Health Benefits of Garcinia cambogia

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Garcinia cambogia Quick Facts
Name: Garcinia cambogia
Scientific Name: Garcinia gummi-gutta
Colors Yellow or red
Shapes Ovoid berry, 5 cm in diameter
Garcinia cambogia is a wild tropical and subtropical plant or small to medium sized and evergreen tree which measures 5-20 meters tall with smooth and lactiferous bar and horizontal/drooping branches.  Leaves are opposite, coriaceous, elliptic-ovate to obovate about 1-13 cm long and 2-8 cm wide. Flowers are bisexual or androecious, thus an andromonoecious species. Flowers usually male occurs in axillary clusters of 4 to 8 with long membranous sepals and concave or oblong petals. An ovary is globose and superior crowned by sessile and circular papillate stigma having 8 to 10 tuberculate stigmatic rays. Fruit is a fleshy, globose, subglobose to ovoid berry about 7-10 cm in diameter, green and turns yellow, orangey or reddish when ripe. Seeds are smooth, oval, pale brown and 12 mm long surrounded by succulent reddish or whitish succulent aril.

It has limited inherent global distribution restricted to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. But it has been introduced in the subtropical region of Asia including China, Philippines and Malaysia. The trees are found especially in the semi-evergreen to evergreen forests of Southwest India  mainly in Western Ghats (Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu). The tree grows both on hilltops and plain lands but grows best in dry or occasionally waterlogged/flooded soils in riverbanks and valleys. 

The Genus Garcinia comprises of 390 species in which 30 different species are reported to be grown in Andaman islands, north east hill region, west Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Western Ghats covering Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Nilgiri hills in India. It is introduced elsewhere in the tropics. It is found in areas with evenly distributed rainfall and short dry period to initiate flowering. It also thrives on deep and well-drained slightly acidic soil such as clayey loams and abhors calcareous soils.


According to research by Jena et al Garcinia cambogia is well known for its acidic nature. Benzophenones  are the major secondary metabolites in  G. gummi-gutta, followed by xanthones and biflavonoids.

Organic acids are of great significance in plants as intermediates in the metabolic processes and are directly involved in growth and maturation of fruits. The organic acids play a key role in fruit flavour and taste. Most of the Garcinia fruits are well known for their sour taste and high acidity, and of the different acids reported from Garcinia fruits, hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is the important one, being an anti-obesity agent and a chiral molecule of wide utility in chiral synthesis . Malic acid, ascorbic acid, tartaric, oxalic acid and citric acids are also present to a lesser extent in Garcinia fruits.

1. Hydroxy citric acid

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is the major organic acid occurring in the fruits  of Garcinia cambogia(Garcinia gummi-gutta). According to research made by Lewis et al The acid and its lactone were mistakenly identified as citric acid and tartaric acid, however, the acids failed to give positive result for pentabromacetone test for citric acid and cream of tartar test for tartaric. Hydroxy citric acid has been first reported from nature by Lewis and Neelakantan in 1965 from the fruit rinds of Garcinia cambogia.  HCA  (1,2 dihydroxypropane-1,2,3-  tricarboxylic acid) has four isomeric forms, since it contains two asymmetric carbons: (-)-HCA, (+)-HCA, (+)-allo-HCA and  (-)-allo-HCA (Figure 2).  (2S, 3S)  Hydroxycitric acid is the major acid from the fruit rinds of G. gummi-gutta.

2. Benzophenones

In a recent report, UHPLC-QqQLIT–MS/MS method has been applied for the validated estimation of HCA and lactone separately in leaf samples of different Garcinia species. The fatty acid content of G. gummi-gutta seeds were 46.5%, and the major fatty acid was stearic acid (30.6%), followed by oleic acid (26.2%), linoleic acid (11.4%), elaidic acid (9.5%), palmitic acid (6.3%) and arachidic acid (5.4%).   The amino acid profile of G. gummi-gutta  fruits was also reported. The amount of total free amino acids was determined to be less than 60 mg in 100 g of G. gummi-gutta fruit. According to Carratu et al the amino acids such as arginine, asparagine, glutamine, threonine, glycine, proline, γ-amino butyric acid, leucine, isoleucine, ornithine and lysine were detected in the fruits. Volatile chemical profiling of the leaves of G. gummi-gutta revealed sesquiterpenoids as the major class of volatile compounds and -copaene has  been reported as the  major compound (30.2%).

3. Xanthones

The xanthones garbogiol and rheediaxanthone A were isolated from the barks and roots of G. gummi-gutta. According to research made by Masullo et al. (2008, 2010) Oxy-guttiferones M, K2, I and K were isolated from the fruits of G. gummi-gutta. Oxy-guttiferones are tetracyclic xanthones derived from the oxidation of the corresponding polyisoprenylated benzophenones.

