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What are the Uses and Health Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia (Garcinia gummi-gutta)?

Garcinia cambogia

What is Garcinia Cambogia?

Garcinia cambogia is an exotic fruit, which is commonly used in the food industries. It is a moderate sized evergreen tree, which has unisexual flowers, and are axillary in nature. The color of leaves are dark green, shiny, elliptic-oval in shape. It bears sweet-sour taste fruits. The fruit resembles with a small pumpkin having yellow or red, or have a unique purple color. Garcinia cambogia fruits are traditionally used in food preparation, with an exotic flavor. Garcinia Cambogia main benefit is in weight loss and due to this property of it, has attracted a lot of attention as a popular natural weight loss aid.

It is also very effective in the treatment of various diseases and disorders such as edema (accumulation of fluid in the body), piles, constipation, rheumatism, intestinal parasites, irregular menstruation, high lipid levels, and cancer. Garcinia cambogia parts contain different health -promoting compounds. Such a composition of it makes it extremely healthy and useful in the treatment of various health disorders.

Classification:

  • Latin name: Garcinia cambogia
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Order: Malpighiales
  • Family: Clusiaceae
  • Tribe: Garcinieae Chois
  • Genus: Garcinia
  • Sanskrit name: Vrikshamala, Samagnicha
  • Common name: Garcinia cambogia, Brindle berry, Kudam puli and Malabar tamarind.

Habitat:

Garcinia gummi-gutta is grown in Southeast Asia coastal. In India found in Karnataka and Kerala. Also found in west and central Africa. It thrives mostly in moist forests.

Chemical Composition:

The plant consist of tartaric, phosphoric acid and citric acid. The latex of Garcinia cambogia contains two polyisoprenylated benzophenone derivatives, camboginol (I) and cambogin (II). Hydroxycitric acid in Garcinia Cambogia is present as a major constituent in it. 20-30% of fruit on dry weight basis consist of hydroxycitic acid. It is very similar to citric acid present in lemons. Active substances (hydroxycitric acid) from Garcinia cambogia reduces the appetite and excess craving for sweets and fast food and increase the level of energy in body levels. Also, they decrease the production cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing thermogenesis and calorie burns. Garcinia cambogia is rich in vitamin C which helps to reduce acidity and has a protective action on the gastric mucosa. Reduces serum triglycerides and helps to reduce inflammatory conditions of the throat, and urinary tract and genital infections.

Ayurvedic properties:

  • Rasa: Madhura (sweet), Amla (sour), Katu (pungent)
  • Guna: Light (laghu), Dry (ruksha)
  • Veerya: Hot potency (ushna)
  • Vipaka: Sour (amla)

Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia - According to Ayurveda:

  • Pacifies Kapha and Vata doshas and balances seven dhatus.
  • Has a thermogenic property to enhance absorption, to sharpen taste buds, clears away ama and toxins build up in the oral cavity.
  • Make the body lighter due to the presence of three rasas.
  • Enhances coordination between samana vata, pachak pitta, and kledak kapha, supports digestion, movement of air and space in the body, maintain enzyme action and lubrication level.
  • Balances medhya dhatu and supports overall health.
  • Samagnicha: Consist of desirable property. Thus help to clear fatty tissue and reduces weight loss.

Health Benefits of Garcinia Cambogia

The fruits, seeds, roots, leaves as well as the extracts of Garcinia cambogia possess a medicinal property and they are useful in the treatment of various diseases and ailments. Besides hydroxycitric acid, Garcinia cambogia contains various other compounds that are beneficial for health. Such a composition it makes different from other herbs. It is also used to treat abdominal pain, certain liver disorders, and abdominal infections. Garcinia cambogia stimulates digestive juices and thus helps in digestion. However, a very high dose of hydroxycitric acid can be life threatening and cause side effects.

Garcinia cambogia has an anti-HIV and anti-bacterial effect due to the presence of polyisoprenylated benzophenones and it also inhibits the action of harmful toxins and thus, protects the cell against damage from bacterial infection. It also has antibiotic and anti-ulcer properties and modulates the expression gene. This herb also has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and thus also helps in the treatment of cancer.

Antioxidant Properties

Oxidative stress is due to an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species and the inability of antioxidants to scavenge. This oxidative stress plays an important role in the progression and development of various diseases and disorders such as arthritis, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, cataracts, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and many more. Garcinia cambogia is a rich source of antioxidants which fights against oxidative stress and prevents the onset of various diseases and disorders.

Extract of Garcinia cambogia has the ability to neutralize the harmful effect of free radicals and it further prevents the formation of reactive oxygen species. Thus, it can be said that Garcinia cambogia extract inhibits the onset of oxidative stress. It also suppresses the activity of reactive oxygen species thus reduce oxidative stress.

Weight Loss

In weight loss Garcinia cambogia plays an important role. It has been used widely as an anti-obesity or weight loss supplement since ages. This weight loss property of Garcinia cambogia is mainly due to the presence of an active component called 'hydroxycitric acid' in it. Hydroxycitric acid prevents lipogenesis, a process in which carbohydrate is converted to fat in the body. As this conversion is inhibited, the body promotes glycogen storage by oxidizing carbohydrates. Due to this, the appetite is suppressed and body weight gain is thus decreased. In addition to this, serotonin in the brain is produced by hydroxycitric acid which further leads to appetite suppression. Serotonin naturally acts as an appetite suppressant that curbs the hunger cravings and helps in weight loss.

The synthesis or formation of fatty acids is due to enzyme ATP citrate lyase, cholesterol and triglycerides easier. HCA in Garcinia inhibits ATP citrate lyase. With this enzyme inhibition, the production of fatty acid, cholesterol, and triglyceride decreases, thus the total body fat content is reduced.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Garcinia cambogia has an effective role in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Garcinia cambogia acts as the insulin resistant and improves the peripheral insulin sensitivity. Such effect increases the flow of glucose to cells and muscles and reduces the glucose and blood concentration in the body. Thus, it reduces high plasma glucose levels or hyperglycemia.

Hydroxycitric acid consists of calcium and phosphorus in its salt which is extracted from the dried rind of Garcinia cambogia fruit. It was found that the extract reduces oxidative stress levels in the pancreas and thus, helped in reducing the high plasma glucose level.

High Cholesterol & Triglyceride Levels

Garcinia cambogia is helpful in reducing high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Garcinia cambogia extract works by inhibiting the activity of ATP lyase, an enzyme helps in fat manufacture in the body. It further suppresses the formation of fat in the liver, intestine and adipose tissue.

Diuretic Activity

In some diseases water may get accumulated in the body, causes edema. Diuretics are a class of drugs, which are given to individuals with accumulated water content known as edema so as to increase their urine output. This reduces the extra amount of water and electrolytes, which get accumulated in the body due to various disorders.

Anti-Inflammatory Property

Inflammation is associated with many diseases. Therefore, it becomes very important to lower the level of inflammation in order to treat the disease. One of such disorder is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract increases.

Side Effects

  • Leads to liver toxicity and further liver damage
  • Causes skin irritation
  • Anti-thrombotic effects
  • In pregnancy
  • Lactating mothers
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