Because most health problems are associated with either acute or chronic pain, people often use painkillers for medications. Unfortunately, studies have found that prolonged use of these drugs can have adverse effects on a person’s health. Due to this, many people opt for a safer choice – medicinal plants.
An Indian study had identified tamarind (Tamarindus indica) as one of the plants with potent analgesic activity.
Conventional analgesic, such as opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are commonly used by patients to relieve pain associated with arthritis, headaches, injury, and many other diseases. Though almost everyone is using these drugs, it doesn’t mean that they are safe. The truth is, these analgesics can cause side effects like drowsiness, heart attack, liver damage, constipation, and stomach bleeding.
Luckily, many medicinal plants can be used as an alternative remedy for pain.
Tamarind is a fruit with a sweet and sour taste. It is commonly used to make candies. The different parts of this plant are actually used in traditional system of medicine of Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani. Practitioners of these medicinal systems use tamarind to treat diseases like wounds, diabetes, sore throat, malaria, fever, stomach ache, ulcers, and jaundice. The leaves of tamarind also have their own set of biological activities. Its bark and roots can eliminate helminths and relieve pain. However, there are limited studies that validate these claims.
The researchers of the study, which was published in the Pharmacognosy Journal, evaluated the analgesic activity of tamarind roots extracts through an in vivo experiment using albino Wistar rats. The animal models were given either the extracts or the conventional painkiller pentazocine. Their analgesic activity was determined using two tests. One is the hot plate method wherein researchers checked the animal’s reaction time when exposed to a hot plate at 55 degrees Celsius. When rats are in pain, they exhibit this either by jumping or hind paw licking. Another test used was the acetic acid-induced writhing test. Rats, for both tests, exhibited significant improvements in pain response, which indicates that they were protected from pain.
Results of the study found that the tamarind root extract has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities.
For the fruit’s antibacterial activity, they tested the extracts against four pathogenic bacteria, namely Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. When these species were given treatment, their growth was effectively inhibited. The anti-inflammatory activities, on the other hand, was based on the effects on carrageenan-induced paw edema in male albino Wistar rats. The rats who received the treatment experienced significant reductions in paw inflammation.
The overall results of this study revealed that tamarind root extracts have potent analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. With further studies, there is a great possibility that tamarind can be developed into an alternative remedy for pain and inflammatory disorders like arthritis.
Benefits Of Eating Tamarinds
Tamarind fruits are more widely available, which is good since it has its fair share of health benefits. Some of its health benefits include:
- Preventing heat strokes
- Promoting weight loss
- Improving heart health
- Regulating blood sugar
- Delaying aging
- Alleviating allergies
- Enhancing muscle and nerve development
- Boosting the immune system
- Reducing cancer risk