Garcinia, Garcinia Combogia

Garcinia cambogia Clusiaceae Also called Malabar tamarind

Native to South-east Asia and India) garcinia is a tropical shrub with glossy dark green leaves. It bears yellow, pumpkin-shaped fruits the size if an orange. The fruits are used in Thai and Indian cooking to impart a distinctive sour flavour,similar to tamarind.

Parts used

  • Fruit including rind
  • The fruits are split in half and the seeds removed.
  • The halves are dried and used to make dry extracts, drinks, chewing gum and tablets.
  • Garcinia is also used in products for external use such as creams, ointments and lotions.


Up to 50 per cent of the dry extract is made up of a fruit acid called hydroxycitric acid. This is the plant's main active ingredient, which is thought to help to control the formation of fat in the body. The fruit also contains other fruit acids that have antioxidant properties.

Medicinal uses

Garcinia has been used as a dietary aid for thousands of years in South-east Asia, where it has long been valued as an appetite suppressant. This attribute seems to be due to the substance hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Researchers think that HCA somehow affects the absorption and synthesis of fats, so forcing the body to burn its own reserves.

In 2000 Japanese scientists found that hydroxycitric acid extracted from the rind of garcinia promoted lipid oxidation during exercise in mice. However, clinical trials have not supported its benefits in the treatment of obesity in humans. An American study published in the Journal of Physiological Behaviour in 2000 found that HCA failed to suppress the appetite. Another clinical study performed in New York in 1998 revealed that taking garcinia supplements produced neither significant weight loss nor loss of body fat.

Garcinia is reputed to benefit diabetics by regulating blood sugar levels, and to moderate blood cholesterol. Like all fruit acids, the hydroxycitric acid in garcinia can be used to treat wrinkles and acne.


  • No side effects or toxicity have been reported to date.
  • Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Do not give to children.


For internal use

TO TREAT cases of mild obesity CAPSULES (400mg dry extract) Take 1 capsule with a glass of water 30-60 minutes before main meals, three times a day. For external use
TO TREAT wrinkles, acne CREAM, LOTION (containing 1-20% hydroxycitric acid) Apply once or twice a day.


Garcinia is grown from seed, but can be bought ready-grown. A tropical plant, it needs damp warmth and thrives in a heated greenhouse.



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