How Healthy is the African Black Velvet Tamarind?
Ever heard of the African black velvet tamarind? It is a fruit of the native West African tree that is found growing in humid or dry forests, savannah forests, or coastal scrub. It belongs to the Fabaceae family; having small, typically grape-sized edible fruit that is orange-colored with brown hard inedible shells. It is scientifically called the Dialium guineense. Black velvet tamarind has a sweet and sour taste with a powdery texture and an astringent flavor which is like the baobab fruit but a bit sweeter.
This fruit is found in many countries like Nigeria, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Thailand, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia. Some of these countries have different names that are given to the fruit. For example in Nigeria, it is known as awin by the Yorubas, icheku by the Igbos, and tsamiyar kurm by the Hausas. In Ghana, it is called yoyi. It comes out in season from October to January where people get to enjoy its rich nutritional value and health benefits.
Nutritional Value of the African Black Velvet Tamarind
- Moisture (5.9 and 4.9)
- Organic matter (97.5 and 98.2)
- Dry matter (94.1 and 95.1)
- Crude fiber (6.6 and 2.2)
- Total carbohydrate (70.6 and 86.6)
- Ascorbic acid (6.4 and 35.7)
- Crude protein (15.7 and 4.2)
- Crude fat (5.4 and 2.6)
- Ash (2.5 and 1.8)
18 Health Benefits of the African Black Velvet Tamarind
It has been proven scientifically that the black velvet tamarind can proffer a large range of health benefits to the human body as it is rich in sodium, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Let`s discuss some of its numerous health benefits.
Treats Gastric Ulcer
One of the benefits of velvet tamarind is that it treats gastric ulcers. It stimulates gastric mucus discharge to cure gastric ulcers, as well as protects the colon from the cancer cell.
The fruit is also popular for its potassium content. Potassium can control the heartbeat and make it easier for the heart to pump blood. It also reduces the risk of hypertension.
Another known health benefit of black velvet tamarind is that it helps in treating malaria. This is because it can prevent the growth of plasmodium falciparum which is the main cause of malaria.
Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Microbial Properties
The fruit pulp contains a lot of vitamin C which fights against microbial infections. The stem bark is also effective at reducing the inflammation in bronchial tubes that arises due to bronchitis.
Cures Dry Eyes
Black velvet tamarind decoction contains a compound that is similar to the mucin in the eye which helps to protect and moisturize the cornea. The compound found in the velvet tamarind can be used as one of the ingredients for an eye drop to help treat dry eyes.
Some nursing mothers have difficulty in increasing the amount of breast milk they have. Several types of research concluded show that chewing the fruit pulp increases the secretion of milk.
Black velvet tamarind also helps to cure toothache. The composites in black velvet tamarind can clean bacteria, plaque, and caries, which are the main factors of toothache.
Treats Hemorrhoids (Piles)
Piles, also known as hemorrhoids are the swelling and inflammation of veins in the rectum and anus that cause discomfort and bleeding. Research has proven that ethanolic leaves extract of velvet tamarind is beneficial in the treatment of piles.
The sweet-sour taste of velvet tamarind comes from its tartaric acid content which acts as an antioxidant. This antioxidant helps fight free radicals and also prevents aging and protects one from many diseases.
Lowers Body Temperature
Traditionally, the intake of this fruit has helped lower body temperature. Soaking the fruit in water before consuming it makes it effective at treating fever.
Another health benefit of velvet tamarind is that its iron content boosts the production of red blood cells in the body, which is required to prevent anemia.
Black velvet contains one of the most beneficial acids for the human body, which is ascorbic acid. This acid helps in treating wounds and protects the wound from any form of bacteria, in order to prevent infections.
Relieves Menstrual Cramps
Most women are faced with menstrual cramps during their period. The velvet tamarind tends to provide the natural analgesic medicine that most women take to relieve them of this pain. This fruit helps to relieve the pain during menstruation when taken.
Boosts Immune Health
Black velvet tamarind contains antioxidants added with vitamin C that boost immune health. Long-term consumption of this fruit will ensure that the body is healthy and safe from microbial and fungal infection.
Useful for Pregnant Women
Velvet tamarind contains an anti-abortifacient component that prevents abortion. Women who are new to pregnancy are encouraged to take it as it is sure to keep their pregnancy safe. The fruit is also a great source of vitamin C which is good for the mother and her unborn baby.
Nourishes the Skin
The ascorbic acid in the fruit also helps in stimulating the growth of healthy skin. People who consume the black velvet tamarind regularly enjoy amazing skin.
The fruit helps prevent constipation because it is packed with dietary fiber, which is one of the remedies to constipation. The dietary fiber in black velvet tamarind increases its bulk and augments bowel movements, therefore, aiding digestion and by default, prevents constipation.
Culinary Uses of Black Velvet Tamarind
The black velvet tamarind with its nutritious and good health benefits also has some culinary functions it performs. Here are some of them
- In Thailand, the fruit is used as a candy-like snack food which is often dried, coated with sugar, and spiced with chili.
- The fruit pulp can also be soaked in water and served as a beverage.
- In the eastern part of Nigeria, children eat tender leaves as wild vegetable snacks.
- Velvet tamarind is also added to make tea cakes.
- It is also be used to make a spicy sauce which is eaten with fried fish, chicken, and other meals.
Side Effects of the African Black Velvet Tamarind
Unsafe for Diabetics
Because the black velvet tamarind is known to lower blood sugar, it is therefore advised that diabetics watch their intake of the fruit since it will interfere with the regulation of blood sugar. Diabetics usually take drugs for blood sugar regulation. Consuming a fruit that does the same regulation may not be healthy.
Not Safe Before Surgery
Anyone who is scheduled to undergo a surgical process is advised to stop the intake of the velvet tamarind two weeks before the surgery, because it may interfere with the control of one’s blood sugar during surgery and post-surgery.
Now that you Know…
The African black velvet tamarind is a sweet fruit that gives the human body various health benefits, as it is extremely nutritious. It is also particularly great because it prevents bacterial infection. One can enjoy this fruit anyway either by just licking it or using it as spice or side sauce for meals, Have you been having some black velvet tamarind? You should already, so you can enjoy these great benefits.