4. Biflavonoids

In a recent report (Pandey et al., 2015), the biflavonoids fukugicide, GB-1 and amentoflavone were reported from G. gummi-gutta leaf extracts through a validated LC-MS analysis . However, the biflavonoid content was lowest in G. gummi-gutta among all the screened Garcinia species. The phenolic acid and flavonoids were also lower compared to other Garcinia species.

Phytochemicals reported from Garcinia cambogia

Plant Part Compounds
Leaf Cambogic acid, mangostin, garcinol, fukugicide, GB-1 and amentoflavone
Heart wood Morelloflavone, dihydromorelloflavone, isomorellic acid
Bark Rheediaxanthone, guttiferone E and isogarcinol
Latex Cambogin (isogarcinol) and camboginol (garcinol)
Root Garbogiol Iinuma et al.,1998  Morelloflavone, dihydromorelloflavone, isomorellic acid
Fruit  Guttiferones – K, I, J, M and N; oxy-guttiferones M, K, K2 and I


Health Benefits of Garcinia cambogia

1. Bioactivities of G. gummi-gutta crude extracts

In vitro and vivo models, Garcinia cambogia showed anthelmintic, diuretic, anticholinestrase, gastroprotective, antifungal and hepatoprotective activities. It showed effect on reproductive system, blood viscosity, lipid peroxidation, plasma and haematology biochemistry. Garcinia cambogia extract has antidiabetic property by promoting glucose metabolism and displays leptin like activity. The fruit extracts. Fruit extracts shows antioxidant activity. Leaves showed anti-inflammatory activity against carrageenan induced paw oedema in rats. The major secondary metabolite, Garcinol is a secondary metabolite found in Garcinia cambogia which is effective against different types of cancer such as breast cancer, colon cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, Hela cells, lung cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, medlloblastomam, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and tongue cancer.

2. Helps with obesity

Hydroxyl citric acid is an important supplement for managing weight. According to Sullivan et al, Hydroxyl citric acid fatty acid blocked fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis and also the rats fed with HCA consumed less when compared to control animals. Also HCA reduced body fat levels with no loss of body protein in test animals.  In human studies HCA improved blood profile levels by lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL levels significantly. It supports weight loss without stimulating central nervous system and produce only short term anorexia. It regulates serotonin levels associated to satiety and decreases lipogenesis. You can find some best Garcinia Cambodia product from the online store. 

3. Biological activity

Garcinol has antioxidant activity due to the presence of both phenolic hydroxyl groups and β-diketone. Garcinol has pivotal role in treating gastric ulcers caused by hydroxyl radical or by chronic infection with Helicobacter pylori. It demonstrates antibiotic activity against methicillin resistant. Study shows that garcinol has neuroprotective properties so it inhibits expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase. Moreover, secondary metabolites such as xanthones displays antimalarial, vasodilatory, antiviral activity, cytotoxic activity, α-glucosidase activity, human leukemia, CNS activity  and  platelet activating factor (PAF).

4. Stronger immunity

Earlier studies had shown that leaf extracts of Garcinia cambogia upgrades the levels of erythrocytes, thrombocytes, leucocytes, hemoglobin and reduce the level of glucose, total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein level. It increases immunity by promoting cellular immunological indicators.

5. Others

The fruit rind of Garcinia cambogia is a major source of hydroxycitric acid. Moreover, secondary metabolites such as benzophenones, xanthones, organic and amino acids have been reported. The beneficial effects encompasses antihelmenthic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, hyperlipidaemic and antiobesity properties.

Traditional uses

  • The decoction made from fruit rind is used as a cure for rheumatism and bowel complaints.
  • Use it as a rinse for mouth problems.
  • A translucent yellow resin obtained from the tree has purgative properties.
  • Seed oil is used as medicine.
  • It is used to treat ulcers, edema, fever, hemorrhoids, open sores, constipation, dysentery, diarrhea and intestinal parasites.
  • Fruit tonic is used in India to treat heart ailments.
  • Use the fruit rind in rickets and spleen enlargement and to heal bone fractures.
  • Use the fruit in a lotion with vinegar and rub the abdomen of women confinement.

Culinary uses

  • Process the rind of ripe fruits and use it as a condiment in fish and prawns.
  • Pickle, smoke dried rinds of Garcinia cambogia in brine.
  • It is used in fish curries.
  • Dried rind of the fruit is used with salt to cure fish in India and Sri Lanka.
  • It is used as a substitute for Kokum butter and a common additive to make meals more filling.






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