African Velvet tamarind, scientifically known as Dialium Guineense is an indigenous fruit popularly consumed in West African countries, including Nigeria. This seasonal fruit is often called different name by each tribe; the Yorubas call it “Awin,” Igbos call African velvet tamarind, Icheku, while the Hausas call it “Tsamiyar kurm.”
Nigerian velvet tamarind is one of the most versatile fruits in Nigeria and beyond as its stem, bark, and seed are used for culinary, medicinal and traditional purposes. Also, this fruit is an excellent source of essential minerals like sodium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. You will also learn about the nutritional facts of African velvet tamarind as you read the article.
6 Awesome Health Benefits of African Velvet Tamarind
Here are the health benefits of African velvet tamarind:
1. Treats gastric ulcer
Stomach or gastric ulcers refer to the open sores that develop on the inside lining of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine. Its common symptoms include – stomach pain, belching, heartburn, feeling sick [nausea], burning pain along the tummy, indigestion, appetite changes, etc. In addition to that, gastric ulcer is often caused by the incessant use of pain relievers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, infection with Helicobacter pylori [H. Pylori] bacteria, excessive alcohol intake, to mention but a few.
On the plus side, the leaf extract of velvet tamarind contains potent anti-ulcer properties and Phytonutrients, which are proven to be very effective in treating stomach ulcer. Fortunately, multiple studies back this claim, including the one conducted by Balogun et al. at the Department Of Physiology, College of Health Sciences Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria. It was revealed that aqueous leave extract contains anti-ulcerogenic effects and phytochemicals like flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, and saponins, all of which are capable of improving mucus secretion and thus reducing ulcer index by a significant margin while also protecting the colon from the cancer cell.
2. Cures Malaria
Beyond reasonable doubts, Malaria is one of the most common diseases in Nigeria, and research also shows that there are over 1 million cases of the disease annually.
Malaria is often caused by a Plasmodium parasite, and you can easily contract it when infected mosquitoes bite you. Some of the symptoms you will notice may include nausea, vomiting, sweating, fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue, among others.
However, one of the amazing benefits of velvet tamarind is that it can help treat or prevent the occurrence of malaria. The leave extract of this fruit exhibit antiplasmodial effects, which helps in delaying the growth of Plasmodium falciparum, the major causal of malaria.
Furthermore, there are certain countries [including Nigeria] where these leave extracts are also combined with several other leaves to prepare local herbs for malaria and other related diseases, and the result is usually satisfactory.
3. Prevents Hypertension
High Blood Pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is one of the slow-killing diseases in the world and research shows that over 1.5 million people are diagnosed with it annually in Nigeria. Some of the things that could trigger this critical health condition include chronic kidney disease, potassium deficiency, excessive alcohol or tobacco intake, high cholesterol levels, stress, sleep apnea, among others.
The unfortunate thing is that this health condition in most cases doesn’t come with any symptoms, and that’s why it is often regarded as “the silent killer.” If left untreated for a while, hypertension may result in heart disease, stroke, and even death.
That said, it will interest you to know that velvet tamarind is capable of lowering the Blood Pressure significantly, yes!
Velvet tamarind is an excellent source of essential minerals like potassium, copper, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, and magnesium, all of which provides great benefits to the human health, including hypertension prevention.
To be specific, the Potassium in Velvet tamarind is a key component of cell and body fluids that keeps your heart rate and blood pressure in check. It also helps in lessening the negative effect of sodium [salt] in the body while easing tension to reduce blood pressure further.
In addition to the above, Velvet tamarind also contain Iron, which plays a major role in red blood cell and energy production. When there is Iron deficiency, it may result in high blood pressure of the lungs. Therefore, if you are looking for the perfect way to reduce the risk of hypertension, it is recommended you start eating foods that are rich in potassium and other essential minerals, in which Velvet tamarind is a great option.
4. Improves Oral hygiene
Velvet tamarind contains saponin and other chemical compounds which are very effective in boosting oral health simply by cleaning the teeth, removing dirt and plaques, soothing irritated gums, and fighting microbes. It was also discovered that the stem of Velvet tamarind is used in treating various mouth problems, including toothache.
Therefore, if you desire clean and healthy teeth, you can achieve that by chewing the stem regularly, and you will be amazed with the results you’ll get thereafter.
Aside from the above, Velvet tamarind is also used in numerous health and skincare products like shampoos, soaps, make ups, household cleaners – all because of its antibacterial properties.
5. Relieves menstrual cramps
The vast majority of women usually experience cramps during their period, and this can be very painful at times. Now, the good news is that these cramps can be reduced to a significant level using Velvet tamarind.
Multiple studies, such as the one conducted at the Department of Biochemistry, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia state Nigeria in 2014 opined that the stem bark extract of Velvet tamarind provides significant analgesic effects, which makes it a perfect, natural remedy for menstrual cramps and other related pains. Additionally, the bark of Velvet tamarind is also chewed as a remedy for dental and stomach ache.
However, one of the best ways to relieve pain with Velvet tamarind is by combining it with papaya leaf, salt as well as water; the effect is often quick and very noticeable.
6. Other notable health benefits of African velvet tamarind
Aside from the benefits as mentioned above, Velvet tamarind is also beneficial to human health as it helps in:
- Treating cancer
- Relieving headache and pains
- Treating diarrhea and severe cough
- Improving lactation in women
- Treating generative diseases [e.g., diabetes]
- Promoting Digestive Health
- Treating Scurvy and Wounds
- Cures hemorrhoid. (1)
Velvet tamarind is indeed a healthy and nutritious Nigerian fruit. Although it is also very high in sugar.
The healthiest way to enjoy velvet tamarind is either raw or as an ingredient in a meal.