Tamarind - western medicine

The use of tamarind in western medicine isn't widespread but it is sometimes used to treat fevers and constipation. Laboratory studies have revealed compounds which may have beneficial effects on the health, particularly in strengthening the immune system.

Active compounds

In Britain, tamarind has been used to treat fevers and as a mild laxative. These conditions are also treated by tamarind in traditional South Asian medicine.
Photo of several tamarind pods.
Tamarind seed pods.

Tamarind contains a group of compounds called polysaccharides. Recent research suggests that these compounds might stimulate the immune system helping to increase people's resistance to infections.

They may also help to defend against diseases such as cancer. Investigations are at an early stage but the findings could explain why extracts of the plant have traditionally been used to treat many different conditions.


Tamarind is not known to be toxic. It has been shown to increase the body's ability to absorb certain drugs like aspirin and Ibuprofen. Because of this ability to influence the activity of medicines, it should not be taken as an additional medicine without the advice of a doctor or professional herbalist.

This information is provided for general interest only. It is not intended as guidance for medicinal use. Further information on using herbal medicines is available.