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Tamarindus Indica

The pulp of the fruit is used to make a sort of sweet preserve and is very popular among the Filipinos

NOM. VULG.—Tamarindo, Sp.; Sampalok, Tag., Pam., Bik.; Sambak, Sumalagi, Kamalagi, Vis.; Tamarind, Eng.

USES.—The pulp of the fruit is used to make a sort of sweet preserve and is very popular among the Filipinos. They prepare a refreshing drink from the pulp mixed with sweetened water and believing it to be beneficial to the liver, stomach and blood, they use too much of it. Its excessive use is rather prejudicial to the health, but given in moderation it is very efficient in allaying the thirst of fever patients. The pulp contains weak laxative properties and it is customary to administer it in solution with cream of tartar. Its chemical composition is as follows: Citric acid 9.40 Tartaric acid 1.55 Malic acid 0.45 Potassium bitartrate 3.25 Sugar 12.50 Gum 4.70 Vegetable gelatin 6.25 Parenchyma 34.35 Water 27.55 (Vauquelin.) At the end of any sickness, especially after labor, the first bath given to the convalescent is with a decoction of the leaves of the “sampaloc,” to prevent convulsions, the native herb-doctors say.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A large tree, somewhat resembling the elm in contour, with leaves opposite, abruptly pinnate. Leaflets 12 or more pairs, linear, with a notch at the apex, entire, glabrous. Flowers yellow-white, spattered dark red, racemose. Calyx, 4 sepals. Corolla, 5 lanceolate petals with crispate borders.

Stamens monadelphous, dividing into 7 filaments above. The ripe pod is chocolate color, oblong, slightly compressed, straight or curved, 6–15 centimeters long, full of a light-brown pulp in which rest the seeds enveloped in a cellular membrane. These seeds are flattened, almost quadrangular; testa hard, of a chestnut color, shiny and without albumen.

HABITAT.—Very common everywhere in the islands. Blooms in May.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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