(Last Updated on : 06/01/2009)
Tamarindus indica Linn.
Indian names are as follows:
Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu:
Yamadutika, Amli, Abdika
Chinthappandu, Chinta, Amlika
The pulp of ripe fruit of Tamarind is commonly used as condiment, or more precisely as `acidulant,` in many Indian dishes particularly South Indian dishes. The plant has dubious distinction being inauspicious for which it is known as `Yamadutika` in Sanskrit. It is believed that by staying under the shade of the plant for longer period it effects health even death for which it is known as Yamadutica meaning the messenger of Yama, the god of death.
The ripe fruit, on an average, comprises about 55% tamarind pulp, 33% seeds and about 12% fiber. A typical sample of tamarind pulp showed the following:
Free acid (tartaric):9.8%
Total sugars as invert:38.2%
Vitamin A:100 I.U./100 gram
Niacin:.2 mg/100 gram.
Calorific value: 283 calories/100 gram.
Of the reducing sugars present, 70% is glucose and 30% is fruit sugar i.e. fructose. Only a trace of sucrose is present. The pectin present in pulp is of good quality having a jelly grade of 180-200.
Tamarind seed consists of 30% testa (outer skin) and 70% endosperm. The testa contains 40% of water solubles, 80% of which is tannin and coloring matter. The composition the seed kernel is:
Tamarind fruit pulp is traditionally popular in India as condiment added to many dishes like Rasham, Sambar, chutneys, curries etc. Technology is available now for manufacture of pectin out of this pulp. It is also possible to manufacture tartarates and alcohol from this pulp.
The pulp has a lot of medicinal virtues. Ayurvedic practitioners and folk doctors frequently used it as medicine. It was also a part of our home remedial system. The ripe fruit is considered as appetizing, laxative, tonic to the heart, anthelmintic, heals wounds and fractures, and rectifies disorders of Kapha and Vayu.
The chief use of the seeds lies in the manufacture of textile sizing powder. It is widely used in sizing jute yarns and some cotton yarn. The kernel is used as creaming agent for rubber latex, soil stabilizer, and as pectin substitute.
The leaves, the flowers, the unripe fruits, bark and the seeds are considered medicinal and a number of medicines can be prepared out of them. The are effective both for internal and external applications.