Saturday, October 6, 2012

All About Garcinia Cambogia Fruit

Ever since popular American television star Dr. Oz mentioned garcinia cambogia as a possible weight loss tool, people’s curiosity has been piqued. What was otherwise a shy, lowly fruit grown in only a few regions of the world has now become the center of a weight loss fad. For centuries, garcinia cambogia resided in dry, dusty bags only to be sold as a curry supplement and for the occasional therapeutic remedy. Today, however, it shines in colorful, sleek bottles aimed at dieters.

Origin of Garcinia Cambogia
Garcinia cambogia is just one of the 300 to 500 species in the Garcinia genus, all of which are native to regions in Asia, Australia, Polynesia, and southern and tropical Africa. Some point to Indonesia as garcinia cambogia’s specific origin.

Sir William Jackson Hooker recorded notes on the fruit’s preparation during his trip to Sri Lanka in 1835. In his words, the Singhalese “prepare it by taking out the pulp and seeds, breaking it into pieces, and putting it into a heap, which is covered for two to three days, till it becomes soft. It is then smoked by burning cocoa-nut shells below the grating on which it’s spread. This operation is continued for many days, when it is tied up tight in a bag, and kept for use by being hung, I cannot say in the chimney, for chimneys that have none, but where it is under the influence of smoke from their fires when cooking.”

Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia are also well acquainted with the garcinia cambogia. In these countries, the Muslim population often includes the dried rind as a flavorful pickle or condiment.

In India, the fruit is better known as the Malabar tamarind, kudampuli in Kerala, and “cambodge.” Other closely relates fruits, like the Talbot garcinia (Garcinia malabarica) also grow throughout the country’s warm coastal regions.

Availability of Garcinia Cambogia in India
Malabar tamarinds grow well in the south, particularly along the Western Ghats and in Kerala. In these regions, it’s commonplace for village homes to have these fruit trees growing in their yard.

Garcinia cambogia season is during the rainy months of June through August. The trees fruit prolifically at elevations up to 6,000 feet in evergreen forests.

Where to find Garcinia Cambogia in India

It’s possible to find fresh fruits when strolling through the markets of Kerala or by purchasing a few from pushcart vendors along the West coast. Aside from these scenarios, finding fresh gamboge is unlikely. However, several outlets sell the fruit it in its dried, blackened form, or as a nutritional supplement in health food stores. Ayurvedic practitioners sell the fruit and root’s extracts as a treatment for various afflictions, from obesity to nerve pain to insomnia.

Checking for Ripeness in Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia cambogias are generally green when unripe, and vary in color once ripened: The fruits turn magnificent hues of red, orange, yellow and brownish yellow once ripe. As they near spoilage, the fruits lose their glossy sheen and the exterior becomes golden brown and tough.

Taste of Garcinia Cambogia

The taste of Malabar tamarind is sour and acidic, which contributes to its reputation as a digestive aid in Ayurveda. Though there’s a bit of sweetness to the fruit, the overwhelming sourness of it makes it unpalatable to eat raw. As such, the fruit—particularly the rind—is used to enhance the zest of several dishes. Many Indians use the fruit as a substitute to the sour tamarind because of its likeness in taste.

Nutritional Value of Garcinia Cambogia
I’ve not found its nutritional information, unfortunately. That said, its medicinal benefits resemble fruits high in vitamin C. Like most fruits, it’s also probably low in fat, high in water content and fiber.

Health Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia
In Ayurveda, the fruit treats ailments from rheumatism, arthritis, digestive disorders to gum disease. It also treats worms, parasites, dysentery, purgatives, and allegedly, tumors.

The most touted compound of the Malabar tamarind is its hydroxycitric acid or, HCA. Supplement specialists hype the extracts as a fat-burning, metabolism-boosting, appetite-suppressing weight loss mechanism. The claim is that HCA inhibits an ezyme, citrate lyase, from converting carbohydrates into fat. This process compels the body to burn the carbs, instead of the normal reaction of storing them as fat.

Scientific studies show mixed reviews regarding HCA’s efficacy:
--A 1973 study published in Lipids indicate suppressed food intake when HCA was administered to animals. Another 2009 study published in Nutritional Research found that animals had a decreased body weight gain. 
--One 2004 study published in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism prescribed 60 overweight adults in India to take HCA and niacin-bound chromium, and another to take a placebo. Both groups ate 2,000 kcal a day and did a walking program. At the end of the trial, the HCA group lost 1% more weight (not significant), but the group taking HCA also left more food on their plate.
--A 2013 study published in Investigational New Drugs found that using a combination of molecules—of which HCA is included—targeting cancer metabolism resulted in decreased tumor growth in mice.
--According to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, short-term HCA supplementation enhances athletic performance and endurance.
--A 2007 study published in Nutrition Research found that a mixture of psyllium and HCA reduced body weight gain and body fat when tested in rats.

