Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Garcinia gummi-gutta

Botanical Name: Garcinia gummi-gutta
Family: Clusiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Garcinia
Species:G. gummi-gutta

*Cambogia binucao Blanco
*Cambogia gemmi-gutta L.
*Cambogia solitaria Stokes
*Garcinia affinis Wight & Arn.
*Garcinia cambogia (Gaertn.) Desr.
*Garcinia sulcata Stoke

Common Names:Camboge, Garcinia cambogia (a former scientific name), as well as brindleberry, Malabar tamarind, and Kudam puli (pot tamarind)

Habitat:Garcinia gummi-gutta is a tropical species of Garcinia native to Indonesia. It is grown for its fruit in Southeast Asia, coastal Karnataka/Kerala, India, and west and central Africa. It thrives in most moist forests.

Garcinia gummi-gutta is one of several closely related Garcinia species from the plant family Clusiaceae. With thin skin and deep vertical lobes, the fruit of G. gummi-gutta and related species range from about the size of an orange to that of a grapefruit; G. gummi-gutta looks more like a small yellowish, greenish, or sometimes reddish pumpkin. The color can vary considerably. When the rinds are dried and cured in preparation for storage and extraction, they are dark brown or black in color.

Along the west coast of South India, G. gummi-gutta is popularly termed “Malabar tamarind”, and shares culinary uses with the tamarind (Tamarindus indica). The latter is a small and the former a quite large evergreen tree. G. gummi-gutta is also called goraka or, in some areas, simply kattcha puli (souring fruit). It is called uppage in Kannada language and fruits are collected and dried for selling to dealers in Sirsi, Karnataka.

The tree is also cultivated outside its native range, especially in China, Malaysia and the Philippines. The fruit rind is traded in large quantities.

Camboge is an evergreen tree with a rounded crown growing 5 – 20 metres tall. The bole can be around 70cm in diameter. Leaves are simple, opposite, decussate; petiole 5-1.6 cm long, planoconvex or shallowly canaliculate above, slightly sheathing at base; lamina 5-13 x 2-6 cm; variable in shape from narrow elliptic, oblanceolate to obovate, apex usually acute, sometimes obtuse, base cuneate to attenuate, coriaceous or subcoriaceous; secondary nerves not prominent on both sides; tertiary nerves obscure.

Flowers polygamous, in axillary or terminal clusters; calyx cream; petals pink.

Fruit and Seed :Berry, globose, 6-8 grooved, to 5 cm in diameter; many seeded

The plant is harvested from the wild for its edible fruit and gum-resin, that has medicinal and various other uses.


A plant of hot, wet, tropical climates. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range 15 – 30°c and the mean annual rainfall is 1,500 – 4,000mm. Succeeds in both dry or occasionally inundated soils. Seed-grown plants start bearing after 10-12 years whereas grafts from the third year onwards and will attain the stage of full bearing at the age of 12-15 years. There are also reports of off-season bearers, bearing twice annually.
The orange yellow mature fruits either drop from the tree or are harvested manually. The rind is separated for processing immediately after harvest.
G. Gummi-gatta flowers in the dry season. It appears to be pollinated by wind, bees and small weevils of the genus Deleromus (Curculionidae).

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe, though viability can be maintained for 1 – 2 months in moist storage at 20°c. We have no specific information on this species, but the seed of most members of the genus can be slow to germinate, even if sown fresh, often taking 6 months or more.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. A very sour flavour. Used in curries. The fruit is a green, ovoid berry, turning yellow or red when fully ripe, around 5cm in diameter. The rinds of the ripe fruits are processed and used as a condiment to impart flavour and taste and to improve keeping qualit. The dried seeds yield a protein and fat-rich butter, popularly known as ‘uppage tuppa’. The fruit juice or syrup is used as a coolant and helps to reduce body fat.

Although few high-quality studies have been done to define the composition of the fruit, its phytochemical content includes hydroxycitric acid which is extractable and developed as a dietary supplement. Other compounds identified in the fruit include the polyphenols, luteolin, and kaempferol

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction made from the plant (part not specified) is used in the treatment of rheumatism and bowel complaints. An extract obtained from the mature fruit rind, Hydroxy Citric Acid, is used as a treatment against obesity.

Other Uses:
Agroforestry Uses:
The tree provides good shade for shade-loving crops such as ginger, or it can be grown in association with other field crops, including medicinal plants.
The tree can also be grown as a perennial intercrop with coconut and areca nut. The tree is sometimes grown as an ornamental.

Gamboge, a gum-resin obtained from the plant, is used as a yellow dye, as an illuminant and in varnishes, water colours etc. The wood is used in construction and furniture making.

Known Hazards:
Adverse effects:
Hydroxycitric acid can cause dry mouth, nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, and headaches.

Drug interactions:
There is potential for Garcinia cambogia to interfere with prescription medications, including those used to treat people with diabetes, asthma, and clotting disorders.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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