Tamarind Tree (Imlī / Amlikā / Tamarindus indica)

Tamarind leaves and fruits
Sanskrit name: Amikā
Hindi name: Imlī
Sanskrit synonyms:
  1. Cukrikā
  2. Amlī
  3. Cukrā
  4. Dantaṣaṭhā
  5. Amlā
  6. Ciñcikā
  7. Cincā
  8. Tintiḍīka
  9. Tintiḍī
Tamarind Pods

Focus: The Ripe Fruit…

Many parts of the tamarind tree are used medicinally for culinary purposes. Below are the qualities of the ripe pulp (from the fruit pod), which can be bought as pods themselves, as paste, pulp, purée or a concentrated paste.
Rasa (taste): amla (sour), madhura (sweet)
Vīrya (energy): heating
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): amla (sour)
Gunas: ruksa (dry) & guru (heavy)
Doshas: KV- P+
Can increase Kapha and rakta (blood) together if had in excess.
Parts used: flower, seed, fruit, kshara (alkali bark ash / fruit skin), leaves.
Karmas (Actions):
  • Dīpana (increases digestive fire), the ripe fruit
  • Laxative (1)
  • Vasti shuddhikrut - cleanses urinary bladder
Tamarind pods
Tamarind paste

Uses & Benefits

Arthritis

Helpful for arthritis, especially when Vata is trapped in the joints.
The unripened fruit is also helpful for rheumatoid arthritis: Unripened tamarind paste that will suck the expanded ama (undigested toxic food material) to one place, then it is easier to get out of the place with some elimination therapy.(2)
Note that tamarind is not the herb of choice for arthritis.

Digestion

Tamarind is a good pre-biotic. It acts as a laxative and enkindles digestive strength.
Add the Sour Taste for Wholesome 6 Tastes
In Ayurveda, a balanced diet means having all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent). Tamarind is a great way to include the sour taste. You can do this by adding tamarind pulp, paste or tamarind water (see recipe below) filtered or not.
Sour taste characteristics:
  • Mahābhūta (elements): earth and fire.
  • Vīrya (energy): heating
  • Gunas (qualties): laghu (light), snigdha (unctous)
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect): amla (sour) - (in general)
  • Doṣas: PK+ V-
  • Karmas (actions): enkindles agni (dīpana), metabolises ama/ undigested toxic food materials (pacana), moves liver stagnation, increases bile, building (bṛṃhaṇa), stopping (stambhana), contraction (contraction), nourishes and energises the body, awakens the mind, nourishes the heart (hṛdaya), satisfying, soothing and appeasing (prīṇanam), washes or clears oral cavity.
Tamarind is part of the recipe for Six Tastes Drink: A Sweet Drink to Enliven the 6 Tastes and Agni (Digestive Fire)
To learn more about the six tastes and how to help recognise the medicinal qualities of food in any food item or substance, check out Vital Veda’s Essence of Ayurvedic Nutrition course.

Ally to Purify Food, Herbs and Cleanse in General

Tamarind water is used to wash and purify fruit and vegetables.
To make tamarind water, add 1 tablespoon of tamarind pulp to 1L of water, mix and mash well. Leave for 15 minutes, mix again and filter.
Tamarind water is a form of tartaric acid - it helps remove fertilisers and chemicals that are on non-organic food.
Tamarind is used for cleaning metals like brass and copper.
Purify pumpkin
The common yellow pumpkin is considered a vata aggravating vegetable, and a vegetable to not have too much of. Cooking pumpkin with tamarind and cumin is an antidote to the vata aggravating qualities of pumpkin.
Antidote to Sliminess of Okra (Lad’s Finger)
For those who don’t like the slimy quality (picheela guna) of the okra vegetable, using tamarind during the cooking process will prevent it from getting too slimy.
Pumpkin Tamarind Gravy
Sambar

Classical Food Recipes With Tamarind

Tamarind Rice is a classic prasadam (holy) dish that is offered in many Hindu temples. It is also used in Vedic astrology in combination with other ingredients to pacify the nine planets. Check out this Nine Planet Tamarind Rice Recipe 
Tamarind is a common ingredient used in small amounts in the classical south Indian dishes Sambar and Rasam, light, nutritious soups that are great for dinner or as part of the main, noon meal.

Ayurvedic Medicines Containing Tamarind

Krishna Paste
Tamarind seed bhasma and tamarind seed root is used in the skincare product Krishna paste.
Shankha Vati (a.k.a. Shankar V)
A classical Ayurvedic medicine used for gastric conditions, dyspepsia, anorexia, high pitta in the gut, and other digestive disorders.
Rasnadi Chūrnam
A powder to apply over the scalp and crown of the head. Used to relieve headache sinusitis or Kapha in the head, and is good to apply after shirodhara/takradhara and/or after bathing post shirodhara/takradhara treatment.

Tamarind Flower Properties and Medicinal Uses

  • Ruchiprada - improves taste, useful in anorexia
  • Meha - diabetes and urinary tract disorders.
  • dīpana - enkindles agni (digestive fire)
  • Rasa
  • Doshas: Kapha Vata hara (KV-)
  • Gunas: laghu (light), vishada (clear)
Tamarind flower

Ripe Fruit of Tamarind Properties and Medicinal Uses

  • atyamla - extremely sour
  • laghu - light to digest
  • asruk krut - causes blood disorders (1)
  • doshas: PK+ V-
  • Constricts channels (2)
  • Clears the urine passage (2)
  • For rheumatoid arthritis: Unripened tamarind paste that will suck the expanded ama (undigested toxic food material) to one place, then it is easier to get out of the place with some elimination therapy.(2)

Semi-Ripe Fruit of Tamarind Properties and Medicinal Uses

  • grahi - absorbent, useful in diarrhoea, IBS
  • dīpana
  • ruchya - improves taste, useful for anorexia
  • doshas: VK-

References:

  1. Bhāvaprakāśa-Pūrvakhaṇḍa āmrādi phala varga
  2. Vaidya Rajus from Hyderabad

1 Comment

  1. Namaste 🙏
    This is fantastic news
    Loved reading
    Was nourishing to know
    Dhan’yavādālu 😇😁🙏💫

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