Garcinia cambogia is a tropical tree with a fruit resembling a hybrid between a tomato and a small pumpkin. The fruit can be anywhere from green, yellow, to red in colour. The Garcinia cambogia tree itself can grow up to 60 feet and bear fruits the size of large heirloom tomatoes or oranges. It has several lobes and glossy leaves 5-7 inches in size.
Because of the sour taste of its flesh, Garcinia cambogia is not normally eaten raw. It’s great for pickling and as a key ingredient in dishes like soups and curries. Aside from its culinary use, Garcinia cambogia is also believed to have medicinal uses.
Here are some more facts about Garcinia cambogia:
Common name of Garcinia cambogia
Garcinia cambogia is more commonly known as brindle berry, malabar tamarind, and kudam puli.
Botanical name and family of Garcinia cambogia
Garcinia cambogia is actually the plant’s former scientific name. Today, its proper botanical term is Garcinia gummi-gutta. It belongs to the Clusiaceae family.
Geological places where Garcinia cambogia grows
The plant is native to Indonesia. The tropical species is also cultivated in Southeast Asia, coastal regions of India like the neighboring states of Kerala and Karnataka, as well as West and Central Africa.
Garcinia cambogia benefits and medicinal uses
Most of the claims about Garcinia cambogia center around weight loss. A Women’s Health feature on the plant explains that it contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is mostly found in its rind. This compound has been linked to weight loss as it has properties that can promote fat burning.
1. Suppressing appetite
One of the main beliefs about Garcinia cambogia is that it can be effective in suppressing appetite. our ’10 Magical Foods That Help You Lose Weight Fast’ highlighted how pomegranate has a similar effect, as some studies suggest that these fruits stimulate the production of serotonin. This brain chemical is responsible for curbing food cravings and promoting the feeling of being full.
2. Reduce fat production
Other than controlling one’s hunger, Garcinia cambogia is also believed to inhibit the production of fats. Experts claim that it regulates the production of the enzyme citrate lyase, which is responsible for storing fat in tissues and organs.
How to consume Garcinia cambogia
Given that the taste of its fruit can be off-putting, Garcinia cambogia is often consumed in juice form. It can also be found pickled, sun dried, or smoked. These can be ingested as is or, as mentioned, used in cooking as a flavor-enhancing ingredient.
For weight loss purposes, the HCA content of the fruit can be extracted and turned into pill, capsule, or powder form. These can be bought in health food stores or wherever weight loss products are sold. You may also spot the plant extracts as an additive to similar products. In fact, Pretty Me’s review of Lean N Green coffee lists Garcinia cambogia as one of its key ingredients, as its appetite-suppressing and fat-blocking properties are meant to complement green coffee beans and green tea.
Garcinia cambogia is believed to enhance the weight loss properties of products when mixed with other potent weight loss ingredients. It is best, however, to consult professionals for dosage and frequency of use.
Side effects of Garcinia cambogia
Before stocking your pantry with the plant’s extracts, it’s worth noting its potential side effects. Live Science warns that it is not recommended for diabetics, as it may interfere with treatment by lowering blood glucose levels. Pregnant and breastfeeding mums should also take caution as there aren’t sufficient studies exploring the effects of Garcinia cambogia on mothers and mothers-to-be. There are reports that Garcinia cambogia may be responsible for liver damage in prolonged usage.
The bottom-line is that while Garcinia cambogia does hold promise in promoting weight loss, it should also be taken with some caution. After all, the secret to a healthy body is in getting a balanced diet and living a healthy lifestyle.