Function

We have been using natural ingredients for a better cognitive function since ages. Remember that almond or glass of milk your mom insisted you have? A new addition to the list of nervous system boosting ingredients is our beloved tamarind.

This amazing fruit is particularly high in thiamine (vitamin B6), which is responsible for improving our nerve function and memory. So, don’t forget to include tamarind in your diet.

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29. Helps Manage Diabetes

The tart and tasty tamarind can help monitor and manage blood sugar fluctuations.

This is because this fruit helps inhibit the enzyme alpha-amylase, which aids weight loss. It slows down carbohydrate absorption, which otherwise can lead to the formation of simple sugars or fats and can increase the insulin levels (16, 17, 18).

So, it is generally advised for a diabetes patient to have tamarind regularly.

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30. Boosts The Immune System

As mentioned earlier, tamarind has a high content of vitamin C, which along with other antioxidants, helps guard your cells and organs from foreign body invasion, protecting you from several diseases (19). Additionally, tamarind has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, antiseptic, and antipyretic properties that aid in boosting your immunity.

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Tamarind USDA Nutrition Chart

Principle

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy239 Kcal12%
Carbohydrates62.50 g40%
Protein2.80 g5%
Total Fat0.60 g3%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber5.1 g13%
Vitamins
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%
Electrolytes
Sodium28 mg2%
Potassium628 mg13%
Minerals
Calcium74 mg7%
Copper0.86 mg9.5%
Iron2.80 mg35%
Magnesium92 mg23%
Phosphorus113 mg16%
Selenium1.3 µg2%
Zinc0.10 mg1%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß18 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin0 µg

About 100 g of tamarind contains 239 calories, 1.8 g proteins, 62.5 g carbohydrates, 0.6 g fat, and other important minerals. These include phosphorus (113 mg), iron (2.8 mg), calcium (74 mg), vitamin C (2 mg), niacin (1.2 mg), and vitamin K (2.8 mg).

How To Select Tamarind

How-To-Select-Tamarind

Image: Shutterstock

To reap the goodness of tamarind, you ought to know how to pick the right kind.

Tamarind is widely available in India in its freshest form between April and July. You get dried tamarind as well as the concentrates in the market throughout the year. Here are a few tips that could come handy when it comes to picking the right kind of tamarind:

  • If you are buying the packaged ones, 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 last longer without getting spoiled.
  • Check for the moisture levels. Tamarind tends to lose its moisture and starts cracking as it ripens. Make sure you pick a medium ripe one with shiny seeds if your goal is to store it for a longer duration.

You can also use tamarind powder that is available in grocery stores. It can be directly used instead of pulp to make rasams, chutneys, sambhars, etc.

How To Store Tamarind

Tamarind pods, when stored in an airtight package and at room temperature, remain intact for a long time. You can sprinkle a little rock salt to prevent the fruit from becoming dehydrated and brittle.

Take a look at how you can store the pods as well as the concentrate:

Tamarind Pods

  • Place the tamarind pods as a 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.

Tamarind Concentrate

  • While you get the concentrates from the supermarkets, you can actually prepare your own concentrate and store it in your freezer for an indefinite time. Here’s how you can make it:
  • Soak tamarind in hot water.
  • Extract the concentrate and strain the mixture.
  • Discard the leftover.
  • Transfer the extract to an airtight container.
  • Seal the jar tightly and place it in the freezer.
  • Take out the required quantity using a dry spoon. 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 to prepare digestive candies and pickles in North India. Here are a few common recipes where tamarind is used:

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, mixed with cooked, mashed lentils, and flavored with assorted spices. The following is a recipe for sambar prepared using shallots:

What You Need
  • 1 ½ cups shallots – roasted in oil
  • 10 grams tamarind
  • ½ cup moong dal – pressure cooked, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon sambar powder – heaped
  • Salt – to taste
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves – finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli – slit lengthwise
What You Need To Do
  1. Soak tamarind in a cup of water for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium-sized pan on medium to high flame.
  3. Add shallots and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  4. Extract tamarind concentrate and add it to the shallots.
  5. Add asafoetida and sambar powder along with rest of the water and allow the mixture to come to a boil.
  6. Lower the flame and let the mixture simmer while boiling for 10 to 12 minutes or until the shallots turn soft and the sambar powder loses its raw flavor.
  7. Mix the mashed dal and adjust the salt.
  8. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
  9. Remove from the fire and keep it 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 the sambar and add the 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 sore throat. Just drink a glass of this black pepper laden tamarind soup to beat that cold.