On the other hand, some studies show little to no weight loss efficacy in human trials:
--In 1998, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a double blind study of 135 overweight men and women. In it, the double-blind trial concluded that Garcinia cambogia extracts failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass over the placebo group.

--A Korean study published in the Nutrition Journal also failed to prove any weight loss results when its human subjects took garcinia cambogia extracts.

Safety and Side Effects of Garcinia Cambogia
A study at Spain’s Virgili University showed that taking garcinia cambogia extracts produced no harmful or adverse side effects. The US’s Food and Drug Administration does not currently regulate this weight loss supplement.

Though the garcinia fruit extract might be safe on its own, it’s best to verify the safety of other ingredients. Supplement manufacturers often add a cocktail of other herbs, fruits, and extracts. Anecdotally, people who have taken supplements write of a few interesting effects in the comment section of garcinia cambogia extract websites. Some complain of dizziness and shortness of breath, stomach pains, diarrhea, headaches and cramps. Though these side effects may be the result of supplement additives, it’s best to use any supplement with caution.
How to Open/Prepare Garcinia Cambogia
Open Garcinia cambogia like a mangosteen: gently slice the knife through the pliant, yet thick flesh along its ridged lines. A small cut should be enough to manually “crack” open the fruit with the hands. The fruit’s fleshy pods can be scooped out with ease.

The process for drying the sour rind has not changed much since Hooker’s description in 1835: families still leave the fruit in the sun for a few days before smoking them over the cooking stove in a tightly woven bag.


Storing Garcinia Cambogia
Fresh cambogias have a long shelf life. In dry storage, they last up to 3 weeks. Keep the fruits out of hot, humid areas, as these conditions cause the fruit to harden. In cooler, humid conditions, the fruits may last for up to a month. Wrap the fruits in paper towels for best results.

Keep dried cambogia in an airtight container in the fridge. Like tamarind paste, however, the rind is exceptionally resilient and non-perishable: some last for a year in small jars set near the stovetop.

Malabar Tamarind Recipe Ideas and Uses:
Though the fruit’s rind is what contains the medicinal, commercial HCA, other parts of Garcinia cambogia may be used in the kitchen.
--The smoked rind, kodampuli, is heady, sour, bold, and of course, smoky. It goes well in curries and doubles as tamarind paste.
--The fruit is used as a food preserver due to its antibacterial properties. It’s common to preserve fish using garcinia cambogia, and in Sri Lanka, this practice is called “Colombo curing.”
--Many villagers pickle garcinia cambogia and serve it as a condiment akin to mango chutney or garlic pickle.

--The juice is an adequate substitute for lime, lemon and orange juice.

Flavor Complements:
Fruits: Tamarind, lemon, lime, kokum, Cochin goraka, mangosteen, orange, amla, star gooseberry, coconut, guava, pineapple, coconut, pineapple

Seasoning: Coconut oil, coconut milk, lemon juice, limejuice, orange juice, citrus rind, salt, black pepper, vinegar, pepper, tamarind paste, mustard seed, turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic, fenugreek, asafetida, tamarind paste, liquid smoke, gingelly oil, pandan leaf, soy sauce, lemongrass

Scientific Name
Garcinia gummi-gutta
Garcinia cambogia

Other Names
Goraka pulli, panampulli, vadakkan puli (Tamil)
Gorakkapulli (Malayalam)
Assam fruit
Malabar tamarind

Manda huli, mantulli, punara huli (Kannada)


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  3. Thank you very much for this article. I came to the 'net looking after seeing Dr Oz talk about it on his show. Not sure if you can answer this but he talked about the extract and as we know extract is derived using heat/steam or alcohol. If I used the dried skin, should I achieve the same benefits? Thank you.

  4. It's interesting. Why not promote this in India? Dr. Oz is speaking daily about it on TV in US!

    1. Its rather interesting that any great products that are grown in India are not available to Indians as they fetch lot more money from western countries. It is rather shameful. I live overseas and many things that
      are readily available to us here is not available to my relative in India.

