What Are the Health Benefits of Tamarind?

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

The tamarind fruit is considered a natural superfood and a traditional healer.

Grown around the world, the tamarind tree and its fruit that grows in pods and appears brown when mature delivers B vitamins and is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, and iron. An important part of the tropical cuisine and traditional medicine for centuries, the tamarind fruit has gained a reputation as a powerful super-food that can help fight several modern diseases.

The sweet and sour fruit called tamarind has a unique “super-power.” It removes one of the most toxic substances ingested by most Americans – fluoride.

Traditional Uses of Tamarindus Indica

Everywhere tamarind has spread, healers have found it useful for supporting good health. It’s been used to remedy fevers, speed healing of wounds, diarrhea, malaria, abdominal pain and indigestion, constipation, eye diseases, and disinfecting. Tamarind is also widely used in many dishes and candy around the world.

Tamarind’s Health Benefits

In recent years, tamarind has caught the attention of modern medicine. Like so many plants and herbs consumed for their health benefits, it helps your body resist common physical stresses caused by diet and environmental pollutants. Here are a few ways it helps.

Supports the Liver

In one study, an extract of tamarind fruit stimulated production of the liver’s natural antioxidants superoxide dismutase and glutathione. With the increase in antioxidant protection, the livers of test subjects experienced less damage. [1]

Soothes Joint Inflammation

Tamarind seed extract protects joints, bones, and cartilage from arthritis. [2] It breaks down inflammatory chemicals like interleukin and prevents the formation of enzymes that break down bone and cartilage.

Supports Normal Blood Sugar

While cutting out foods loaded with sugar makes a good first step, it’s important to add foods that support blood sugar control. Based on research so far, regular consumption of tamarind offers positive effects on blood sugar. [3]

  • Regular consumption of tamarind lowers fasting and blood glucose levels in as little as five days. [4]
  • Helps return triglyceride levels to normal. [5]
  • Promotes balance blood sugar and the way your cells use calcium, an important component of cellular metabolism. [6]

Promotes Fluoride Detoxification

With fluoride in toothpaste and a fluoridated water supply, the majority of Americans are in “overload status” of this toxic, non-useful metal. Once in your body, it disrupts your hormones and weakens your bones. Detoxing fluoride can be a challenge, but tamarind can handle it. In one study, 18 healthy boys were given a third of an ounce of tamarind daily for 18 days and eliminated what researchers described as a “significant” amount of fluoride. [7] One note about tamarind…the researchers did report increased loss of essential minerals zinc and magnesium. So you should consider supplementing with these minerals if you eat tamarind over a period of time.

Tamarind Nutrition Facts Table

Tamarind’s unique as it is a fruit that’s an excellent source of calcium. It’s also loaded with B vitamins that support energy.

Nutrient Per 100g 1 Cup, pulp 120g
Energy 239 kcal 287 kcal
Protein 2.80 g 3.36 g
Fat 0.60 g 0.72 g
Carbohydrate 62.50 g 75 g
Fiber 5.1 g 6.1 g
Sugars 38.80 g 46.56 g
Vitamins in Tamarind
Thiamine (B1) 0.428 mg 0.514 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 0.152 mg 0.182 mg
Niacin (B3) 1.938 mg 2.326 mg
Vitamin B6 0.066 mg 0.079 mg
Folate (B9) 14 ?g 17 ?g
Vitamin A 30 UI 36 UI
Vitamin C 3.5 mg 4.2 mg
Vitamin E 0.1 mg 0.12 mg
Vitamin K 2.8 ?g 3.4 ?g
Minerals in Tamarind
Calcium 74 mg 89 mg
Iron 2.8 mg 3.36 mg
Magnesium 92 mg 110 mg
Phosphorus 113 mg 136 mg
Potassium 628 mg 754 mg
Sodium 28 mg 34 mg
Zinc 0.1 mg 0.12 mg

Tamarind Fruit: A Natural Superfood

Traditional healers consider tamarind a superfood. And the way it helps control blood sugar, reduce the symptoms of arthritis, and protect the liver supports this long held view. But its special ability to detox fluoride takes it way beyond simply a food or supplement for health support. This tropical fruit offers an effective way to remove fluoride, the dangerous mineral toxin linked to bone loss, hormone imbalance, arthritis, infertility, thyroid disease, heart disease, kidney disease, and more.

