Tamarind, is a tropical tree with lots of health benefits, and other uses as well. Definitely it is one of the most useful trees, that we can grow easily. Especially in Kerala and other South Indian states, there are many factors that make the plant to thrive.
Tamarind tree bonsai
Loamy or Sandy soil, bright sunlight, humid climate etc. are the conditions that favour the plant in the tropics. Generally, the drought resistant plant cannot survive in frosty climates.
Originally from the South African tropical forests, tamarind is now popular in many parts of the world. In addition to its culinary uses, different parts of the plant are beneficial to us in many ways.
Tamarind tree health benefits – a short description
The botanical name of the plant is Tamarindus indica. Usually, this perennial grows up to a height of about sixty to eighty feet. This evergreen tree looks really attractive with a stout trunk and crown of drooping branches.
The thickly packed small leaflets fold during the night time. Preferably such as the mimosa, acacia, gulmohar etc.
Owing to its beautiful appearance, the tamarind trees are widely used in parks and public gardens. Moreover, it is one of the best examples of shade trees. We can find lots of tamarind trees on both sides of the highways in south India.
Mainly there are two varieties of tamarind. The one with fruits having a sweet taste, and that of the other is sour.
Tamarind tree health benefits
Almost all parts of the tamarind tree, are useful to us in one way or the other.
People cultivate the tamarind trees mainly for the fruits. It is one of the richest sources of a lot of vitamins and minerals.
Tamarind tree health benefits and for flavouring dishes
We can use the pulp extracted from the pod like fruits for flavoring dishes. It is very common in Kerala and other South Indian states to add tamarind for making dishes. For example the delicious as well as nutritious South Indian sambar, rasam etc. are very popular.
In a like manner, the coconut-tamarind chutney is one of the main sides dishes for packing food. The taste of boiled rice along with this chutney, wrapped in a cut banana leaf, is really tempting.
Imli candy, the simple sweet made with tamarind pulp and sugar, is a nostalgia for many of us. Because it was the only thing we could afford during our school days.
Also we can use the tender leaves of the plant for cooking. Sardine cooked with tamarind leaves makes a fine combination with tapioca. It is really one of the important delicacies in Kerala.
For the preparation of medicines
The anti inflammatory as well as anti oxidant properties make it useful for the preparation of medicines. Mostly for the treatment of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, stomach disorders etc.
Moreover, it is one of the main ingredients for making ayurvedic medicines.
Tamarind as home remedy
Tamarind pulp dried and deseeded
In Kerala, we use different parts of the plant as home remedies. For example, applying a paste of tamarind pulp on minor burns can reduce its severity. Besides, a paste made with the leaves can give relief for swelling and joint pain due to arthritis.
You can also try a mixture of tamarind pulp and turmeric powder for fairness and removal of skin tanning.
In addition to the above, the wood, powdered seeds etc. are used for many other purposes.
However, we can grow the tamarind trees very easily in tropical places.
We can use either seeds or grafted stem cuttings for the propagation of the tamarind trees. The most common method is through the germination of seeds.
You can read here the simple tips for growing tamarind trees from seeds.
Generally the tamarind trees have a very slow growth rate.
People who require a faster result always opt the vegetative method. For this we can use grafted cuttings, as well as saplings produced through budding.
You can also buy different hybrid varieties of the plant from nurseries.
In addition to its height as stated above, the branches spread around, covering wide areas. Hence you always need larger space for growing your tamarind tree.
However you can maintain the required height and shape, through proper pruning.
Usually, the tamarind trees grown from seeds start blooming within a period of five or six years.
Beautiful flowers of Tamarind
Likewise it takes about nine months for the fruits to mature.
Though it is a tropical tree, tamarind is the favourite of bonsai lovers all over the world.
Conspicuous trunk, small leaves, branches in plenty, beautiful flowers and fruits make the plant ideal for the purpose.
Surely we can train the tamarind tree to any of the required bonsai styles. Especially like the formal upright, informal upright, cascade, semi cascade forest etc. that are basic styles.
If there is no sufficient space in your garden, you can definitely keep a bonsai in your balcony. Especially along with other bonsai plants such as Ficus benjamina, Ficus microcarpa, the Fukien tea tree etc. The only requirement is a location where the plant gets sunlight for at least five to six hours a day.
Keeping the above points in mind, try to grow tamarind trees. Either as an ornamental tree or as a bonsai.