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Tamarindus indica


Tamarindus occidentalis, Tamarindus officinalis, Tamarindus umbrosa

Vernacular Names:


Asam Jawa

English Tamarind

Asam Jawa (Minang); Asem (Sunda), Achem (Madura) Chelagi (Bali); Chamba (Makasar)


Ma Khaam


Makasampaloc, Salomagi, Sampaloc; Salomague, Salumagui, Sambac, Sambagui, Tamarindo,


Cay me, Khoua me, Mak Kham, Me






Luo wang zi, Suan Jiao


Tamarindo (Okinawa)


Imli, Amli, Ampli (Hindi); Huli, Amli (Kannandan) Puli, Kolpuli, Valanpuli (Malayam); Cinca, Tintrini (Sanskrit); Puli Amilam (Tamil); Cintapandu, Amlaki, Cintacettu (Telagu)


Tamarinier, Tamarine


Tamarinde, Indische Dattel, Sauerdattel


Asam Koening, Tamarinde


Tamarindeiro, Tambarine








Ambala, Anbalah


Homr, Dakhar, Tamre, Tamre-nindi [1] [4] [5] [6]

General Information


Tamarindus indica is a member of the Fabaceae family. It is a very large evergreen tree that can grow up to 30 m high. It has dark grey bark with longitudinal fissures and deep cracks. The leaves are paripinnate up to 15 cm long. The rachis is slender, channelled, with 10-20 pairs of leaflets, subsessile and oblong. The flowers are yellow, striped with red in lax, few flowered racemes at the ends of the branches. The fruids are pod with brownish ash coloured, slightly curved, sub compressed, with a shallow oblong pit on each side of the flat faces. Seeds are enveloped by a tough leathery membrane and pulpy mesocarp, testa shining and hard.

Plant Part Used

Roots, bark, leaves, fruits and seeds [1] [3] [5]

Chemical Constituents

(+)-catechin; (-)-epicatechin; a-oxoglutaric acid; apigenin; arabinoside; aspartic acid; b-amyrin; b-sitosterol; calcium; campesterol; carotenes; citric acid; copper; eriodictyol; fructose; galactose; glucose; glutamic acid; glyoxalic acid; inositol; iron; isovitexin; L-ascorbic acid; lupanone; lupeol;  luteolin; magnesium; maltose; mannose; methionine; naringenin; orientin; oxallic acid; oxaloacetic acid; oxalosuccinic acid; phenylalanine; potassium; phosphorus; polyose; procyanidin B2; procyanidin hexamer;  procyanidin pentamer; procyanidin tetramer; procyanidin trimer; raffinose; ribose; scilliphaeosidin-3-O-b-D-glycopyranosyl-L-rhamnopyranoside; serine; sodium; stigmasterol; succinic acid; sucrose; tartaric acid; taxifolin; tocopherol; uzarigenin-3-O-b-D-xylopyranosyl-a-L-rhamnopyranoside; uzarigenin-3-O-beta-D-xylopyranosyl (1 -->2)- alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside; vitexin; xylose; xyloglucan; zinc. [10] [21]

Traditional Used:

The medicinal values of T. indica lie in the root bark, leaves, fruits and seeds. The root bark is considered an astringent, emmeneagogue and a tonic. The leaves are also astringent, anthelmintic, thermogenic, anody anti-inflammatory, antifungal, diuretic, febrifuge and aperients. The fruits are sour, sweet, refrigerant, digestive, carminative, laxative, antiscorbutic, antiseptic, and febrifuge. The seeds are astringent, cooling aphrodisiac, stomachic and tonic.[1]

Gastrointestinal Diseases

The astringent property of the root bark and seeds render them effective in the treatment of gingivitis, ulcers of the mouth, diarrhea and dysentery. The leaves are given in cases of worms infestations of the intestine. The fruits help relieve gastropathy and bilious vomiting. The pulp of the fruit is an adjunct to other laxatives like senna leaves. Aged ripe fruit (1 – 2 years) can help tonify the liver, stomach and intestines. The first ripe fruit is good for constipation. Juice expressed from the flowers is a remedy for haemorrhoids.[1] [3] [5]

