Botanical name: Tamarindus indica
Synonym: T.occidentalis Gaerth.T. officinals
Family: Caesalpiniaceae, Fabaceae
Sindhi name: Imli
Local name: Imli
English name: Tamarind
Part used: Fruit, leaves, bark and flowers
Tamarindus indica Linn. is a large tree, growing upto 30 m high, with an extensive, dense crown and drooping branches. It has rough grey-brown flaking bark. Leaves are compound and are present on hairy stalks.2 Flowers are small about 2.5 cm, petals are yellow with red veins. The fruit of tamarind is pale with brown pods.
Tamarindus indica Linn. is indigenous to tropical Africa, now distributed throughout the plains and sub-Himalayan tracts of India. It is widely distributed in woody grasslands. It grows best in sandy soils.5 Tamarind is also found in other Asian countries. In Arabia, it is found growing wild in Oman, especially Dhofar, where it grows on the sea-facing slopes of mountains.
Ethomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
Pulp of Tamarindus indica L. is rubbed on areas where snake or insect bites in District Badin.
Useful constituents of Tamarindus indica L. are carbohydrates, reducing saugars, tannins, flavonoids, anthroquinone, saponins, alkaloids, cyanogenic glycosides, terpenes and sterols.8Other active constituents of tamarind include citric, tartaric and malic acids, potassium, bitartrate, gum, pectin and parenchymatous fibre. The fruit acids comprise 20% and sugars are 35%. Small amounts of terpenes (limonene, geraniol), phenylpropanoids (safrole, cinnamic acid, ethyl cinnamate), methyl salicylate, pyrazine and alkylthiazoles are also found.9
Other natural constituents of tamarind include polyphenolics (catechin, epicatechin, and procyanidin) and flavonoids (taxifolin, apigenin, eriodictyol, luteolin, and naringenin). The volatile fractions consist of geranial, and geraniol, methyl salicylate, safrole, ionones (β- and γ-), cinnamaldehyde, and ethyl cinnamate, piperitone and several pyrazines and alkylthiazoles. Pulp of tamarind contain β-sitosterol and tamarindienal.10
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/ Scientific Studies:
Tamarindus indica L. or Tamarind bark is boiled and used for drinking in sore throats.2 Its seeds are boiled and used in the form of poultice to cure boils.3 A lotion of its bark is used for wounds. Seed-paste is applied over burns and to cure insect bites. Pulp is applied externally to inflammatory swelling to relieve pain.4 Its watery extract is used as an antiseptic for cleaning wounds.5
A topical pharmaceutical formulation containing Tamarindus indica pulp was prepared and applied as a thin layer on a burn. The formulation provided a cooling and soothing effect. The pain was eliminated immediately and there was no scarring or blistering after treatment 6. Tamarindus indica L. possesses antifungal, anti parasytic, anti bacterial, antioxidant, anti inflammatory, analgesic and anti viral activity.1, 2, 7, 11-16
1- Khare, C. P., 2012, Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 644, Springer Publisher, New Delhi-110058, India
2- Najma, D. (2002), Field Guide to Common Trees and Shrubs of East Africa, 170, Struik Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa.
3- Dhiman, A. K. (2006), Ayurvedic Drug Plants, p. 33, Daya Publishing house Delhi-110 035, India.
4- Joshi, S. G. (2000), Medicinal Plants, 125, Mohan Primlani Publishers Oxford & IBH publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. 66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India.
5- Rizvi, M. A. (2007), Medicinal Plants History cultivation and Uses, p. 182, Hamdard Institute of Advanced studies and Research Publishers, Hamdard University, Karachi-74600, Pakistan.
6- Bhat, Kalambettu Subraya, Indian Pat. Appl. (2010), IN 2009MU00764 A 20101203, Language: English, Database: Caplus.
7- Muthu, S. E, Nandakumar S. and Roa, U. A. The effect of methanolic extract of Tamarindus indica on the growth of clinical isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei. Indian J Med Res. 2005;122:525–8.
8- Int. J. Mol. Sci. ( 2011), 12, 6385-6396; doi:10.3390/ijms12106385
12- Al-Fatimi, M., Wurster, M., Schröder, G. and Lindequist, U. (2007). Antioxidant, antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities of selected medicinal plants from Yemen. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 111, 657-666.
Structure of repeated unit of Tamarind xyloglucon
13- Fook, J.M.S.L.L, Macedo, L.LP., Moura, G.E.D.D., Teixeira, F.M., Oliveira, A.S., Queiroz, A.F.S. and Sales, M.P. (2005). A serine proteinase inhibitor isolated from Tamarindus indica seeds and its effects on the release of human neutrophil elastase. Life Sciences, 76, 2881-2891.
14- Martinello, F., Soares, S.M., Franco, J.J., Santos. A.C, Sugohara., A., Garcia, S.B., Curti, C., Uyemura, S.A. (2006). Hypolipemic and antioxidant activities from Tamarindus indica L.pulp fruit extract in hypercholesterolemic hamsters. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 44, 810-818.
15- Tsuda, T., Watanabe, M., Ohshima, K., Yamamoto, A., Kawakishi, S., Osawa, T. (1994). Antioxidative Components Isolated from the Seed of Tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.).Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 42, 2671-2674.
16- Reynold, J. E. F. (1993), Analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents. Martendale the Extra Pharmaco Piea. 30th Edn. London: Pharmacological Press, pp. 1.