About Tamarind and Its Health Benefits

Black velvet tamarind is an indigenous fruit also known as African velvet tamarind. It is without any adverse reaction and has been eaten by all ages because it is a vitamin C supplement.

The fruit inside the shell is either dried or pulpy with taste sweet-sour; it is packed with lots of nutrition that helps promote health and manage some health conditions.

 

1. Improve Water & Acid Balance

Black Velvet Tamarind has potassium content which helps to regulate water balance and acid-base balance in the blood and tissues.

Potassium plays an important role in the human body. It functions both as a mineral and an electrolyte in the body and, in bits of help in balancing the body pH level, controls the rate at which the heart beats nerve impulses and more.

Bodies can only ingest potassium through potassium-rich foods or fruits as the body does not naturally produce it. Therefore, the intake of black velvet tamarind will provide the body with enough potassium it needs to conduct the body’s electrical impulses.

 

2. Reduces Inflammation

The vitamin C content in black velvet tamarinds helps fight against microbial infection and reduces inflammation in the bronchial tube, which prevents cancer, which is one of its underlying causes.

Research has shown that patients with bronchitis can be treated with black velvet tamarinds. It will supply them with enough vitamin C to reduce the inflammation of bronchial tube linings.

 

3. Improves Lactation

The pulp of the black velvet tamarinds contains nutrients necessary for milk secretion, which implies that it improves lactation.

This makes it good for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, as it will help increase breast milk secretion. It is widely believed it does so, though there has not been any medical prove about it.

Locally, in some parts of Nigeria and other African countries where it is common, it is also used to treat infections, especially the ones that affect the genitals.

 

4. Improves Red Blood Cell Production

It contains a good number of minerals such as iron which is necessary for the production of red blood cells with some other minerals such as;

Copper helps strengthen the blood vessels, and in most cases, it works together with iron to help in the formation of the red blood cells and works to make sure that iron is absorbed as needed by the blood. The deficiency of copper in the blood is called hypocupremia.

Calcium is mostly known to help in blood and teeth formation, but it is more than that. Calcium such as the one present in black velvet tamarinds helps in blood clotting and other necessary functions in the body.

Zinc is commonly found throughout the cells in the body, specifically the platelets, and has many functions. As regards blood cells, zinc mineral helps in the clotting of blood. Therefore, if this mineral is deficient in the body, it can cause unexpected blood clotting.

The amount of iron present in the fruit is good enough for blood production and anemia prevention.

 

5. Reduces Body Pains

The presence of some volatile phytochemical compounds with different medicinal values in black velvet tamarinds such as methyl salicylate, pyrazine, alkyl triazole limonene, geraniol, safrole cinnamic acid made it a solution for body pains and certain illnesses.

Most of the above-mentioned compounds are used in cosmetics and other products used as sport massage creams. They are suitable for bruises, sprains, back and body pain, arthritis, and much more.

Therefore, the intake of these fruits will help supply the body with natural pain relievers and help alleviate some health conditions that induce pain.

 

6. Prevents Micronutrient Deficiency

Some nutritious elements, such as the vitamins and minerals contained in the fruit, act as a micronutrient that helps to protect the body from micronutrient deficiency.

The body needs micronutrients in a small proportion, and they are vital for the function of the cells and organs in the body. Therefore black velvet tamarinds contain lots of micronutrients like iron, vitamin A, etc.

Supplying the body with these nutrients helps prevent its deficiency which leads to severe adverse reactions.

 

7. Acts as an Antioxidant

It contains tartaric acid, a strong antioxidant that protects that body from free radicals, which cause damage to the body’s vital organs and cells.

It is also regarded as an Alpha Hydroxy Acid, which can help exfoliate the skin and remove dead cells from the skin pore.

Tartaric acid can be added to food and even used in bakeries and as a leavening agent. Still, black velvet tamarind comes with it naturally, so instead of using it as an additive in your food or bakery, you can get it naturally from these fruits.

 

8. Promotes Digestive Health

The pulp of black velvet tamarind also contains non-starch polysaccharides, which help maintain a healthy digestive system and reduce blood cholesterol.

It is not digested in the body (small intestine) and therefore provides the body with no calories, which are also good for weight loss but help ensure that the digestive system is functioning well.

 

9. Treat Dry Eye

Potassium contained in black velvet tamarind is one of the reasons it is suitable for curing dry eyes. Potassium helps make the eye moist at all times, and its deficiency leads to dry eyes, which comes with itching, twitching, and other symptoms.

There are also many compounds found in these fruits and have proven to help provide the eye with enough moisture, thereby preventing dry eye.

 

Nutritional Values of Black Velvet Tamarinds (pulp)

 

Component

Values

Total carbohydrate

86.6

Moisture

4.9

Organic matter

98.2

Dry matter

95.1

Crude protein

4.2

Crude fat

2.6

Crude fiber

2.2

Ascorbic acid

35.7

Ash

1.8

 

Nutritional Values of Black Velvet Tamarinds (seed)

Component

Values

Total carbohydrate

70.6

Moisture

5.9

Organic matter

97.5

Dry matter

94.1

Crude protein

15.7

Crude fat

5.4

Crude fiber

6.6

Ascorbic acid

6.4

Ash

2.5

 

What is Black Velvet Tamarind? (Origin)

Black velvet tamarind is a seasonal fruit and is native to Africa, especially those in tropical areas like West African countries, and has the scientific name of Dialium indium or Wild Dialium Guineense.

It is often regarded as Nigerian velvet tamarind or African velvet tamarind and is known locally in Igbo as Icheku, In Yoruba as Awin, and in Hausa as tsamiya-kurm. It is also called licki-licki by some people.

It is also grown in other African countries such as Senegal, and Ghana, known as Yoyi, and its cultivation, has extended to other tropical Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Its physical characteristics include a black velvet shell that is hard and brittle, the orange pulp that is sticky when moist, and a circular flat seed that is brown in color.

 

Medicinal Uses of Black Velvet Tamarind

Though it is not scientifically proven, locally, black velvet tamarind has been used to treat many ill-health conditions, which is said to have proven effective, including the root, leaves, and bark of the black velvet tamarind tree.   

 

It is used in the treatment of malaria and diabetics as it reduces blood sugar, is used as a pain reliever, treats bronchitis, and much more.                                                                                                                                                  

Downsides of Black Velvet Tamarind

Since black velvet tamarind is good for the body, those with a history of gastric ulcers should take it moderately not to aggravate the condition.

For diabetic patients, the intake of this fruit should be in moderation. Though it is good in reducing the sugar level in the blood, it might make it lower than the normal level rather than regulating it.

 

Conclusion

Black Velvet Tamarind is not as common as other fruits like oranges, bananas, apples, etc., because it is a seasonal fruit, and even most times, it is neglected by many people. Still, it contains many vitamins that many of the popular fruits and come with other health benefits.



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