Tamarinds with leavesThe tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is native to the savannas of tropical Africa, but since it has long been cultivated in India many thought it was from Southeast Asia, especially India.

Its name comes from an Arab traveler returning from India in 1355 who gave it the name of al-Tamar-al-Hindi, the date tree of India, this is where it would become tamarind.

The Arabs then did the Europeans discover. It was the Spanish who introduced it in the Caribbean in the 17th century. So it is about on that date, it would have arrived in Martinique.


Tamarind treeThe number of varieties is unknown. Mature tamarind has a right and arched brown bark. It is solid until you press with your fingers. It contains a sweet sometimes brown pulp but most often acid, even very acid, which is crossed filaments. Brilliant black seeds are inside. It measures 7 to 20 cm.

The tamarind tree deploys its tender green crown, dense and rounded up to 20m high. In the Caribbean, often found on the edge of the volcanic sand beaches. This is why it is often called tamarind from the seaside.

Health benefits

TamarindsTamarind has laxative and astringent virtues, ideal for preventing constipation and treating infections. The fruit is a component of some drugs to facilitate transit during cancer treatments.

It is carminative and anti-infective, it is also involved in intestinal disorders such as bloating, flatulence and diarrhea.

Antiseptic, tamarind soothes urinary disorders (including cystitis).

For respiratory problems, it is used as an expectorant for bronchitis.

With its antioxidants, it is also recommended for the prevention of cell aging.

Bactericidal, healing and anti-fungal, tamarind is recommended to treat various skin problems: wounds, infections and secondarily infected dermatoses.

In dentistry, it relieves people prone to ulcers or gingivitis and is helpful during teething infants.

It can also be used to treat sore throats.


Tamarind juiceTamarind is consumed in its natural state when it is sweet, otherwise, it allows the manufacture of juice (see photo opposite), jam, syrup or punch in Martinique. When it is bitter, it is candied. It can be cooked with meat.

In the rest of the world, tamarind is widely used. Judge rather, in India they make cold infusions, it is used to make several massalas (Massala is a West African syrup in several West African countries (Niger, Burkina-Faso, Mali) and water ice in Madagascar.

The green tamarind acidifies the Colombo (local sauce used in many meals). The tamarinds sold to Chinese merchants in Metropolitan France come from Thailand.