Tamarindus indica, generally known as the tamarind, is a vast and majestic hard-wood tree that has long been a paradoxical plant: it is both a shelter and a threat, a medical purgative and a culinary shape-shifter, a component in a thirst-quencher and a drought-tolerant genus. While the tree has been described throughout historical and literary genres for centuries, its scientific origin remains unknown.
Nonetheless, we are here to share with you some fascinating facts about this ancient tree and its fruit.
Origin and Charaksamhita
According to some accounts, Arab trading organisations transported tamarind from Central Africa to India and subsequently to Southeast Asia.
The status of tamarind in India is that it has been described in the ancient Ayurvedic literature Charakasamhita, penned in the seventh-eighth century BC, along with its equivalents Vrikshamla and Amalvetas. The tamarind’s scientific name is ‘Imalindus Indica,’ and it is known as ‘Tamar Hindi’ in Persian and Arabic. Whereas it has been suggested that tamarind arrived in India via Persia and Arabia. Following that, it spread across Asia.
According to the Charaka Samhita, tamarind is warm and heals Vata and Kapha. It decreases alcohol intoxication and prevents hiccups. Its ingestion has also been shown to improve blood pressure, diminish bad cholesterol, and enhance good cholesterol. It also has anti-bacterial and antioxidant effects.
Indian legend associated with Ramayana:
According to a Bihar tribal legend, the tamarind obtained its little leaves when exiled Lord Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita stumbled upon a tamarind wood where the tree’s big leaves gave refuge. However, Rama was persuaded that they were intended to suffer throughout their exile, so he directed Lakshmana to aim at the leaves with his bow and arrow — and ever since the leaves have been split.
A cursed tree and home to spirits:
Though many cultures revere the tree as holy or the abode of gods, some claim curses and perils; several Indian and Caribbean groups warn that the tamarind is home to ghosts. However, Dr RP Parashar, an Ayurvedacharya practising at a government hospital, reveals that this tree maintains an acidic layer around it.
Aside from that, it releases some fluid because of which the acidic air continues to enter the body, causing dizziness and nausea.