It’s popularly known as ‘awin’ in Yoruba, ‘Icheku’ in Igbo and ‘Tsamiyar kurm’ in Hausa and ‘African velvet tamarind’ in English. Yes, you love the fruit, but probably know nothing about its health benefits.
African velvet tamarind is the fruit of a native West African tree (dialium guineense). Especially loved by Nigerian children, velvet tamarind is cultivated not totally for its fruits but as a source of timber and fuel. It is a seasonal fruit with an orange pulp with the velvet shell which has a sweet and tangy taste. Many of you can’t help but stop by at your local fruit vendor to buy some when it’s the season.
Here are some of them:
Malaria: According to research, the leaf extract inhibits the growth of plasmodium falciparum which causes malaria therefore, taking a decoction can cure malaria.
Treats Ulcer and Prevents Hypertension: The leaf extract of velvet tamarind has the ability to increase gastric mucus secretion. Therefore, a decoction of the leave can be a remedy for gastric ulcer. The leafs are also highly diuretic-promotes the production of urine, making it easier for the heart to pump blood hence, reducing the risk of hypertension.
Anti-inflammatory and Anti-microbial Properties: The fruit pulp contains abundant vitamin C which fights against microbial infections. The stem bark has the ability to reduce inflammation in bronchial tubes that arises due to bronchitis.
Improves Oral hygiene and cures Toothache: The stem used as chewing stick (indigenous tooth brush) contains saponin which adds cleaning effect to the teeth and at the same time removes plaques and caries on the teeth of users. The stem bark decoction is also used to treat.
Reliefs Menstrual Cramp and stops Diarrhoea: The stem bark extract has significant analgesic property hence, can be used to reduce menstrual pain. You can take it along with papaya leaf, salt and water to work effectively. It can also stop diarrhoea.
Jaundice and Diabetes Management: A decoction of velvet tamarind leafs is used in preparing medicinal solution for curing jaundice. It also lowers blood sugar and increases insulin sensitivity hence, can be used to treat diabetes.
Hemorrhoids (pile): Piles are swollen veins in the an*l canal caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas and while not life threatening these veins can be very painful. A study performed on ethanolic leaves extract of velvet tamarind showed it to be beneficial for pile treatment.
Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of the body: Oxidative damage which involves free radicals – highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons, is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind ageing and many diseases. The abundance of antioxidants in the leaves helps protect the human body from damage caused by these free radicals when taken.
Improves lactation and checks private part infections: A review of several studies has concluded that chewing the fruit pulp increase secretion of milk as well as check infections.
Treats Scurvy and Wounds: The fruit pulp has high ascorbic acid content which is an anti-scurvy vitamin hence used as food supplement.
Tender leaves of velvet tamarind, when squeezed and applied on wounds, stimulates the growth of healthy skin and protects the wounds against germs and moisture.
Boosts immune system: Antioxidant added with vitamin C is the good combination to perform the health benefit of black velvet tamarind.
The combination is very useful to boost immune system of our body. Therefore, long term consumption of black velvet tamarind in the recommended intake will ensure the long term health from microbial and fungal infection.
Prevents hypertension: Black velvet tamarind is known to contain potassium. Potassium is able to control the heartbeat, and make heart easier in pumping blood. In the other words, black velvet tamarind is able to reduce the risk of hypertension.
Treats diabetes: As included in the Diabetes Treatments With Natural Sources and Activities, black velvet tamarind is also beneficial to treat generative disease, such as diabetes. It is able to lower blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity.
Nourishes skin: Besides treats wound well, the ascorbic acid of black velvet tamarind is also able to stimulate the growth of healthy skin. It is also able to nourish skin when we consume the black velvet tamarind regularly.
Lowers cholesterol level: The other health benefit you can get from consuming black velvet tamarind is fulfilling your need of dietary fiber.
The dietary fiber from the sticky pulp of Black velvet tamarind is very useful to reduce the bad cholesterol in the blood.
Maintains good digestion: Related to the digestive system, the benefit of black velvet tamarind you can take is the supply of the dietary fiber.
The dietary fiber is able to increase bulk and bowel movement, so that we are able to prevent constipation. It is also able to bind toxin from the digested food and protect the digestive organs.
Prevents anemia: The next health benefit of black velvet tamarind is the iron found in it. Amount of iron in the black velvet tamarind is able to boost red blood production that needed to prevents anemia.
Maintains Healthy Kidney: Black velvet tamarind is also a good diuretic. Black velvet tamarind is able to bind the toxin and optimize the urine excretion in the kidney. It will also prevent the kidney stones disease.
Lowers body temperature: One of the health benefits of black velvet tamarind which has been used for the traditional aid is to lower body temperature. People from long ago soaked black velvet tamarind into water, and drink the water to reduce fever.
Cautions of Black Velvet Tamarind
Black velvet tamarind is known to lower the blood sugar. Therefore, for those with diabetes, it is suggested for you to watch your black velvet tamarind intake since it may interfere your effort to regulate your blood sugar. In addition, for those who plan to have surgery, it is better to stop the black velvet tamarind intake two weeks before the surgery, since it might also interfere with the blood sugar control during and after surgery.
Black velvet tamarind consumption should also be closely watched for those with gastric ulcers. Too much acid will add pain to your ulcer.
Recommended intake of Black Velvet Tamarind
The appropriate intake of black velvet tamarind may differ according to age, health, and the other conditions. The right amount of 1 – 2 tablespoons of the black velvet tamarind pulp for each serving is enough to fulfill the dietary fiber needed. Remember, too much dietary fiber might not be good for your digestion system, since it will create laxative system.