Tamarind Tamarindus indica Linn.
Tamarind is semi-evergreen, tropical tree that grows to about 24 m (80 feet) tall and has long drooping branches with alternate, pinnately compound (feather-formed) leaves; the leaflets are about 2 cm (0.75 inch) long. The yellow flowers, about 2.5 cm across, with a red stripe are borne in small clusters. The dark brown fruit is a plump pod 7.5-24 cm long that does not split open. It contains 1 to 12 large, flat seeds embedded in a soft, brownish pulp. This pulp has a high tartaric acid content, that imparts for its sourness.
This portion of the fruit is widely used in the Orient in foods, beverages, and medicines. It is a standard ingredient in curries, chutneys, soups and several other dishes of India and South East Asia. The juice is made into a refreshing drink in both the Middle East and the West Indies.
Medicinal and other use
Tamarind is a good laxative and an antiseptic. It is used for tummy upsets and for the treatment of ulcers. Over-ripe fruits can be used to clean copper and brass.