Tamarind pulp is used world over in cooking and especially here in South India, we use it every single day in our cooking. Apart from cooking we use tamarind pulp in home remedies to reduce pain and inflammation. Like the tamarind pulp, tamarind seeds also have medicinal uses and health benefits that many people are not aware of.
What Are Tamarind Seeds?
They are the seeds of tamarind tree which produces sour fruits that are used widely all over in cooking. The botanical name of the tree is Tamarindus Indica. When the fruits ripen, we remove the outer shell and the seeds and then store it in ceramic jars with salt and use it year around. We use the seeds to play games, many traditional games require tamarind seeds and so we always keep it in stock. We also roast the seeds, remove the outer coat and chew on the seeds sometimes too.
6 Top Medicinal Uses Of Tamarind Seeds:
1. Aids Weight Loss
Tamarind seeds helps improve carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Tamarind seeds are good source of proteinase inhibitors and a trypsin inhibitor isolated from tamarind seeds helps prevent weight gain by reducing food consumption.
Another very interesting use of tamarind seed extract is it improved the endocrine function impaired due to obesity. High fat diet in males can decrease testosterone synthesis. In a study done on mice under high fat diet along with tamarind seed extract, there was improvement in total testosterone production after just five weeks of treatment.
2. Protects Against UVA Damage
Another very interesting use of tamarind seeds is skin protection. Sun exposure damages skin through the formation of oxidative species. The best remedy for that is using antioxidants that prevents the formation of these oxidants and tamarind seed extract has been proven to be a strong antioxidant than vitamin C and vitamin E! Tamarind seed extract also has anti aging properties and topical use has been proven to have improve skin moisture on elasticity.
3. Prevents High Fructose Induced Metabolic Syndrome
Many of us consume high fructose diet which is nothing but high sugar diet which can cause lot of problems including high cholesterol and diabetis. In a study, a group of rats were divided into three groups. One group was given clean water the second group was given fructose and the third group was given fructose along with tamarind seed extract for 8 weeks. Tamarind seed extract prevented the increase in fasting serum insulin, triglycerides, total cholesterol, VLDL and LDL compared to the plain fructose group.
4. Good For Arthritic Patients
Though arthritis is a joint disorder, several studies have now reported that there are secondary complications due to arthritis which is due to the generation of free radicals like reactive oxygen and nitrogen species leading to oxidative stress in the liver. Tamarind seed extract has been proven to have anti arthritic properties. Common medications used for arthritis do not protect the liver instead they cause liver damage over time. Interestingly tamarind seed extract reduces inflammation and also protects the liver.
5. Controls Release Of Drugs
Certain ingredients are added to drugs to control the release in the bloodstream and tamarind seed polysaccharideTamarind seed also called as tamarind gum obtained from tamarind seed kernel is used to control the release of drugs. When added to metformin (diabetic drug), it helped control the release over a period of 10 hours.
6. Anti Venom Properties
Another very important use of tamarind is its anti venom properties. In a study, when Russell viper venom was mixed with tamarind seed extract and injected into my eyes all of them survived but when the Russell viper venom was injected first followed by tamarind seed extract, all the mice died and on the other hand if tamarind seed extract was injected near the site where Russell viper venom was injected first the mice survived for more than 24 hours. The survival time was prolonged but they all died within 96 hours which proves that tamarind seed extract prolongs the survival time when injected near the bite area.
Tamarind Seeds Side Effects
Internally consuming large quantities of tamarind seeds has been linked to oral sub mucous fibrosis which causes abnormal accumulation of collagen leading to restricted mouth opening. Usually oral sub mucous fibrosis is associated with betel nut chewing but a 12 year old boy who was chewing 15 to 20 raw and roasted tamarind seeds 2 to 3 times daily for years developed oral sub mucous fibrosis.
Tamarind seeds have good nutritional qualities but it also contains anti nutritional compounds especially the seed coat contains large amounts of anti nutrients which makes it unsuitable of consumption so we always remove the seed coat before consuming and we always roast the seed well.
Since the seeds are very very hard, it will take a long time to chew on one seed and we can barely make it to two seeds, personally I have never seen anyone experience any side effects consuming tamarind seeds. The child consuming 15 to 20 seeds (both raw and roasted) 3 times a day really shocked me! This proves that it is very important to get to know about both the benefits and side effects of an ingredient and educate our children about them too.