Genitourinary Diseases

Decoction of the leaves or seeds is given to those who have burning urine while the seeds alone are a remedy for haematuria.[1]

Poisoning and alcohol intoxication

T. indica fruit pulp is used for Datura and alcohol intoxication. An emulsion of the pulp with dates, raisins, pomegranate seeds, fruits of Grewia asiatica and ripe Phyllanthus emblica fruits is recommended for this. The seeds had been used to treat venomous bites including snake bites and scorpion sting.[1] [5]

Other Uses

Root bark is prescribed to patients with asthma and also for amenorrhoea.The leaves are used in various inflammatory conditions like swellings, wounds and ulcers, and conjunctivitis. It is also being used in the treatment of skin conditions like ringworms, abscesses, scabies and smallpox. The seeds are used to treat giddiness, vertigo, diabetes and general debility. One of the common uses of the fruit pulp is in the treatment of fever. Here, either the juice expressed from the pulp is taken orally or it is spread over the whole body.[1]

Pre-Clinical Data


Immunomodulatory activity

Sreelekha[9] isolated a polysaccharide from T. indica which showed immunomodulatory activities including phagocytic enhancement, leukocyte migration inhibition and inhibition of cell proliferation.

Effects on bioavailability of drug activity

Three studies to determine the effects of T. indica extract on bioavailability of chloroquin[7] [12], aspirin[13] and ibuprofen[14] were carried out on healthy human subjects. It was found that Tamarindus indica was able to increase the bioavailability of aspirin and ibuprofen but decrease the that of chloroquin.

Antinociceptive activity

T. indica had been used to treat pain by traditional practitioners. Khalid S et al[15] looked into the antinociceptive properties of aqueous extracts of its fruit. There was indication of analgesic properties in this extract which is both centrally and peripherally mediated. This is via activation of the opioidergic mechanism.

Effects on fluoride excretion activity

Dental fluorosis and fluoride toxicity had emerged to become a problem in both industrialized and non-industrialized countries. This occurred with the advent of fluorination of water some 50 years ago with added fluorination of toothpastes, dental products and food stuff using fluorinated water. Khandare et al[16] [17] studied the effects of T. indica on excretion of fluoride. They found that it helped in delay of progression of fluorosis by enhancing excretion of fluoride through mobilization of deposited fluoride from bones.

Antibacterial activity

Melioidosis caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei is a common life-threatening infection among rice farmers of Southeast Asia. Muthu SE et al[18] in an attempt to find a herbal solution to this problem found that their methanolic extract of T. indica was the only plant with significant bactericidal activity against the causative agent.

Spasmogenic activity

One of the popular uses of T. indica is to treat constipation. In their study of the effects of aqueous extract of T. indica, Souza[19] found that it could increase the spontaneous contractile activity of guinea pig taenia coli. The activity was unaffected by atropine but high K+ and Ca2+ free solutions could induce tonic contractions.

Antioxidant activity

The seeds[20] [21] of T. indica is rich in polyphenols of the flavonoid, proanthcyanidin and procynidin types. They are found to have significant antioxidant activity. Amongst the proantcyanidins isolated are (+)-catechin (2.0), procyanidin B2 (8.2), (-)-epicatechin (9.4), procyanidin trimer (11.3), procyanidin tetramer (22.2), procyanidin pentamer (11.6), procyanidin hexamer (12.8) along with taxifolin (7.4), apigenin (2.0), eriodictyol (6.9), luteolin (5.0) and naringenin (1.4) of total phenols, respectively. The procynidins are represented by oligomeric  procyanidin tetramer (30.2), procyanidin hexamer (23.8), procyanidin trimer (18.1), procyanidin pentamer (17.6) with lower amounts of procyanidin B2 (5.5) and (-)-epicatechin (4.8). The fruit pulp[22] also exhibit antioxidant activity together with hypolipidemic activity.

