Tamarindus indicus L

[From Arabic, tamr-hindi = date of India and from Latin, indicus = from India]

Synonymy: Tamarindus indica L.

Common names: Tamarind tree; asam jawa (Malay); tamarindo de la India (Spanish); tamarinier (French); amli and 30 other names (Sanskrit); magi (Burmese).

Physical description: It is a tropical tree native to Africa. The twigs are reddish. Leaves: pinnate and stipulate. The stipules are small and caducous. The leaves show 8-16 pairs of folioles which are elliptic, dark green, dull and 3.5 mm x 1.5 cm. The flowers are arranged in axillary panicles. The calyx is obconial and 4-lobed; the lobes are lanceolate and imbricate. The corolla comprises of 5 yellow or purplish red petals. The stamens are monadelp-hous, and only 3 are fertile. The fruits are sausage-like, slightly rugose, fawn-colored, elliptic, slightly falcate and 20 cm long. The seeds are glossy, squarish, brown, woody, and embedded in a pulp which is sourish brown and corrosive (Fig. 162).

Fig. 162. Tamarindus indicus L.

Pharmaceutical interest: Tamarind pulp contains pectin, several sorts of organic acids (tartaric, malic, citric), monoterpenes, nicotinic acid, cinna-mates and carbohydrates. An extensive literature exists on tamarind. Note however the presence of immunomodulatory polysaccharides (SreelekhaTT et a/., 1993) and the presence of L-(-)-di-n-butyl malate which inhibit the proliferation of sea urchin embryo cells (Kobayashi A eta/., 1996).

Uses: The pulp is used to relieve the bowels of costiveness, lower body temperature and quench thirst. The bark is astringent. In Vietnam, the heart wood is used to treat liver disorder, stimulate appetite, promote urination and relieve the bowels of costiveness. In Indonesia, an oil prepared from the pods is used to soothe sprue and irritated skin, heal wounds and boils and to cause an abortion. Tamarind jams are used in Western medicine as laxative remedies.


O O Malic acid

O OH Citric acid

HO "O Nicotinic acid

Continue reading here: Family Fabaceae Lindley 1836 nom conserv the Pea or Bean Family

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