Learning about Spices
What is a spice?
Why were spices important?
Sources of spices
Perfumes and Incenses 
Use of spices as aphrodisiacs
Use of spices as medicines
Culinary herbs
A spice timeline

Table of Spices
Allspice (Pimento)
Anise
Black Pepper
Cardamom
Cassia
Chile Pepper
Chocolate
Cinnamon
Clove
Coriander (Cilantro)
Cumin
Dill
Fennel
Fenugreek
Frankincense and Myrrh
Galangal
Garlic
Ginger
Horseradish
Licorice
Mustard
Nutmeg and Mace
Onion
Saffron
Sugar
Sumac
Tamarind
Turmeric
Vanilla

Contacts and Acknowledgments
Common Name TAMARIND TAMARIND
Click image to enlarge
Genus SpeciesTamarindus indica
FamilyFabaceae
Origin East Africa
Cultivated India, Southeast Asian, West Indies
  
  
  
  
  
Description In India, Thailand, Southern Europe and Latin America, tamarind is a popular cooking and condiment flavor. The tree originated in Africa, but now it is cultivated mainly in South India and in the Caribbean. Arabs are believed to have called it “date of India”; the English word date is related to “dactyl”, the Latin word for finger, which applies to the pod of the tamarind tree more than to the fruit of the date palm.

Various preparations are exported, including juices, jams and pastes. The sour fruit pulp contains tartaric acid; its taste goes well with meat and vegetable dishes, and it is used in marinades, vindaloos, curries, chutneys and Worcestershire sauce. It is also used in drinks and in refreshing confectionary preparations. Increasingly, it is used in such Mexican drinks as aguas, dulces de tamarindo and colas. Some products, such as tamarind lollipops, have been the subject of FDA alerts because of their containing lead or insect contaminants. In Indian traditional medicine, tamarind had many indications, including its use as a digestive, laxative, tonic, antihelminthic, antipyretic, and astringent. It is favored for wound treatment, sore throat, urinary problems, gonorrhea, ulcers, liver disease and so on. Interestingly, it is recommended as a polish for brass and copper. See a list of spices by Taste and Hotness.
Useful Parts The spice is the ripe fruit or pulp of the pods of Tamarindus indica.
Medicinal Properties In practice, no true therapeutic value has been demonstrated.
See chemicals in spices.
Historical View “Tamarinds have slightly laxative properties, and are also refrigerant from the acids they contain. An infusion of tamarind pulp forms a very grateful and useful drink in febrile affections.”

Bentley, Robert and Henry Trimen. Medicinal Plants; being descriptions with original figures of the principal plants employed in medicine and an account of the characters, properties, and uses of their parts and products of medicinal value. London, Churchill, 1880. (WZ 295 B556m 1880)
TAMARIND
Click image to enlarge

Spice Exhibit URL: http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/biomed/spice/index.cfm

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