Antivenom activity

Ushanandini et al[23] showed that T. indica seeds has enough antivenom properties to make it a potential alternative to serum therapy in cases of snake bites. They studied the effects of the seed extracts on the venom of Vipera russelli. Vipera russelli venom induces predominantly neurotoxic, myotoxic necrotic and hemorrhagic symptoms in experimental animals and has several hydrolytic enzyme activities. Their extract was able to inhibit the PLA(2), protease, hyaluronidase, l-amino acid oxidase and 5’-nucleotidase enzyme activities of the venom. These are the major hydrolytic enzyme responsible for the early effects of envenomation e.g. local tissue damage, inflammation and hypotension. The extract was found to neutralize the degradation of the Bbeta chain of human fibrinogen and indirect haemolysis caused by the venom. Oedema, haemorrhage and myotoxic effects including lethality caused by the venom were neutralized when preincubated with the venom. Animals that received extracts 10 minutes after injection of venom were found to be protected from the toxic effects of the venom.

Hypocholesterolaemic and antihypertensive activity

It was cited above that the pulp of T. indica fruit had hypolipidaemic activity. Iftekhar[24] found that pulverized dried pulp could reduce total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels significantly in a dose of 15mg/kg body weight. They also found that it could reduce the diastolic blood pressure.

Antidiabetic activity

Maiti et al[25] found that aqueous extract of the seeds of T. indica could reduce the blood sugar level of STZ-induced diabetic male rats. They also found that there was a significant increase in liver and skeletal muscle glycogen.


Toxicological study done by Silva et al[11] proved that extract of T. indica is free of clstogenic and genotoxic effects in cells of rodents administered orally at three acute doses.

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

Co-administration of chloroquin with juice of T. indica would reduce the bioavailability of the former.[7]

T. indica fruit extract was found to significantly increased the bioavailability of aspirin and ibuprofen.[8]

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



Copper vessels should never be used when preparing compounds which contains T. indica.[2]

