Tamarind Tree, Barbados Pocket Guide

Tamarind Tree

The tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) was introduced to Barbados in the mid seventeenth (17th) century but is native to the African Savannah zone. This large tree produces pods around May and once the brown, edible fruit is ripe, it is quite a favourite on the island of Barbados. Tamarind balls and tamarind drink are made from the fruit of the tamarind tree.


Years ago on the island of Barbados, the branches of the tamarind tree were used in schools as an act of corporal punishment.


The Tamarind Seed Movie

The Tamarind Seed movie was filmed in 1974 on the island of Barbados at the home of Best of Barbados at Welches in St. Thomas.


The tale begins with a British Home Office assistant, Judith Farrow, who has gone to Barbados to recover from a failed love affair. During her tropical holiday, she meets Feodore Sverdlov, a handsome Soviet air attaché in Paris. They visit the colorful island sights together and fall in love. This paradise romance is, however, complicated by their respective positions with governments on opposite sides of the Cold War. Thus, these two individuals of integrity are forced into deception (alleged spy recruiting) in order to disguise their relationship. Above all, their ill advised love can only spell danger.


Health Benefits of Tamarind

The island of Barbados enjoys the tamarind but the usage of the fruit, plant, leaves and bark are quite extensive in other parts of the world.

Throughout Asia and Africa, the tamarind is quite common for health remedies. In Northern Nigeria, fresh stem bark and fresh leaves are used as decoction mixed with potash for the treatment of stomach disorder, general body pain, jaundice, yellow fever and as blood tonic and skin cleanser
Fruit of the tamarind is also commonly used throughout South East Asia as a poultice applied to foreheads of fever sufferers
Tamarind is used as in Indian Ayurvedic Medicine for gastric and/or digestion problems, and in cardioprotective activity
In Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines and Javanese traditional medicine use asem leaves as a herbal infusion for malarial fever, the fruit juice as an anti-septic, and scurvy and even cough cure
Tamarind seeds are used traditionally to treat diabetes, fevers and intestinal infections. They are also used in the treatment of both diarrhoea and as a laxative. This activity could be associated with a group of protein compounds known as lectins that are present in tamarind
The fruits are used to flavour drinks given to patients with fever. When prescribed in this way, the tamarind is often mixed with lime, honey, milk and spices
Pulp from the seed pods is applied to painful joints and is mixed with salt and used as a gargle to treat sore throats. It is given to people who are suffering from sunstroke and those who have had too much alcohol to drink
Leaves are boiled and applied to swollen joints, boils and sprains. Infusions of the leaves are used to treat jaundice
Tamarind juice is a mild laxative
Tamarind is used to treat bile disorders
Tamarind lowers cholesterol
Tamarind promotes a healthy heart
The pulp, leaves and flowers, in various combinations, are applied on painful and swollen joints
Tamarind is use as a gargle for sore throats, and as a drink to bring relief from sunstroke
The heated juice is used to cure conjunctivitis. Eye drops made from tamarind seeds may be a treatment for dry eye syndrome. Tamarind seed polysaccharide is adhesive, enabling it to stick to the surface of the eye longer than other eye preparations
Tamarind is a good source of antioxidants that fight against cancer
Tamarind reduces fevers and provides protection against colds. Make an infusion by taking one ounce of pulp, pour one quart of boiling water over this and allow to steep for one hour. Strain and drink tepid with little honey to sweeten. This will bring down temperature by several degrees
Tamarind helps the body digest food
Tamarind applied to the skin to heal inflammation
The red outer covering of the seed is an effective remedy against diarrhea and dysentery
Juice extracted from the flowers is given internally for bleeding piles
Other medicinal uses include: Anthelminthic (expels worms), antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, asthma, astringent, bacterial skin infections (erysipelas), boils, chest pain, cholesterol metabolism disorders, colds, colic, conjunctivitis (pink eye), constipation (chronic or acute), diabetes, diarrhea (chronic), dry eyes, dysentery (severe diarrhea), eye inflammation, fever, food preservative, food uses (coloring), gallbladder disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, gingivitis, hemorrhoids, indigestion, insecticide, jaundice, keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), leprosy, liver disorders, nausea and vomiting (pregnancy-related), paralysis, poisoning (Datura plant), rash, rheumatism, saliva production, skin disinfectant/sterilization, sore throat, sores, sprains, sunscreen, sunstroke, swelling (joints), urinary stones, wound healing (corneal epithelium)


When you visit the island of Barbados and tamarind is in season, feel free to have a feast by snacking on them or by simply eating our mouthwatering tamarind balls.


DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this page should not be interpreted as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this site.


Readers should consult the appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well being.


The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best information available to the writers. However, readers who fail to consult the appropriate health authorities automatically assume risk of any injuries. Barbados Pocket Guide is not in any way responsible for errors or omissions.


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