By Syed Akbar
Tamarind, though not a native tree of Asia, has become an important constituent of the Indian kitchen over the centuries, thanks to the health benefits it offers. Tamarind fruit, leaves and bark are recommended for
various ailments in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha. Pulihora (tamarind rice) and tender tamarind leaves curry are also popular items on the South Indian menu card.
Tamarind is a natural body coolant. While it keeps the body cool in the healthy, it brings down the body temperature (fever) in patients suffering from various ailments including malaria and typhoid. Tamarind leaves and fruit (pod) not only provide the much needed vitamin C to the body, but also fight away skin diseases, rashes, freckles (melanin concentration marks) and itches. Since tamarind is a good source of vitamin C, it helps in preventing scurvy (spots on skin and spongy gums).
If you are suffering from cold and resultant blockage of nose, a glass of hot tamarind rasam is the best bet.
Tamarind is a mild laxative and those suffering from simple constipation or slow bowel movement may consume two tablespoons of tamarind paste mixed with water. This mixture will also bring down the body temperature in case you suffer from fever.
For quick relief from sore throat, you may gargle with tamarind water (tamarind paste mixed with water).
A decoction prepared from tamarind leaves will kill harmful worms in the stomach and intestines.
Apply tamarind pulp on the affected portion of the skin for immediate relief from itching.