What is Garcinia cambogia?
Pronounced 'gar-sin-eea kam-boh-jee-uh', Garcinia cambogia (which is the former scientific name of Garcinia gummi-gutta and now used as its common name) is a medium sized tree that grows in India, Southeast Asia and Africa and is farmed for the fruit it produces. The fruit was originally used in cooking as a flavourant in fish curries (due to the sharp and sour taste) and for the preservation of food.
Additional uses of Garcinia cambogia include traditional Indian medicine applications to aid in the treatment of digestive and bowel issues, rheumatism and intestinal parasites1.
This small fruit resembles a greenish coloured pumpkin in appearance and is widely advertised and used as a weight-loss supplement with a number of health experts commenting on the effects and success of Garcinia cambogia for weight loss, intestinal issues, rheumatism and other health disorders and conditions2 such as diabetes and inflammation. However, studies conducted to prove the widely marketed effects are somewhat limited in their findings in humans and the scale of the trials performed to date are relatively small, yielding questionable clinical relevance and therefore largely restricting the claims.
The organic active ingredient/compound in Garcinia cambogia known as hydroxycitric acid (HCA). It is found in the rind of the fruit and reportedly blocks the accumulation of fat, induces satiety (i.e. giving the feeling of fullness and therefore suppressing the appetite)2 and is the active agent responsible for the various health effects of Garcinia cambogia.
The rind of the fruit of Garcinia cambogia is powdered and made available in either tablet or powder form, it is also used in teas, lotions and various other extracts. The variety of health supplements available that contain Garcinia cambogia usually refer to the powdered ingredient as ‘Garcinia cambogia extract’ on the labelling.
Due to the supplement form of the fruit being classified as a natural dietary supplement, the drug is unregulated and not endorsed by a number of pharmaceutical and medical companies and institutions. In fact, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in America warns against the use of unregulated ‘natural’ products. Therefore, production and marketing of the product takes place without regulation or proof of the success of the health claims advertised.
The ingredients of natural supplements containing Garcinia also include a number of other active components that may aid in weight loss or offer various health benefits. Due to this fact, the research and dosage information are often inaccurate as the ingredients listed on the packaging of products is not always 100% truthful.
Regardless, celebrities and so-called ‘health experts’ alike have been quick to back the positive health uses of Garcinia cambogia or HCA with little regard of the adverse side effects of the fruit.
With the above in mind, we decided to explore the medical information and studies that have been conducted on Garcinia cambogia to provide objective findings on this so-called ‘miracle’ weight loss and health supplement.
In the information contained under the various section of this article as detailed in the navigation menu above, we will investigate the health claims of the fruit, as well as the possible side effects and drug interactions.
Other names for Garcinia
There are a number of different names that Garcinia (Garcinia cambogia is a species of the Garcinia plant) may be referred to as these include:
- Brindle berry
- Brindal berry
- Cambogia binucao
- Cambogia gemmi-guta
- Garcinia cambogia
- Garcinia affinis
- Kudam puli
- Malabar Tamarind
- Mangostana cambogia
- Tamarinier de Malabar
1. NCBI. 2015. A comprehensive scientific overview of Garcinia cambogia. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25732350 [Accessed 16.11.2017]
2. NIH. 2017. Garcinia cambogia. Available: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/garcinia [Accessed 14.11.2017]