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Tamarind

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Tamarind is botanically named as Tamarindus indica is a tree in the family Fabaceae. The genus Tamarindus is monotypic i.e. having only a single species. Tamarindus indica is indigenous to tropical Africa, particularly in Sudan, where it continues to grow wild. The tamarind is a long-lived, medium-growth, bushy tree which attains a maximum crown height of 12.1 to 18.3 meters. Leaves are evergreen, bright green in color; arrangement is alternate, of the pinnately compound type. The tamarind does flower, though inconspicuously, with red and yellow elongated flowers. The fruit is an indehiscent legume, sometimes called a pod, 12 to 15 cm in length, with a hard, brown shell. The fruit has a fleshy, juicy, acidulous pulp.
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Botanical Names
Tamarindus indica
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Tintidi Hindi : Imli Gujarati : Amli Marathi : Chinch Kannada : Hunase Telugu : Chintachettu Malayalam : Vaalanpuli Tamil : Puli Bengali : Tetul
Chemical Constituents
Phyto-chemical constituents found in Tamarindus indica plant extract included tannins, saponins, sesqui-terpenes, alkaloids, and phlobatamins. The profile of polyphenolics in Tamarind pericarp was dominated by proanthcyanidins in various forms of catechin, procyanidin B2, (−)-epicatechin, procyanidin trimer, procyanidin tetramer, procyanidin pentamer, procyanidin hexamer along with taxifolin, apigenin, eriodictyol, luteolin and naringenin of total phenols, respectively. The content of Tamarind seeds comprised only procyanidins, represented mainly by oligomeric procyanidin tetramer, procyanidin hexamer, procyanidin trimer, procyanidin pentamer with lower amounts of procyanidin B2 and (−)-epicatechin (1, 2). The Gas Chromatography-Mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of the Tamarind extract reveals the yield of great varieties of chemical compounds as essential oils, fatty acids, polyphenols and others. Essential oils production from tamarind leaves contains Limonene, linalool anthranilate, and p-cymene. However, the compounds, diphenyl-ether, longifolene, caryophyllene and 6,10,14-trimethylpentadeca- 5,9,13-trien-2-one are also essential oils but no previous reports appear in literature.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
Medicinal properties of Tamarindus indica include antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, anti cholesterol and anti diabetic. Tamarindus indica leaves and bark extract possesses antibacterial activity against both gram positive and gram negative pathogenic microorganisms (4). The antidiabetic effect of tamarind seed extract in type-I diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus has been investigated. There was significant elevation in fasting blood glucose after 24 h of streptozotocin injection in respect to control group. Supplementation of aqueous extract of seed of T. indica to mild diabetic and severe diabetic rats for 14 days resulted in a significant recovery of fasting blood glucose level and resettled to the control level (5). The antioxidant capacities of the methanolic extracts of tamarind seeds were determined, and it indicates that Tamarind may be an important source of cancer chemo preventive natural products in tropical regions. Treatment of hyper cholesterolemic hamsters with the T. indica pulp fruit extract (5%) led to a decrease in the levels of serum total cholesterol (50%), non-HDL cholesterol (73%) and triglyceride (60%), and to an increase of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels (61%) (6). Tamarindus indica seed extract also possess anti-venom properties. In Indian traditional medicine, various plants have been used widely as a remedy for treating snakebites. Tamarindus indica seed extract affects the pharmacological as well as the enzymatic effects induced by V. russelli venom. Tamarind seed extract inhibited the PLA2, protease, hyaluronidase, L-amino acid oxidase and 5′-nucleotidase enzyme activities of venom in a dose-dependent manner .
Health Benefits
Throughout Asia and Africa, Tamarindus indica is commonly used to treat health problems. In many countries, leaves of Tamarindus indica are used as herbal infusion in the treatment of malarial fever; the fruit juice is used as an antiseptic, and for scurvy and even cough cure. Fruit of the tamarind is also commonly used throughout Southeast Asia as a poultice applied to foreheads of fever sufferers. Tamarind is used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for gastric and digestion problems, and in cardio protective activity. Leaves and bark extract of Tamarindus indica possesses antibacterial activity against pathogenic microorganisms such as Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella sp., Pseudomonas aerugenosa, and fungus such as Aspergillus niger, Candida albicans (8). Tamarind has also been reported to act as an antiviral agent in the early stages of rubella virus infection. In animal studies, tamarind has been also found to lower serum cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Research References
1. T.G. KAZI, K. USMANGHANI, AMINA KABIR AND T.H. SHEERAZI CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS OF TAMARINDUS INDICA L. MEDICINAL PLANT IN SINDH SAMINA KABIR KHANZADA, W. SHAIKH, SHAHZADI SOFIA, Pak. J. Bot., 40(6): 2553-2559, 2008. 2. Julio C., Renato P., Irina L., Jesús R., Humberto A., Javier C., Humberto J. Morris-Q., and Gustavo S.,CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS OF Tamarindus indica L. LEAVES 2010 XXII, 3 3. Y. Sudjaroen, R. Haubner, G. Würtele, W.E. Hull, G. Erben, B. Spiegelhalder, S. Changbumrung, H. Bartsch and R.W. Owen Isolation and structure elucidation of phenolic antioxidants from Tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.) seeds and pericarp Food and Chemical Toxicology 2005 43(11):1673-1682 4. J. H. Doughari Antimicrobial Activity of Tamarindus indica Linn Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, December 2006; 5 (2): 597-603 5. R Maiti, D Jana, U.K Das and D Ghosh Antidiabetic effect of aqueous extract of seed of Tamarindus indica in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2004 92(1):85-91 6. Takanori T., Mie W., Katsumi O., Akira Y., Shunro K., Toshihiko O. Antioxidative Components Isolated from the Seed of Tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.) J. Agric. Food Chem., 1994, 42(12):2671–2674 7. S. Ushanandin, S. Nagaraju, K. Harish Kumar, M. Vedavathi, D. K. Machiah, K. Kemparaju, B. S. Vishwanath, T. V. Gowda, K. S. Girish The anti-snake venom properties of Tamarindus indica (leguminosae) seed extract Phytotherapy Research 2006 20(10):851–858 8. F. Martinello, S.M. Soares, J.J. Franco, A.C. Santos, A. Sugohara, S.B. Garcia, C. Curti and S.A. Uyemura Hypolipemic and antioxidant activities from Tamarindus indica L. pulp fruit extract in hypercholesterolemic hamsters Food and Chemical Toxicology 2006 44(6):810-818 9. P. Siddhuraju, Antioxidant activity of polyphenolic compounds extracted from defatted raw and dry heated Tamarindus indica seed coat LWT - Food Science and Technology 2007 40(6):982-990 10. T. Komutarin, S. Azadi, L. Butterworth, D. Keil, B. Chitsomboon, M. Suttajit and B. J. Meade Extract of the seed coat of Tamarindus indica inhibits nitric oxide production by murine macrophages in vitro and in vivo Food and Chemical Toxicology 2004 42(4):649-658 11. S. R. Chowdhury, D. K. Sarker, S. D. Chowdhury, T. K. Smith,1 P. K. Roy, and M. A. Wahid Effects of Dietary Tamarind on Cholesterol Metabolism in Laying Hens 2005 Poultry Science 84:56–60 12. Rajkumar M., Uttam Kumar D., and Debidas G. Attenuation of Hyperglycemia and Hyperlipidemia in Streptozotocin- Induced Diabetic Rats by Aqueous Extract of Seed of Tamarindus indica Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2005 28(7) 1172—1176