If you are trying to lose weight or simply interested in supplements that can help you live a healthier life, then you may have come across references to “Garcinia.” Promoted as an aid to weight loss, digestion, and as a serotonin-boosting preparation, “Garcinia” is sold in many different forms, including capsules, tablets, and powders that you can mix with water or juice for a refreshing drink.
Before buying “Garcinia” supplements, you need to know the variety of herbs that you’re purchasing.
While “Garcinia” can refer to several species, there are three principle herbs that are often sold under the same name. These are Garcinia indica or kokum fruit; Garcinia mangostana or purple mangosteen; and Garcinia cambogia or gambooge. All three are used for various culinary purposes and are native to Asia and parts of Africa. All three contain HCA (or hydroxycitric acid, to give it its full name).
HCA is touted as a “fat burner” and appetite suppressant, among other positive effects.
Garcinia cambogia is now one of the best known members of the garcinia family thanks to its promotion as a weight loss aid on various TV shows. But the close cousin, garcinia indica, might not have got the spotlight yet, but will surely impress you once you know more about it.
15 Interesting Facts and Benefits
Garcinia indica, the kokum fruit, is small and green when unripe but matures into a deep purple fruit when it’s ready to harvest. The thick outer rind is very rich in HCA, giving it a tart, tangy flavor. Kokum generally refers to the dried form of garcinia indica fruit. When thoroughly dried, kokum lasts for a long time and can be used in a number of different ways.
It has been used in the historic practice of Ayurvedic medicine, and considered to increase and prolong human life.
The genus garcinia includes about 200 species found in the Old World tropics, specifically in Asia and Africa.
Garcinia indica, a plant in the mangosteen family (Clusiaceae), commonly known as kokum, is a fruit-bearing tree that has culinary, pharmaceutical, and industrial uses.
3. Crop and Cultivation
The exotic fruit continues to grow within the mountain ranges of Western and Southern India and it is plentifully found heartily growing within these evergreen rich regions.
The fruit tree itself, is considered a “zero attention crop” and its popularity will continue to increase daily.
- The ripened kokum fruit has a sweet/sour taste with a wonderfully agreeable flavor.
- This small, round tropical fruit, is about two inches in diameter and is reddish-purple to grayish-blue and black in color.
- Often dried to flavor certain foods, it has amazing properties that go well beyond the normal culinary experience.
5. It has been long used in Asia as both spice and medicine.
6. The active ingredient found in the miraculous garcinia cambogia extract hydroxycitric acid, HCA, is also found in the cousin kokum. HCA has been linked with appetite suppression, supposedly from increased release or availability of serotonin in the brain.
7. Garcinia indica and cambogia are the only known source of HCA. For this reason it is known that kokum has been deemed to have weight loss capacities.
8. The berry is also rich in the life-enhancing antioxidant Xanthone, which is proven to battle depression, kill bacteria, and fight free radicals.
9. Researchers have found that those individuals producing low levels of serotonin in the brain have a greater chance of experiencing anxiety or depressed mood.
10. Kokum’s major active ingredient is garcinol, a substance that has antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It said to kill the H. pylori bacteria that cause ulcers, promote brain health by aiding the growth of neurons while stopping damage from substances that can oxidize them, and suppress production of reactive oxygen species, which play a role in cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Kokum is also used for the treatment of ear infections. Being anti-fungal, it is used to treat intestinal parasites. Kokum has an astringent quality and Ayurveda uses it to treat dysentery and gastro-intestinal disorders.
The fruit has an agreeable flavour and a sweet acidic taste. Kokum has been traditionally used as an acidulant. It is used in the Konkan region, chiefly in the form of kokum as a garnish to give an acidic flavour to curries.
It is also used in preparing cooling syrups, which are bright red in color, improve digestion, and cool the body during summers.
Often dried to flavor certain foods, it has amazing properties that go well beyond the normal culinary experience.
13. Kokum Butter
The kokum seed oil (fat) commonly called kokum butter is:
- Very famous in cosmetic industries.
- Kokum butter is suitable for use as a confectionery butter. It is gaining popularity in cooking and is rich in healthy fats like stearic and oleic acids.
- Kokum butter is considered nutritive, demulcent, astringent, and emollient. It is suitable for ointments, suppositories, and other pharmaceutical
14. “Garcinia” is sold in many different forms, such as capsules, tablets, and powders that you can mix with water or juice for a refreshing drink. Before buying “Garcinia” supplements, you need to know the variety of that you’re purchasing.
15. More and more human studies are being carried out to establish the benefits of HCA, its dosage, and side effects.
The kokum fruit over the years has convinced Indian people and now the entire world population of its various physical, mental, social, and spiritual attributes that help to bring continuous personal and individual harmony to all who enjoy its uses.
Around the world, kokum is quickly gaining a well-deserved reputation as an outstanding natural fruit that can help everything from appetite to indigestion. It can be cooked or eaten in a number of enjoyable ways. It is a classic fruit with health benefits for modern lifestyles.
As a locally well-known wonder fruit, kokum is just now making a wide and prolific presence in the West and around the world due to its historic reputation as an appetite suppressant and a weight loss agent.
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