I just discovered that this fruit locally known as, licky-licky, Awin in Yoruba, Icheku in Igbo and Tsamiyar kurm in Hausa in Nigeria is known as the Black velvet tamarind. The fruits are very small, about a centimetre in diameter, The fruits have a black velvet shell. It is normally eaten by cracking the shell to reveal an orange pulp, that is sucked or chewed. They can be taken as snacks or soaked in water to produce a kind of drink. The fruit is from a West African tree (dialium guineense) and it is cultivated not totally for its sweetness but as a source of timber and fuel. The nutritional contents of black velvet tamarind are beta-carotene (Vitamin A), tartaric acid, sodium, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamin C.
I have done a quick research on the health benefits to share with you all.
According to research, the leaf extract inhibits the growth of plasmodium falciparum which causes malaria therefore, taking a decoction can cure malaria.
Treats Ulcer and Prevents Hypertension
The leaf extract of velvet tamarind has the ability to increase gastric mucus secretion. Therefore, a decoction of 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.
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. The stem bark decoction is also used to treat.
Reliefs Menstrual Cramp and stops Diarrhoea
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 diarrhoea.
Jaundice and Diabetes Management
A decoction of 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.
Treats Hemorrhoids (pile)
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.
Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of the body
Oxidative damage which involves free radicals – highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons, is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind ageing and many diseases. The abundance of antioxidants in the leaves helps protect the human body from damage caused by these free radicals when taken.
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.
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.
Source: Information Nigeria