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Velvet tamarind or solom solom

My Magazine 2022/09
1 min
Velvet tamarind is native to Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia and other West African countries. The plant is popularly known as solom solom. It is a seasonal fruit with an orange pulp that tastes sweet and savoury. The shell feels like velvet.

To eat the solom solom, you break the black velvet shell and munch on the orange pulp. The pulp slowly melts in your mouth, leaving only the hard seed you must throw away.

Solom solom is available around the dry season, but if you are in The Gambia in the wet season, you can still buy some stored ones.

There are quite a few health benefits to eating Velvet Tamarind. It is believed that velvet tamarind can treat ulcers and prevent hypertension. The extract from the leaves of the velvet tamarind can increase gastric mucus secretion, which makes it a remedy for ulcers. The decoction from the black velvet shell can inhibit plasmodium falciparum which causes malaria, making it a natural cure. It is also a remedy for toothaches. The stems are usually used as chewing sticks in Guinea, Nigeria and Ghana. It effectively removes plaques from teeth. The decoction from the stem is used for the treatment of toothaches. It promotes oral hygiene and is also an anti-inflammatory.

You can buy solom solom in the Serekunda market or from street vendors for a few dalasis per bag.

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