Garcinia cambogia has garnered a lot of attention of late as a popular natural weight loss aid.

Garcinia cambogia

Garcinia cambogia is a small, sweet, exotic fruit native to South India and Southeast Asia. Garcinia cambogia has garnered a lot of attention of late as a popular natural weight loss aid.

The reason is that the rind of this pumpkin like fruit is rich in a substance called hydroxycitric acid / HCA, a principle extract of Garcinia cambogia. Garcinia is a source for a revolutionary natural diet ingredient which is currently a rage in America.

It flowers during the hot season and fruits ripen during the rainy season..The fruit is harvested, dried and ground into a powder.

Garcinia cambogia extract is the calcium salt of hydroxyl citric acid (Both 50% and 60% hydroxy citric acids are available), which is obtained from water extract of Garcinia cambogia fruit .

It is non-toxic, tasteless, odorless powder and found to be very effective herbal medicine for controlling obesity and cholesterol by inhibiting lipogenesis in our body. It is a well established fat burning agent all over the world.

Chemical Constituents: The plant contains various chemical constituents such as Xanthones, Benzophenones,Garcinol and plant acids like (-) Hydroxy Citric Acid, Maleic acid, Citric acid.

HCA is naturally occurring fruit acid found in the outer layer covering of the fruits of Garcinia cambogia.

HCA is highly unstable and therefore extracted as a salt of preferably as calcium or potassium.

Therapeutic Uses:
The active constituent in this herb is called Hydroxycitric acid or HCA and is gaining a reputation for assisting weight loss through appetite suppression and by reducing the body’s ability to form adipose(fatty) tissue during times of overeating.

* Garcinia has also been historically used to treat gastric ulcers. A 2002 study indicates this herb works primarily through the action of one of these plant’s constituents, garcinol.Garcinol is known to lower acidity in the stomach and protects the gastric mucosa.

* The rind of garcinia cambogia is also astringent, which is why it was also historically used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentry as well as having the added benefit in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers.

* The ability for Garcinia’s component, HCA, to reduce blood lipid levels and lower blood cholesterol is another feature of this amazing natural medicine.

* More recently, it has been proposed that Garcinia cambogia has a hepato protective ability against external toxins, such as alcohol. A recent study showed that Garcinia prevented liver cells from becoming fibrotic and stopped cell damage caused by high blood lipid levels.

*Garcinia cambogia, an exotic fruit grown in South India, has been used to impart a distinctive sour flavour to Indian cooking. It is the source for a revolutionary natural diet ingredient which is currently a rage in America, Japan, Europe and other western countries.

Plant Description :Garcinia cambogia is a moderate-sized, evergreen tree and the flowers are unisexual, sessile and axillary. The leaves are dark green, shining, elliptic to obovate. It bears sweet-sour mixed fruits native to SE Asia and India. The fruit may resemble a small yellow or reddish pumpkin, or it may have a unique purple color. The fruit of Garcinia cambogia has been traditionally used in food preparation and cooking, having a distinctive taste. Garcinia has garnered a lot of attention of late as a popular natural weight loss aid. The reason is that the rind of this pumpkin like fruit is rich in a substance called hydroxycitric acid / HCA.

History : In Ayurveda, it is said that the sour flavors, such as those from Garcinia, activate digestion. Garcinia has also been considered to make foods more filling and satisfying, and has been used routinely for many centuries with no known toxicity. This herb has been used historically in India to support the treatment of various health conditions.

Garcinia the ‘cambodge tree’ is a good-sized glabrous and evergreen tree belonging to the family Clusiaceae and presently known under the scientific name, Garcinia Cambogia (L.). It is commonly seen in the western ghats of Kerala, Karnataka, and in Sri Lanka. In Kerala the tree is seen in plenty in mid-Travencore tract and in Karnataka in Konkan tract. Garcinia shows wide variability in yield, growth habit, and fruit qualities. Both male and hermaphrodite trees are met with in the genus.

The tree is very much adapted to both hilltops and plain lands alike. But, its performance is best in riverbanks and valleys. It grows well in dry or occasionally water logged or flooded soils. Usually seedling takes 10-12 years to start bearing. The percentage of male trees in population varies from 50-60 per cent and this also creates much difficulty in the cultivation of the crop. Problems such as lack of high yielder, planting grafts prepared from elite mother trees can solve variability in population and occurrence of male trees.

The economic part of the plant is its mature fruit which are highly acidic. The rinds of the ripe fruit are processed and used as a condiment in fish and prawn preparations to impart flavour and taste and to improve the keeping quality. The extracts obtained from the mature fruit rind, Hydroxy Citric Acid, attracts foreign markets – thanks to its use in medicines controlling obesity. It is also one of the ingredients in many ayurvedic medicines.

Varieties
Even though garcinia is one of the oldest tree spices of the State, only recently that it has attained international importance. Hence research work in the field of crop improvement and crop husbandry is very meagre. Most of the trees in the field are of seedling origin and hence they exhibit wide variability. Recently Kerala Agricultural University has identified a few promising types which are being multiplied for cultivation.

Phytochemistry : The plant contains acids tartaric, citric and phosporic. The latex of Garcinia cambogia contains two polyisoprenylated benzophenone derivatives, camboginol (I) and cambogin (II).