For more information on fluoride and fluoride detox, check out Reducing Your Exposure to Fluoride.

References (7)
  1. Amir M1, Khan MA, Ahmad S, Akhtar M, Mujeeb M, Ahmad A, Khan SA, Al-Abbasi FA. "Ameliorating effects of Tamarindus indica fruit extract on anti-tubercular drugs induced liver toxicity in rats." Nat Prod Res. 2015 May 15:1-5.
  2. Sundaram MS1, Hemshekhar M2, Santhosh MS3, Paul M1, Sunitha K1, Thushara RM1, NaveenKumar SK1, Naveen S4, Devaraja S5, Rangappa KS6, Kemparaju K1, Girish KS7. "Tamarind Seed (Tamarindus indica) Extract Ameliorates Adjuvant-Induced Arthritis via Regulating the Mediators of Cartilage/Bone Degeneration, Inflammation and Oxidative Stress." Sci Rep. 2015 Jun 10;5:11117. doi: 10.1038/srep11117.
  3. Huang, Elbert S. et al. "Projecting the Future Diabetes Population Size and Related Costs for the U.S." Diabetes Care 32.12 (2009): 2225–2229. PMC. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
  4. Nahar L1, Nasrin F2, Zahan R1, Haque A2, Haque E1, Mosaddik A1. "Comparative study of antidiabetic activity of Cajanus cajan and Tamarindus indica in alloxan-induced diabetic mice with a reference to in vitro antioxidant activity." Pharmacognosy Res. 2014 Apr;6(2):180-7. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.129043.
  5. Agnihotri A1, Singh V2. "Effect of Tamarindus indica Linn. and Cassia fistula Linn. stem bark extracts on oxidative stress and diabetic conditions." Acta Pol Pharm. 2013 Nov-Dec;70(6):1011-9.
  6. Sole SS1, Srinivasan BP. "Aqueous extract of tamarind seeds selectively increases glucose transporter-2, glucose transporter-4, and islets' intracellular calcium levels and stimulates β-cell proliferation resulting in improved glucose homeostasis in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus." Nutr Res. 2012 Aug;32(8):626-36. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.06.015. Epub 2012 Aug 3.
  7. Khandare AL1, Rao GS, Lakshmaiah N. "Effect of tamarind ingestion on fluoride excretion in humans." Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jan;56(1):82-5.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Peggy

    Is tamarind fruit sold in CANADA? Can it be bought I pill form?

  • Patrick Deakin

    You can buy tamarind “candies” (fresh, ripe tamarind pulp that is mixed with sugar and salt) in any Asian grocery. They’re delicious! Pure pulp can be bought as well although it’s not carried by all stores. Unripe pulp is also carried but is very sour and used for cooking, not eating directly. “Candy” is the easiest way to buy and consume tamarind. The Thai versions are usually also mixed with chili. Filipino versions are, in my opinion, the best (salt and sugar only). Mexican versions tend to have more sugar than Asian versions of this treat and sometimes have preservatives. Asian tamarind pulp candies have nothing artificial. Just sugar and salt (add chili if it’s Thai and sometimes sweet potato pulp as an extender/sweetener – rare but check the ingredients anyway). Warning: can make farts pretty smelly 🙂 But then you know it’s working 🙂

  • Xan The

    Hi Ed! Tamarind DECREASES excretion of magnesium and zinc, not INCREASES, as stated in your article. Please read up on it. Thank you!

  • Sunil

    The place I was born and raised had abundant tamarind trees. Me with my childhood friends plucked the fruits and ate them. We offered the leftover to monkeys who from a distance watched us gulping down the fruits wondering on our gluttony. Actually we never game a damn to the wastage of the fruits, considering we barely thought the tamarinds in coming days would be scarce commodities. After reading this article by the doctor, I sort of feel sorry for not having planted enough tamarind trees back those days.

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