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Medicinal Plant: Sampaloc

By goGreen | March 10, 2012
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Family • Fabaceae

Tamarindus indica Linn.
TAMARIND
Da ma lin

Botany
Sampalok is a large tree 12 to 25 meters high, nearly glabrous. Leaves are evenly pinnate, 6 to 10 centimeters long, with 20 to 40 leaflets, rather close, oblong, obtuse, 1 to 2 centimeters long. Racemes are mostly axillary though sometimes panicled, and reaching a length of 5 to 10 centimeters.

Calyx is about 1 centimeter long, the calyx tube turbinate, the teeth lanceolate, much imbricated, the lower 2 connate. Petals are yellowish with pink stripes, obovate-oblong, less than 1 centimeter long. Only the 3 upper petals developed, the 2 lateral ones ovate, the upper hooded, the 2 lower ones reduced to scales. Stamens monadelphous, only 3 developed, ovary many-ovuled. Fruits are pods oblong, thickened, 6 to 15 centimeters long, 2 to 3 centimeters wide, slightly compressed, the exocarp thin and crustaceous, the mesocarp pulpy acid and edible.

Distribution
- Planted throughout the settled areas of the Philippines.
- An attractive ornamental along avenues.
- Prehistoric introduction.
- Probably a native of tropical Africa.
- Pantropic in cultivation.

Constituents
- Fixed oil, 15-20%; citric, acetic, butyric and oxalic acids; tannin; pectin.
- Various studies have shown high amounts of crude protein and essential amino acids, carbohydrates, minerals, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium.
- An analysis of tamarind pulp yielded: citric acid, 9.40; tartaric acid, 1.55; malic acid, 0.45; bitartrate of potash, 3.25; sugar, 12.5, gum, 4.7; vegetable jelly (pectin), 6.25; parenchyma, 34.35; and water, 27.55.
- Seed yielded tannin, a fixed oil, and insoluble matter. Analysis showed albuminoids, fat, carbohydrates, 63.22; fiber; and ash containing phosphorus and nitrogen.
- Fruit yields a trace of oxalic acid.
- Bark of old trees yield 7 per cent tannin.

Properties
- Propagation by seed, soaked in water for 8 to 9 days before transplanting.
- Flowering from April to October.
- Astringent, tonic, digestive, antiasthmatic, febrifuge, carminative, antiscorbutic, antibilious.
- Bark is considered astringent and tonic.
- Pulp considered refrigerant and laxative.
- Seed and testa are astringent.

Parts used
· Leaves, fruits, flowers, and bark.
· Gather fruits from March to June when fruits ripen.
· Remove rind, dry under the sun.

Uses
Edibility / Culinary / Nutrition
- As a souring condiment.
- Source of vitamins B and C.
- Sweetened and candied. The seeds, surrounded by a brownish pulp, tamarindo, are made into balls from which jams, sweets and drinks are made. The pulp, malasebo, is often eaten outright, with or without salt. The pulp is also an ingredient in Indian curries and chutnies.
- In India, seeds are eaten after the outer skin has been removed by roasting or soaking; then boiled or fried.
- The seed is sometimes used as famine food by aboriginal tribes.
- Young leaves and very young seedlings and flowers are cooked and eaten as greens and used popularly in the Philippines for seasoning “sinigang,” and in India for curries. In Zimbabwe, leaves used in soups, flowers in salads.
- In some part of tropical America, a fermented drink is made from the pulp.

Folkloric
• In the Philippines, the bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds are used medicinally in the way it is used in other countries.
• Decoction of leaves used as an aromatic bath for fevers, puerperism, and convalescence.
• Fever: Macerate pulp or ripe fruit in water, sweeten to taste, and drink.
• Laxative: Pulp ia considered a mild laxative because of the presence of potassium bitartrate. Eat pulp of ripe fruit liberally and follow with plenty of water.
• Asthma: Bark; chop and boil a foot-long piece of bark in 3 glasses of water for 10 minutes. Adults, 1 cup after every meal and at bedtime; children, 1/2 cup 4 times daily; babies, 2 tbsps 4 times daily.
• Decoction of ash: For colic, indigestion; as gargle for sore throats, aphthous sores.
• Ash is considered astringent and tonic; used internally as a digestive. Ash preparation: Fry the bark with common salt in an earthen pot until it turns to powdered white ash; a heaping teaspoon of the ash to half-cup of boiling water; cool and drink for colic and indigestion.
• Poultice or lotion from bark applied to ulcers, boils, and rashes.
• Poultice of leaves to inflammatory swellings of ankles and joints.
• Decoction of leaves as postpartum tea; also used as a wash for indolent ulcers.
• Flowers for conjunctival inflammation. Internally, as decoction or infusion, for bleeding piles (4 glasses of tea daily).
• Pulp surrounding the seeds is considered cooling and a gentlelaxative.
• Gargle of tamarind water used for healing aphthous ulcers and sore throat.
• Tamarind pulp considered preventive and curative for scurvy.
• In Mauritius, the Creoles mix salt with the pulp and use it as a liniment for rheumatism.
• Tamarind infusion considered carminative and digestive, antiscorbutic and antibilious.
• Young leaves used as fomentation for rheumatism and applied to sores and wounds.
• In Malaya decoction of leaves used for fevers.
• The leaves crushed with water and expressed, used for bilious fever and in scalding of urine.
• Poultice of leaves crushed in water used for ankle and joint inflammations to reduce swelling and pain.
• Decoction of leaves used as a wash for indolent ulcers.
• Poultice of flowers used for conjunctival inflammation. Juice expressed from flowers used internally for bleeding piles.
• Juice of leaves, warmed by dipping a red hot iron, used in dysentery.
• Powdered seeds are given in dysentery; boiled and decocted, used as a poultice for boils.
• In Cambodia, filtered hot juice of leaves used for conjunctivitis.
• In the West Indies, decoction of leaves used jaundice and for worms in children.
• Hindu physicians apply pounded leaves to erysipelas.
• In Mauritius a bark decoction is used for asthma.
• In Madagascar, bark decoction used for asthma and amenorrhea.
• In East Sudan, the bark is considered tonic and febrifuge.

Others
Dyeing / Mordant: Leaves and flowers useful as mordants in dyeing. Yellow dye from the leaves colors wool red and turns indigo-dyed silk to green. Leaves used in bleaching buri palm to prepare it for hat making. In Java, an ink is obtained by burning the bark. The Hindus Kamaras use the starch in doll painting.

Fodder: Leaves eaten by cattle and goats. Also, a fodder for silkworms.

Nectar: Flowers are considered a good source of nectar for honeybees in South India.

Seeds: Powder from tamarind kernels used in the Indian textile industry in several processes – sizing, finishing cotton, jute and spun viscose.

Wood: Highly prized for furniture, panelling, wheels, axles, mill gears, planking, mallets, handles, walking sticks, etc. In Mexico, wood is used for boiling purposes and provided an excellent source of charcoal for the manufacture of gunpowder.

Oil: Seeds yield an amber oil, useful as illuminant and a varnish.

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