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The generic name for the tamarisk plant may have come from Latin, and probably referred to the Tamarix river in Spain. Tamarisks are evergreen trees or shrubs, growing up to 1-18 meters high. The biggest type of tamarisk is called Tamarix aphylla and it can rise to the size of 18 m tall. They usually prefer saline soils.
Tamarisks typically have grey-green foliage and slender branches, with smooth and brown-reddish bark. As the plant is growing to maturity, the color of the bark changes to bluish-purple. The leaves of the plant look like scales. Also, they may often be encrusted with secretions of salt. Its flowers vary from pink to white and they blossom on some long spikes from the months of March till September. However, there are some species such as T. aphylla which have the tendency to flower in the wintertime.
But what is most important of tamarisks is their fruit. Tamarisk fruit contain a higher quantity of vitamin C than citric fruits and the rose hips. Both red and white kind of this fruit have a powerful antioxidant effect on the human organism.
Tamarisk's beneficial effects on the human health are actually known since ancient times. It seems to have originated in Southern Asia, but the Chinese have been using it for over 2,000 years in their traditional medicine. Like it has been previously mentioned, this plant has amazing properties, being used as a medicinal plant that is good for almost any health problem. Thus, the fruit are rich in vitamins A, C, in the vitamin complex B, E, P, K, F and also abounds in microelements such as phosphor, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and sodium. It is also rich in beta-carotene (it even contains more beta-carotene than the carrot), but it also contains pectins, sugars, essential amino-acids and essential fat acids.
It can be used externally or internally. Tamarisk fruit oil is good for curing diseases such as gastric and duodenal ulcer, in neuroendocrinological, circulatory and hepatic diseases, diarrhea, rheumatism, and many more. It is also used in case of alcoholism, stress, asthenia, anemia, hypertension, gingivitis, etc. It can also have a significant effect against depression, parkinson, tumors, mouth problems, flu, intoxications and even leukemia. They are considered to be good anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, astringent and anti-cancer agents. It is also used for curing liver diseases.
The oil made from this plant can also be used in case of ophthalmologic diseases such as short-sightedness, hypermetropy, glaucoma, cataracts, in cases of allergies, dermatitis, low immunity level, ulcer, eczemas, acne, hemorrhoids, psoriasis and sunburns. It is a good also for treating certain gynecological diseases. The products obtained from this plant/tree are also excellent for those who want to lose weight, because they may decrease one's appetite, but at the same time they fill one's body with vitamins.
Tamarisk oil can keep the cholesterol level under control. We must also know the fact that the anti-inflammatory, cicatrizing and antibiotic properties are also contained by the bark of the tamarisk tree. Tamarisk buds used as tincture are an excellent anti-aging remedy. They can also have an aphrodisiac effect. The fruit and its products are used both in the food and the non-food industries. The fruits have a sweet-sour taste and they can be eaten as such or mixed with honey. They can also be used for making tea, for cookies, and so on. Just one teaspoon of tamarisk with a little bit of honey everyday before breakfast can work wonders for our system.
But the prices of these products may be quite high, and the reason is they are very hard to pick from the branches because of the sharp spikes this shrub/tree is provided with. So separating the fruit without getting injured is quite a difficult task and it must be done with extra patience and care. No pain, no gain. Indeed, the gains of using such products can be exceedingly higher than the trouble, as it has been explained above.