Garcinia cambogia

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Common Names: garcinia cambogia , garcinia, Malabar tamarind, brindle berry

Garcinia cambogia
Garcinia cambogia

Latin Names: Garcinia cambogia


  • Garcinia cambogia (Malabar tamarind) is native to India and Southeast Asia. The rind of its fruit is used to flavor fish curries and preserve food.
  • The rind contains a chemical called hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which has been studied for its effect on appetite. Garcinia cambogia supplements with HCA are marketed for weight loss.
  • Garcinia cambogia has also been used as a dietary supplement for rheumatism, intestinal problems, and other conditions.
  • Garcinia cambogia is made into a tea, capsules, extracts, tablets, and lotion.
Garcinia cambogia
Garcinia cambogia

Liver safety of Garcinia cambogia

  • Weight loss products labeled as containing Garcinia cambogia been linked to the development of clinically apparent acute liver injury which can be severe and even fatal.
  • Garcinia cambogia is an herbal product derived from the fruit of the Malabar tamarind tree native to Southeastern Asia which is used as a food preservative and flavoring agent and has recently been used increasingly in herbal weight loss products. 
Garcinia cambogia
Garcinia cambogia

Mechanism of action of Garcinia cambogia

  • Garcinia cambogia is an herbal product derived from fruit of the Malabar tamarind tree (also called Garcinia gummi-gutta) which is native to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. 
  • The dried and smoked rind of the Garcinia cambogia fruit is commonly used as a food preservative and, because of its sharp, sour taste, as a flavoring agent and spice, especially in fish curries. 
  • The fruit rind has also been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat gastrointestinal complaints and rheumatism. 
  • More recently, Garcinia cambogia has been purported to be an appetite suppressant effective in inducing weight loss. 
  • Chemical components of Garcinia extracts include xanthones, benzophenones, amino acids and organic acids, most importantly hydroxycitric acid (HCA) the suspected ingredient responsible for its antiinflammatory and appetite suppressant activity.  Garcinia fruit is 10% to 30% HCA by weight, and extracts can contain between 20% and 60% of the tricarboxylic acid. 
Bark of Garcinia cambogia
Bark of Garcinia cambogia
  • HCA inhibits ATP citrate lyase an enzyme involved in fatty acid synthesis. 
  • Garcinia derivatives and HCA have been shown to cause appetite suppression and weight loss in rats, but the effects of these organic acids and Garcinia extracts have not been consistently found in human studies. 
  • Garcinia cambogia is a frequent component of over-the-counter multiingredient herbal products and has been advertised as a weight loss product.  Studies in rats and other animal models have suggested that Garcinia cambogia and HCA do not have significant toxicities, although testicular toxicity was found with high doses. 
  • In humans, Garcinia has been linked to rare reports of serotonin syndrome, rhabdomyolysis and hepatic toxicity, but the role of Garcinia as opposed to other components of the herbal products or mixtures typically used in humans has not been clearly defined.

Herbal and dietary supplements

Chinese and Other Asian Herbal Medicines

Multi-Ingredient Nutritional Supplements

See also Nutritional supplements
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