    2. This tree is growing in abundance at my granny's backyard. My mom just told me that she would bring the fruit and give it to my granny, who would make curry paste to go with rice. It is commonly used a lot in south India as far as I am being told by my parents. Now it will become a patent of US as usual!

  5. I agree,why not promote it in India?India is in these things.Instead of in fighting for vote banks why not fight for preserving our so rich inheritance?

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  7. look can some one please tell me where i can i buy thisgarcini cambogia fruit

  8. I read about thsi on Dr Oz weight loss session. I didn't know the tamrind used in Fish curry has so much of good nutrients.
    Thanks for the post.

  9. I looked so hard and finally after lot of researching found it to exact specs i needed on nutrition warehouse in oz. Just google them.

  10. It is one of the ingredients of Himalyas Ayur Slim capsules.

  11. Is it Kokum as we say in Gujrati ?

    1. It's a very close relative--both have HCA, so if you consume kokum, you're getting all the same benefits as garcinia cambogia!

    2. Kokum is belongs to the same family but botanically called as Garcinia Indica (Virikshamala) whereas Garcinia Combogia is mainly from Kerala and called Kodampuli. Both having similar role on weight managements..

    3. Yes, it sure is. This is not Kokam Na Phool as in Gujarat but surely it is Kokam from Kerala

    4. any idea whether we can use this while pregnacy

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  14. I have read that Garcinia Cambogia in certain doses promotes hepatoxicity - does any one know the optimal dose.

  15. Wonderful information, I'm getting lot of inquiries like 20 mt to 40mt requirement,

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  17. Quelques idées cadeaux:

  18. Kokum is belongs to the same family but botanically called as Garcinia Indica (Virikshamala) whereas Garcinia Combogia is mainly from Kerala and called Kodampuli. Both having similar role on weight managements..

  19. Thanks for the article! What is hindi name of this Fruit?

  20. Shame on ourselves, Sell the best Natural and raw stuff to other countries and import same in the form of crap tablets. Olden India was so healthy before they started exporting our super rich medicinal herbs..

  21. So funny, I brought one packet of this for fish curry on my trip from Kerala to Boston. The London airport staff stopped me for illegal drugs.. and I had a tough time to explain it to them..:)

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  24. so funny i have 5kg of kodampulli in my kitchen and surfing where to buy in india

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  31. Really enjoyed reading your blog.Loved the inclusion of 'other similar and interesting fruits' at the end. Looking forward to visiting your blog again and again, thanks.

  32. Can any one tell where to get Garcinia Cambogia extracts in India.

  33. Good article. we ship garcinia cambogia to worldwide. Please visit :

  34. Does any one know how to take kudampuli for weight loss? I mean how to consume...can we take direct fruit or fruit juice?

    1. It's supposedly the rind with the weight loss properties, so I'd soak the fresh rind in water and drink the juice. Or, you can dry the rind, grind it into a powder, and then put the powder in capsules to consume like a pill.

  35. Very interesting information about Garcinia Cambogia!
    Everything is said about this fruit that helps to lose weight.

  36. In Sri Lanka, its called "GORAKA". You can grind and cook the chunks of fish in a clay pot and can be preserved for several days and they taste good. Its good for cholostral too.

  37. L-citrulline is a naturally occurring amino acid. It is found in some foods like watermelons and is also produced naturally by the body.

  38. I am from Kerala. I suppose I am very well aware of this fruit. As this blog says we use it in Curries, sambar, rasam also as in pickles and of course famously in fish curries. It's quite tasty as in pickles and goes to a heavenly level when had with tadka-curd-rice or "Mabparam qootan" !.

    Are you laughing at that name, can't imagine why.

    But I am not astonished on the fact that these western people discovered its merits recently while we had these in our Ayurveda since centuries, and it's not the first time because they are still not able to digest the fact that we had civilizations and artistic culture built well before even when they were just figuring it out what is a cave ! ha ha ha....

    I am astonished on the fact that we are so well ahead of them and still most of us feel we are not up to them, and there is a justifiable fact for it, and that is, " we do ENGLISH and not SANSKRIT, while we are actually SANSKRIT ", as I believe there is humongous amount of hidden treasure in our literature and studies, but we as our idiotic nature goes thing of them as "TRIVIAL ! ".

    Again, can't imagine why...!!!

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  41. For heaven sake, could anyone please translate Cambogia to telugu. At least please tell me what is it popularly called in Andhra Pradesh. Please.....

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