Chemistry : The major phytoconstituent in Garcinia cambogia is Hydroxycitric acid. This principal acid has been found to suppress the fatty acid synthesis, lipogenesis, food intake, and promotes glycogenesis, gluconeogenesis and induced weight loss.

How it works : Garcinia Cambogia fills the glycogen stores in the liver and other tissues, thereby reducing appetite while increasing energy levels. Garcinia Cambogia lowers the production of triglycerides and cholesterol and may also increase thermogenesis, the burning of calories. Unlike chemical stimulants commonly used in weight loss products, Garcinia Cambogia does not act on the central nervous system. This means that Garcinia Cambogia will not cause insomnia, nervousness, changes in blood pressure or heart rate and its effectiveness will not diminish with time.

Who can take Garcinia? Because herbal medicines are relatively mild and gentle on the human body, Garcinia can be taken by practically everyone, regardless of age and gender. Garcinia can be taken for the following reasons:
• Helps reduce body’s ability to store fat.
• Lowers body weight through appetite control.
• Lowers serum triglycerides.
• Creates a process in the body called thermogenesis.
• Helps with catarrhal conditions of the throat, urinary system, and uterus.

Benefits & Uses :
• Garcinia has also been considered to make foods more filling and satisfying.
• Garcinia cambogia was able to decrease the acidity and to increase the mucosal defence in the gastric areas, thereby justifying its use as an antiulcerogenic agent.
• Garcinia does not contain any addictive components and can be taken without fear of addiction for extended periods of time.
• Garcinia also contains significant amounts of Vitamin C and has been used as a heart tonic.
• Garcinia, when taken over a period of time, has the ability to slow production of fat and help the body metabolize it more efficiently.

The Garcinia fruit is a rich source of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), the active agent that aids in weight loss by inhibiting fat production and suppressing appetite.

Garcinia contains citrine, an extract that is 50-60% HCA, which inhibits an enzyme that helps the body synthesize fat for storage in adipose tissue. HCA promotes energy, inhibits lipogenesis, lowers the production of cholesterol and fatty acids, increases the production of glycogen in the liver, suppresses appetite, and increases the body’s production of heat by activating the process of thermogenesis.

Garcinia cambogia extract is quickly becoming a popular ingredient in many weight loss supplements. Many studies have been pointing to strong possibilities that it will help some people to lose weight. But like similar studies, the evidence is not conclusive. Inspite of this it is been cited in many weight loss supplements as been an active ingredient for losing weight.

Garcinia cambogia belongs to the citrus family like oranges and lemons. It is a small tropical fruit that is too sour to eat but the rind is used as a spice in Indian cooking. It is indigenous to India and Africa. The active ingredient usually accredited for weight loss in this fruit is its extract, hydroxycitric acid.

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) unlike caffeine is not a stimulant. Neither is it an appetite suppressant, both of which work directly on the nerve centers of the brain.

Both stimulants and appetite suppressants can have undesired side effects, including causing food binges any time you stop taking them.
Instead, HCA satisfies the body’s need for energy and improves the signaling system that the body uses to tell the brain when it has eaten enough. In overweight people this response is often delayed, causing them to continue to eat more than they need.

HCA seems to work best for people who overeat when they are anxious or stressed, as it will give the same calming effect that they get from food. Generally you do not need to eat any special foods when you are taking HCA, and there are no ‘forbidden foods’. Choose healthy foods and you should find that you lose weight and fat slowly but steadily without really trying. You can take slightly smaller portions if you wish and choose fruit instead of sugary snacks but you should not need to go hungry. This is a very natural way to lose weight.

Garcinia cambogia extract (HCA) in weight loss supplements is usually combined with chromium.

Chromium is a mineral that is often lacking in our diets as we get older and a chromium deficit can contribute to weight gain and possibly diabetes. HCA and chromium seem to work in a positive synergy to regulate the body’s blood sugar levels. However if you have diabetes already, you should see your doctor before taking any products containing chromium.

Though HCA shows possibilities it is best to be cautious just like with all other weight loss supplements. For example do not take HCA if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Consult a doctor before giving it to children.

You may also want to avoid HCA if you suffer from migraine or arthritis which can be worsened by citrus fruits.

HCA has some significant advantages over many other weight loss supplements ingredients because it has been extensively tested in research laboratories on both human and animal subjects and no side effects have been found. Consequently it is considered a natural weight loss supplement.
COMPARISON BETWEEN HERBAL AND SYNTHETIC DRUGS:

The following side effects are infrequent but serious and require immediate medical attention: cardiac arrhythmias, paresthesia, mental/mood changes (e.g., excitement, restlessness, confusion, depression, rare thoughts of suicide).

Symptoms that require urgent medical attention are seizures, problems urinating, abnormal bruising or bleeding, melena, hematemesis, jaundice, fever and rigors, chest pain, hemiplegia, abnormal vision,dyspnea and edema.

Potential Side Effects of Garcinia Cambogia:
There are no known side effects for using this herb, however, it is not recommended for diabetics or people suffering any dementia syndrome, including Alzheimer’s; and in pregnant and lactating women.

Garcinia cambogia does have contraindications with certain medications, and it is important to discuss this with your health care professional.