Garcinia cambogia

Common Names - Gambooge, Brindleberry, Brindall berry or Malabar tamarind

Description - Garcinia is a fruit from one of a family of many handsome, tropical evergreen trees and shrubs called mangosteens that are native to India and southeastern Asia, Southern Africa, and Polynesia. The tree bears deep green, glossy, elliptical leaves and produces small, reddish or yellowish, pumpkin-shaped fruits with a very sour taste, The genus, with between 50-300 species of evergreen trees and shrubs,is dioecious and several of its elements are apomictic. The yellowish fruit is pumpkin-shaped. The best known species is the Purple Mangosteen (G. mangostana), which is now cultivated throughout southeastern Asia and other tropical countries after recent introduction. Less well known is Kandis (G. forbesii) with small round red fruits with subacid taste and melting flesh. Tropical species in Garcinia are known for their brownish-yellow gum-resin xanthone), used as pigment, as purgative or cathartic. Extracts of the rind of certain species are reputed to be appetite suppressants. Fruit extracts from Garcinia kola have been claimed to be effective at stopping Ebola virus replication in laboratory tests.

Pharmacology - Several compounds have been isolated from certain species of Garcinia, including xanthones, xanthones derivatives, and (-)-hydroxycitric acid. (-)-Hydroxycitric acid is present in the pericarp of the fruit of Garcinia cambogia up to 30% by weight. Commercially available Garcinia cambogia extracts are prepared from the fruit rind and contain 50% (-)-hydroxycitric acid, which became through the extractraction process as (-)-calcium threo-hydroxycitrate tribasic hydrate salt. Garcinia Cambogia works in two ways

This latter mechanism is based on the theory that inhibition of lipid biosynthesis or enhance lipid metabolism interfere with mechanisms that produce and maintain obesity. It is uncertain how (-)-HCA reduces appetite. Possibilities include feedback controls tied to glycogen and glucose levels in the liver (glucose sensitive fibers have been found in the vagus nerve within the liver). In experiments with carbon-14-labeled (-)-HCA, C-14 was found in the brain and in the hypothalmus, the seat of appetite regulation. A mechanism of action in the hypothalmus has not yet been established. Studies show that (-)-HCA reduces fatty acid and cholesterol production in the liver by inhibiting the citrate cleavage enzyme (ATP: citrate oxalo-acelate lyase). This enzyme is required to cleave excess citrate into oxaloacetate and acetyl-CoA. Acetyl-CoA is the source of two carbon units required for fatty acid and cholesterol biosynthesis outside the mitochondria. (-)-HCA does not act inside the mitochondria, so normal energy production in the Krebs’, or citric acid, cycle is not interrupted. The decrease in carbon unit availability for cholesterol synthesis results in increased activity of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors. The increased LDL-receptor activity results in significant increases in the amount of LDL cholesterol that is bound to the cells and degraded, reducing the LDL in cholesterol.

Medicinal Uses - In Indian traditional medicine, this species was prescribed for . In the form of precoctio, it was also used for rheumatism and bowel complaints. The extract and rind of Garcinia cambogia is a curry condiment in India. Garcinia cambogia extract has been used traditionally in Indian medicine to treat edema, delayed menstruation, constipation, intestinal parasites, tumors, ulcers, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, and open sores!

Contra-indications - Garcinia cambogia extract is contraindicated in diabetic patients, subjects with Alzheimer’s syndrome or any other dementia syndromes, and in pregnant and lactating women.Garcinia cambogia may interfere with antiarrhythmics, nitrates, and calcium-channel blockers; antagonism of beta-adrenoreceptor blocking drugs; potentiation of cardiac glycosides; increased risk of hypokalemia; and risk of arrhythmia when combined with depolarizing muscle relaxants or terfenadine

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