Tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.): A Review of its Use as a Spice, a Culinary Herb and Medicinal Applications
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Patience Tugume, Godwin Anywar, Samuel Ojelel and Esezah K. Kakudidi
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is a highly valued multipurpose fruit tree
indigenous to tropical Africa. T. indica is extensively used in traditional medicine and
has been widely studied. Different authors have provided reviews on the various
aspects of tamarind, with a focus on its traditional uses, ecology, phytochemistry and
pharmacology. Limited studies on the preclinical and clinical aspects of tamarind have
been explored in most reviews. Even less attention has been given to the use of
tamarind as a spice or a culinary herb. This chapter reviews the health benefits of
tamarind as a spice and a culinary herb. It also explores the choice of tamarind use over
other spices and how it is utilized to improve people’s livelihoods. The ethnomedicinal
uses of tamarind are supported with recent scientific evidence from preclinical and
clinical studies. The threats to the sustainable use of tamarind, particularly
environmental degradation, land conversion and climate change are discussed. We
conclude by highlighting the conservation strategies that are currently being
implemented to ensure sustainable utilization of tamarind.
Conservation, Culinary herb, Economic potential, Ethnomedicinal,
Preclinical and clinical, Spice, Tamarindus indica.
Department of Plant Sciences, Microbiology & Biotechnology, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062 Kampala, Uganda.