"Licky Licky" Gets Makeover


Popularly known as Awin in Yoruba, Icheku in Igbo and Tsamiyar kurm in Hausa, black African velvet tamarind is the fruit of a native West African tree (dialium guineense - scientific name); is cultivated not totally for its fruits but as a source of timber and fuel. I personally do not like it, because just the way you have to temporarily chew sugarcane and spit it out I just don't get it. In some parts of Western Ghana, the waala people use its pulp to make a drink called "Puhikuong" meaning tamarind water.



The velvet in its names comes from its skin texture, and it typically contains one orange seed which the black exterior has to be taken out to reveal. It contains Minerals (iron, sodium, carotene), sugars, tartaric acid, niacin and many more. However what many people do not know is that beyond the temporary satisfaction are life long health benefits, stay with us and we would tell you about all of them:


According to research, the leaf extract inhibits the growth of plasmodium falciparum which causes malaria therefore, taking a substance extracted from it can cure malaria.

Treats Ulcer and Prevents Hypertension:

The leaf extract of velvet tamarind has the ability to increase gastric mucus secretion. Therefore, a substance from the leave can be a remedy for gastric ulcer. The leafs are also highly diuretic-promotes the production of urine, making it easier for the heart to pump blood hence, reducing the risk of hypertension.

Reliefs Menstrual Cramp and stops Diarrhea:

The stem bark extract has significant analgesic property hence, can be used to reduce menstrual pain. You can take it along with papaya leaf, salt and water to work effectively. It can also stop diarrhea.

Jaundice and Diabetes Management:

An extraction off velvet tamarind leafs is used in preparing medicinal solution for curing jaundice. It also lowers blood sugar and increases insulin sensitivity hence, can be used to treat diabetes.


Piles are swollen veins in the anal canal caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas and while not life threatening, these veins can be very painful. A study performed on ethanolic leaves extract of velvet tamarind showed it to be beneficial for pile treatment.

Treats Scurvy and Wounds:

The fruit pulp has high ascorbic acid content which is an anti-scurvy vitamin hence used as food supplement. Tender leaves of velvet tamarind, when squeezed and applied on wounds, stimulates the growth of healthy skin and protects the wounds against germs and moisture.

Improves lactation and checks private part infections:

A review of several studies has concluded that chewing the fruit pulp increase secretion of milk as well as check infections.

Anti-inflammatory and Anti-microbial Properties:

The fruit pulp contains abundant vitamin C which fights against microbial infections. The stem bark has the ability to reduce inflammation in bronchial tubes that arises due to bronchitis.

Improves Oral hygiene and cures Tooth ache:

The stem used as chewing stick (indigenous tooth brush) contains saponin which adds cleaning effect to the teeth and at the same time removes plaques and caries on the teeth of users. 

Nutritional Value of Tamarind:

Following are nutritional values present in 100 grams of tamarind.




  • Calories – 239
  • Protein – 2.8 gm
  • Carbohydrates – 62.5 gm
  • Fat – 0.6 gm
  • Phosphorus – 113 mg
  • Iron – 2.8 mg
  • Calcium – 74 mg
  • Vitamin C – 2 mg
  • Niacin – 1.2 mg
  • Riboflavin – 0.14 mg
  • Thiamin (vitamin B) – 0.34 mg
  • Vitamin A – 30 IU
  • Vitamin K – 2.8 mg
  • Vitamin E – 0.1 mg
  • Pyridoxine – 0.066 mg
  • Pantothenic Acid – 0.143 mg
  • Niacin – 1.938 mg
  • Folate – 14 mg
  • Dietary fiber – 5.1 g
  • Fat – 0.6 g
  • Protein – 2.8 g
  • Energy – 239 kcal
  • Potassium – 628 mg
  • Sodium – 28 mg
  • Zinc – 0.1 mg
  • Selenium – 1.3 mg
  • Phosphorus – 113 mg
  • Magnesium – 92 mg
  • Copper – 0.86 mg
  • Calcium – 74 mg
  • Carotene – 18 mg

So there you have it, lick your way to poerfect health!