Imlee, Imli, Tamarin, Tamarindo, Tamarindus indica, Tamarindus occidentalis, Tamarindus officinalis, Tamarinier, Tamarinier d’Inde, Tintiri.


Overview Information

Tamarind is a tree. Its partially dried fruit is used to make medicine.

People use tamarind for dry eye. It is also used for constipation, fever, gallbladder disorders, disorders affecting bile flow in the liver, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.

In foods and beverages, tamarind is used as flavoring. It is also widely used in Asian cooking for chutneys and curries.

How does it work?

Tamarind contains ingredients that might have laxative effects and some activity against certain fungi and bacteria.

Researchers are studying tamarind as a possible treatment for dry eyes because it contains a chemical that is similar to mucin found in the eye. Mucin helps protect and wet the surface of the cornea.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • Dry eye. Most research shows that using eye drops containing tamarind seed extract 4-5 times each day improves symptoms of dry eye. The drops used have contained up to 1% of the extract and sometimes also contain another compound called hyaluronic acid (Visine Intensive 1% EDO and Xiloial monodose).

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Constipation.
  • Colds.
  • Fever.
  • Liver and gallbladder problems.
  • Stomach disorders.
  • Pregnancy-related nausea.
  • Intestinal worms.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of tamarind for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Tamarind is LIKELY SAFE when used in food amounts. There isn't enough reliable information to know if tamarind is safe when used in larger amounts as medicine.

When placed into the eyes: It is POSSIBLY SAFE to use an extract of tamarind seeds as eye drops.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if tamarind is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Diabetes: Tamarind seed might lower blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control. If you have diabetes and use tamarind, monitor your blood sugar levels closely. Dosing adjustments for diabetes medications might be needed.

Surgery: Tamarind seed might lower blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using tamarind at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Aspirin interacts with TAMARIND

    Taking tamarind with aspirin might increase how much aspirin the body absorbs. This could increase the amount of aspirin in the body and might increase the chance of aspirin side effects.

  • Ibuprofen interacts with TAMARIND

    Taking tamarind with ibuprofen might increase how much ibuprofen the body absorbs. This could increase the amount of ibuprofen in the body and might increase the chance of ibuprofen side effects.




  • For dry eyes: Eye drops containing up to 1% tamarind seed sugars have been used 4-5 times a day.

View References


  • De, M., Krishna, De A., and Banerjee, A. B. Antimicrobial screening of some Indian spices. Phytother.Res. 1999;13(7):616-618. View abstract.
  • Barabino S, Rolando M, Nardi M, Bonini S, Aragona P, Traverso CE. The effect of an artificial tear combining hyaluronic acid and tamarind seeds polysaccharide in patients with moderate dry eye syndrome: a new treatment for dry eye. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2014;24(2):173-8. View abstract.
  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
  • Garba M, Yakasai IA, Bakare MT, Munir HY. Effect of Tamarindus indica. L on the bioavailability of ibuprofen in healthy human volunteers. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet 2003;28:179-84. View abstract.
  • Jacobi C, Kruse FE, Cursiefen C. Prospective, randomized, controlled comparison of SYSTANE UD eye drops versus VISINE INTENSIV 1% EDO eye drops for the treatment of moderate dry eye. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2012;28(6):598-603. View abstract.
  • Khandare, A. L., Kumar, P. U., Shanker, R. G., Venkaiah, K., and Lakshmaiah, N. Additional beneficial effect of tamarind ingestion over defluoridated water supply to adolescent boys in a fluorotic area. Nutrition 2004;20(5):433-436. View abstract.
  • Khandare, A. L., Rao, G. S., and Lakshmaiah, N. Effect of tamarind ingestion on fluoride excretion in humans. Eur.J.Clin.Nutr. 2002;56(1):82-85. View abstract.
  • Maiti, R., Jana, D., Das, U. K., and Ghosh, D. Antidiabetic effect of aqueous extract of seed of Tamarindus indica in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;92(1):85-91. View abstract.
  • Murray, R., Dingwall-Fordyce, I., and Lane, R. E. An outbreak of weaver's cough associated with tamarind seed powder. Br J Ind.Med 1957;14(2):105-110. View abstract.
  • Mustapha A, Yakasai IA, Abdu Aguye I. Effect of Tamarindus indica L. on the bioavailability of aspirin in healthy human volunteers. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet 1996;21:223-6. View abstract.
  • Okello J, Okullo JBL, Eilu G, Nyeko P, Obua J. Physicochemical composition of Tamarindus indica L. (Tamarind) in the agro-ecological zones of Uganda. Food Sci Nutr. 2018;6(5):1179-1189. View abstract.
  • Rolando M, Valente C. Establishing the tolerability and performance of tamarind seed polysaccharide (TSP) in treating dry eye syndrome: results of a clinical study. BMC Ophthalmol 2007;7:5. View abstract.
  • Tuffnell, P. G. and Dingwall-Fordyce, I. An investigation into the acute respiratory reaction to the inhalation of tamarind seed preparations. Br J Ind.Med 1957;14(4):250-252. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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