What is Indian Almond Leaves?
Indian Almond Leaves came from Indian Almond tree, a large tropical tree in the Leadwood tree family. Indian Almond Leaves are quite big, usually 15 to 25 centimetres long and 10 to 15 centimetres broad (6-10 inches long and 4-5.5 inches broad). Indian Almond Leaves are thick and leathery with an ovoid shape and sport a glossy dark green colour.
It is considered native to tropical Asia and northern Australia, but is today also common in tropical parts of the Americas. The tree has been widely spread by humans due to its desirable properties, and the exact origin of the species is therefore uncertain.
Scientific classification of Indian almond tree
Species: Terminalia catappa
Before shedding its leaves to survive the dry season, the Indian almond tree will retract the valuable green pigmentation, leaving the Indian Almond Leaves pinkish-reddish or yellow-brown.
Indian Almond Leaves contain several different flavonoids, including kaempferol and quercetin. Indian Almond Leaves is also rich in various tannins; astringent, bitter plant polyphenols that either bind and precipitate or shrink proteins.
The compounds found in Indian Almond Leaves have made them an integral part of traditional medicine within their native range, and local communities in the Americas have also adopted them into their collections of home remedies.
Aquarists who keep fish native to soft, acidic and tannin rich waters – such as the Betta fish and Arowana – commonly use Indian Almond Leaves to mimic the natural conditions of their species in aquarium. Adding Indian Almond Leaves in aquarium can for instance help trigger spawning since compounds released by Indian Almond Leaves will alter the chemistry of the water, making the aquarium more similar to the habitat from which the fish hails.
When Indian Almond Leaves placed in an aquarium, it slowly start to decompose. While this happens Indian Almond Leaves turn the water a yellow or brown color by releasing tannins. These tannins lower the pH and are said to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, which comes in very handy when you have a fish suffering from finrot or when you’re raising vulnerable fry. The dark color of the water is considered unsightly by some aquarists, but it actually mimics the natural habitat of many fish species! This definitely makes it something to consider embracing.
- Tannin and a black dye can be extracted from the leaves.
- In Thailand, Siamese Fighting Fish breeders have traditionally used the leaves to create more natural conditions for their captive fish.
- In India and Pakistan, juice of the leaves is used as a folk remedy against various ailments that damages the skin, such as scabies and leprosy, while the leaves themselves are used to dress rheumatic joints.
- In traditional Samoan medicine, the leaves are believed to be effective in treating wounds, eye problems and rheumatism.
- In the Philippines, the leaves are ingested by people suffering from intestinal parasites.
- In Malaysia, the leaves are believed to cure shingles. Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash.
- In parts of South-East Asia, the leaves are believed to be effective against dysentery.
- In Taiwan, fallen leaves are believed to cure or hamper ailments pertaining to the liver.
- In Mexico, the leaves are said to help stop bleeding when a tooth is extracted.
- In various parts of South America, young leaves are believed to help get rid of colic in babies.