Case Reports

No documentation


  1. P.K. Warrier, VPK Nambiar, C. Ramankutty, R. Vasudevan Nair Indian Medicinal Plant: A Compendium of 500 species, Volume 5 pg. 235 – 237
  2. John Ayrton Paris Pharmacologia: Comprehending the Art of Prescribing upon Fixed and Scientific Principles W. Philips London 1822 pg. 408
  3. Johathan Pereira The Elements of Materia Medica and Therapeutica. Volume 2 Part. 2 Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans and Roberts London 1857 pg. 349
  4. George Staples, Micheal S. Kristiansen Ethnic Culinary Herbs: A Guide to Identification and Cultivation in Hawaii Universityu of Hawaii Press 1999 pg. 97
  5. H. Panda Herbs Cultivation and Medicinal Uses National Institute of Industrial Research Delhi 2000 pg. 584 – 586
  6. Johannesd Seidenmann World Spice Plants Springer-Verlag Berlin 2005 pg. 359
  7. Mahmoud BM, Ali HM, Homeida MM, Bennett JL. Significant reduction in chloroquine bioavailability following coadministration with the Sudanese beverages Aradaib, Karkadi and Lemon. J Antimicrob Chemother. 1994 May;33(5):1005-9.
  8. Mustapha A, Yakasai IA, Aguye IA. Effect of Tamarindus indica L. on the bioavailability of aspirin in healthy human volunteers. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 1996 Jul-Sep;21(3):223-6.
  9. Sreelekha TT, Vuijayakumar T, Ankanthil R, Vijayan KK, Nair MK Immunomodulatory effects of a polysaccharide from Tamarindus indica Anticancer Drugs. 1993 Apr; 4(2):209-12
  10. Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical & Ethnobotanical Database ( [Accessed on 30th December 2010]
  11. Silva FM, Leite MF, Spadaro AC, Uyemura SA, Maistro EL Assessment of the potential genotoxic risk of medicinal Tamarindus indica fruit pulp extract using in vivo assays. Genet Mol Res. 2009 Sep 8;8(3):1085-1092.
  12. Mahmoud BM, Ali HM, Homeida MM, Bennett JL. Significant reduction in chloroquine bioavailability following coadministration with the Sudanese beverages Aradaib, Karkadi and Lemon. J Antimicrob Chemother. 1994 May;33(5):1005-9.
  13. Mustapha A, Yakasai IA, Aguye IA. Effect of Tamarindus indica L. on the bioavailability of aspirin in healthy human volunteers. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 1996 Jul-Sep;21(3):223-6.
  14. Garba M, Yakasai IA, Bakare MT, Munir HY. Effect of Tamarindus indica. L on the bioavailability of ibuprofen in healthy human volunteers. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2003 Jul-Sep;28(3):179-84.
  15. Khalid S, Shaik Mossadeq WM, Israf DA, Hashim P, Rejab S, Shaberi AM, Mohamad AS, Zakaria ZA, Sulaiman MR. In vivo analgesic effect of aqueous extract of Tamarindus indica L. fruits. Med Princ Pract. 2010;19(4):255-9. Epub 2010 May 26.
  16. Khandare AL, Rao GS, Lakshmaiah N. Effect of tamarind ingestion on fluoride excretion in humans. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jan;56(1):82-5.
  17. Khandare AL, Kumar P U, Shanker RG, Venkaiah K, Lakshmaiah N. Additional beneficial effect of tamarind ingestion over defluoridated water supply to adolescent boys in a fluorotic area. Nutrition. 2004 May;20(5):433-6.
  18. Muthu SE, Nandakumar S, Rao UA. The effect of methanolic extract of Tamarindus indica Linn. on the growth of clinical isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei. Indian J Med Res. 2005 Dec;122(6):525-8.
  19. Souza A, Aka KJ. Spasmogenic effect of the aqueous extract of Tamarindus indica L. (Caesalpiniaceae) on the contractile activity of guinea-pig taenia coli. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2007 Feb 16;4(3):261-6.
  20. Komutarin T, Azadi S, Butterworth L, Keil D, Chitsomboon B, Suttajit M, Meade BJ. Extract of the seed coat of Tamarindus indica inhibits nitric oxide production by murine macrophages in vitro and in vivo. Food Chem Toxicol. 2004 Apr;42(4):649-58.
  21. Sudjaroen Y, Haubner R, Würtele G, Hull WE, Erben G, Spiegelhalder B, Changbumrung S, Bartsch H, Owen RW. Isolation and structure elucidation of phenolic antioxidants from Tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.) seeds and pericarp. Food Chem Toxicol. 2005 Nov;43(11):1673-82.
  22. Martinello F, Soares SM, Franco JJ, Santos AC, Sugohara A, Garcia SB, Curti C, Uyemura SA. Hypolipemic and antioxidant activities from Tamarindus indica L. pulp fruit extract in hypercholesterolemic hamsters. Food Chem Toxicol. 2006 Jun;44(6):810-8. Epub 2005 Dec 5.
  23. Ushanandini S, Nagaraju S, Harish Kumar K, Vedavathi M, Machiah DK, Kemparaju K, Vishwanath BS, Gowda TV, Girish KS. The anti-snake venom properties of Tamarindus indica (leguminosae) seed extract. Phytother Res. 2006 Oct;20(10):851-8.
  24. Iftekhar AS, Rayhan I, Quadir MA, Akhteruzzaman S, Hasnat A. Effect of Tamarindus indica fruits on blood pressure and lipid-profile in human model: an in vivo approach. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2006 Apr;19(2):125-9.
  25. Maiti R, Jana D, Das UK, Ghosh D. Antidiabetic effect of aqueous extract of seed of Tamarindus indica in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 May;92(1):85-91.
  26. Yadava RN, Yadav S A new cardenolide uzarigenen-3-O-beta-D-xylopyranosyl (1-->2)-alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 1999;1(4):245-9
  27. Imam S, Azhar I, Hasan MM, Ali MS, Ahmed SW. Two triterpenes lupanone and lupeol isolated and identified from Tamarindus indica linn. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2007 Apr;20(2):125-7.

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