Guamuchiles: The Manila Tamarind Fruit
The guamuchile (Phithecellobium Dulce) fruit comes from the guamuchil tree of the Bean Family.
The tree originated from Mexico. It is also native to Central and South America.
Guamuchiles grow from 16 feet to 49 feet (4.87m to 14.92m) tall.
There is actually much controversy regarding the real name of this unusual tree.
Early Spanish traders brought guamuchile fruit to the Philippines where the locals came to call it the Camachile.
This introduced species was first thought to have Indian heritage. This is because at the beginning of the 18th century, some European explorers incorrectly recorded it as a product from Madras, India. Here the guamuchile was named the Madras Thorn so the confusion is understandable.
Later, though, evidence was uncovered to suggest that the Spanish invaders brought the fruit to the Americas in 1650 and introduced it there as the Manila Tamarind giving recognition to the Philippines’ capital where they exported the fruit from. The guamuchile bears a striking similarity to tamarind fruits.
Thus, that is how the fruit has become more commonly known now as the Manila Tamarind and not by its original guamuchile name.
Guamuchiles grow extremely abundantly in the Philippines. It is only here that the guamuchile is grown for its fruit. Fruit bearing time falls between February and May.
From the Philippines, guamuchiles were then exported to Africa, the Middle East and neighboring Southeast Asian countries. It is known throughout as the Manila Tamarind except in China where it is renamed Niu ti Dou. In Thailand it is referred to as Foreigner Tamarind.
Compared to the usual tamarind fruit which are sour in taste, the guamuchile/Manila Tamarind is sweet. Its color varies from green to pink bean pods whereas the tamarind fruit is often brown in color. Its seed cannot be eaten.
The guamuchile is considered ripe when the skin turns pink and pops open on its own.
Inside it contains a white, pulpy, soft stuff called aril which is the main fruit itself. The fruit becomes even sweeter as it matures. It can also be converted into a delicious beverage.
Studies show that guamuchile contains a lot of properties beneficial to people’s health.
Here are some of the health benefits this tree offers…
The flowers of the guamuchile tree are said to possess anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and antibacterial properties effective for curing fever, general pain, burns, swelling and infections.
Extract from its leaves contains anti-oxidants that help cleanse the body from all toxins ingested from food. This ingredient is also used as anti-ulcer agents due to its free radical activities. It has antimicrobial properties due to the alcoholic content that can be extracted from it. Leaf extracts are also said to have anti-diabetic effects. There are studies that attribute the alcohol and hexane extracts to the cure of tuberculosis.
The leaves’ juices are also a very effective astringent. These are also used as abortifacient (abortion drug). The ethanol extracted from the leaves has antidepressant, skeletal and muscle relaxant properties.
Extracts from the guamuchile bark are a very good cure for constipation, eye inflammation and dysentery. It is also used as an astringent and anti-hemorrhagic agent (stops any bleeding).
Guamuchile fruits contain both anti-diabetic and anti-ulcer properties.
In general, guamuchile is something of a miracle tree. There are newer studies linking this tree to the inhibition of cancer cells, particularly prostate and colon cancers.
It is very beneficial in regulating oxygen flow to the brain and reduces the chance of brain strokes.
There are also reports of treating venereal diseases by using this as a cure.
The fruit is rich in vitamin B complex which aids in combating stress and increases appetite. It also has plenty of vitamin C which help strengthens the immune system.
Guamuchile can grow in any tropical places because it is resistance to drought. It spreads rapidly and mainly through the help of the birds that feed on it by dropping the seeds while chewing on its fruits.
Because it survives in dry lands, most of it can be grown just along the roadside. It does not need daily watering or maintenance to flourish.
As with other natural medicinal cures, it is best to consult your doctors first before using guamuchile as an intended cure for anything.
It does not possess any harmful effects but it is better avoided by pregnant women as it contains an abortifacient which can cause miscarriage.
It does not possess any allergens so it is therefore a relatively safe fruit.