What You Need
  • 10 grams tamarind – soaked in hot water
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp black pepper powder
  • ½ tbsp cumin seed powder
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch
  • 1 tsp clarified butter
  • 10 curry leaves – roughly chopped
  • Salt – to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
What You Need To Do
  1. Heat clarified butter in a deep pan on medium to high heat.
  2. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow them to splutter.
  3. Add curry leaves and sauté for 30 seconds.
  4. Meanwhile, extract the tamarind gravy and discard the tamarind.
  5. Pour the tamarind extract into the pan, and add spice powders and salt.
  6. Let the mixture come to a boil.Lower the flame and simmer until the tamarind loses its raw flavor.
  7. Add the 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.

What You Need
  • 1 cup tamarind
  • ¼ cup jaggery – grated
  • ½ cup dates –pitted, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chaat masala
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp cumin seed powder
  • Salt – to taste
  • 2 cups water
What You Need To Do
  1. Soak tamarind and dates in two cups of warm water 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 and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes.
  7. Allow it to cool. Serve with chaat, 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.

What You Need
  • 500 grams tamarind pods
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups caster sugar
  • 3 cloves, roasted and crushed
What You Need To Do
  1. Peel the pods and add the fruit to water.
  2. Add the sugar and crushed cloves and mix well.
  3. Allow the mixture to come to a 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. This candy is a wonderful antidote for nausea and vomiting, and its regular use can help solve your constipation issues.

What You Need
  • 20 fresh tamarind pods
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
What You Need To Do
  1. Deseed the tamarind.
  2. Cut it into bite-sized pieces and shape them 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 them to ensure even coating.
  5. Store them in an airtight container.

A Word Of Caution

Every coin has two sides, and this is so true in the case of tamarind. It has certain risk factors associated with it, which, when ignored, can cause serious damage to your body. Let’s take a look at them:

Can react with certain drugs – Those taking aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, blood thinners or anticoagulants should completely avoid having tamarind as it increases the chance of bleeding.
Increased risk of hypoglycemia – Tamarind, when taken in excess, can cause a significant fall in the glucose levels, leading to hypoglycemia. Never have more than 10 grams of this fruit in a day.
Allergy – Many people are hypersensitive to this fruit, which can result in rashes, itching, vomiting, and shortness of breath. So, I would suggest you check for allergies before consuming this fruit.
Can damage the tooth enamel – Since it is highly acidic in nature, tamarind can damage your teeth when taken in a large quantity.
Can lead to the formation of gallstones – Another serious side effect of getting carried away with the portion size of tamarind.
Can induce acid reflux – Tamarind should not be taken by those who have frequent bouts of indigestion as it is acidic and does no good to your system.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Can I eat tamarind during pregnancy?

Definitely yes! It is absolutely safe to consume tamarind during pregnancy. Just make sure you don’t go overboard with it.

Does tamarind have vitamin C?

Yes. Every 100 grams of tamarind contains about 3.5 grams of vitamin C.

Now that you know the benefits of tamarind, what are you waiting for? Include it in your diet and skin care regimen and flaunt stronger hair and glowing skin.

How do you use tamarind? Share with us in the comments box below.

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The one with a constant energy that can leave you awed, Tanya can jump around and talk for the whole day. If not found writing away the desired articles, she can easily be spotted glued to the youtube, eyes wide, spazzing over the perfection of her favorite singer. Functioning without music (Bollywood, Hollywood, Spanish, German, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and what not- Because music is music), and a big cup of tea is an impossibility for her. Ever heard of a totally weird soul that could go frenzy over the smell of a book, especially if it's a Dan Brown or Lee Child? Yep! That would be her.
  • 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.