Origins of the Tamarind Tree

Along the banks of the Zambezi River in mid October, there is no finer refuge from the shimmering heat of the day, than the ever green Tamarind Tree. It is used in tea, savory dishes, sauces, sweets and jams all over the world and is also known to be a natural remedy to treat fevers , inflammation and as a laxative in traditional medicine.

While it is thought to be native to Tropical Africa, it was first documented by its Botanical Name “Tarimindus Indica Italicize” in India, transported from East Africa to the Orient by the seafaring Arab traders on the monsoon winds.

Several Regions claim to be the indigenous home to the Tamarind tree, however the greatest genetic diversity can be found in the dry savannas of Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal.

Tamarind Pod

The Tamrind tree is first documented Brahnasamhita Scripture in India ,written around 1200 to 200 BC . Charcoal found in the Ganges River in India was tested and dates back to 1300 BC.

It is known to the Persians and Arabs as “Tamar Hindi”. First documented in an Arabic Medical Encyclopedia written by Ibn Sina, ” The Canon of Medicine’ written around 980 – 1037 AD ( 8th – 13th Century)

In the 16th Century Tamarind was introduced to Mexico and South America by the Portuguese and Mexican Colonists

Tamarind Tree

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Sue Tillotson says:

    Leanne, I’m loving these cross-cultural, cross-oceanic connections you are making with your posts!! Do you also have a favorite recipe using tamarind? Loving your new blog, thank you so much!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue – I do…. from Indonesia last year – which really got me thinking as we saw Tararind trees on Komodo Island which really got me thinking about where they came from, will be sharing a few Indonesian recipes soon.


    2. Hi Sue so glad you enjoy my blogs , I really enjoy researching food history. I recently posted a kebab recipe which uses tamarind if you want to try it. Its not always available here so I just use vinegar in its place?


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