Other Common Names of Garcinia Cambogia: Brindle berry, brindall berry, garcinia, malabar tamarind, hydroxycitric acid (HCA), citrin, gambooge, gorikapuli, uppagi, garcinia kola, mangosteen oil tree.
Habitat: India and South East Asia.
Description:Garcinia cambogia is a flowering evergreen tree, with drooping branches. The fruit is yellow, oval in shape and resembles small pumpkins. Garcinia is part of the same family as mangosteens; the fruit is harvested, dried and ground into a powder.
Plant Parts Used: Fruit rind.
Therapeutic Uses, Benefits and Claims of Garcinia Cambogia
* Garcinia cambogia, with its distinctly sour sweet taste, has been used for centuries in South East Asia to make meals more filling. * 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.
The mechanism for garcinia’s weight loss ability is still being understood; but is believed to be through inhibiting the body’s ability to convert carbohydrates to fats. This leads to an increase in glycogen in the liver, which sends a message to the brain indicating satiety, and in turn reduces appetite.
In recent years studies are focusing on the most effective form of HCA to take for maximum therapeutic benefit. What is significant is that a recent Japanese study, using an animal model, indicated that during exercise the regular use of HCA promotes fat burning and spares carbohydrate utilization at rest and during exercise. Giving garcinia an indication for endurance exercise. * 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.
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.
Supplements are available in various forms including tablets, capsules, powders, extracts and even snack bars. Garcinia cambogia medications are usually standardised to contain fixed percentage of HCA. The usual dosage for garcinia is 300 to 500mg tablets three times daily taken half an hour before meals with water.
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