Garcinia cambogia is a diminutive purple flowering plant that has been used historically in India for treatment of edema, delayed menstruation, constipation, and intestinal parasites. The plant is known by several names, such as Garcinia kola, bitter kola, and Malabar tamarind. It is native to Southeast Asia and the Western and Central regions of Africa. In the United States, this herb is used as a component of weight loss formula drugs.

Various species of South Asian plants of the genus Garcinia, particularly Garcinia cambogia, have high contents of hydroxycitrate or HCA. These compounds are said to be active ingredients that contribute to weight loss. However, in all published scientific literature, no controlled study has yet to show the weight loss of effect of Garcinia cambogia in humans.

Medical Lore

When the fruit of the Garcinia cambogia is decocted, it could be given as treatment for rheumatism and bowel complaints. Extracts made from decoction of the fruit and rind are used in many traditional recipes. It is said to contain an organic acid, known as (-) HCA which is the primary acid found in the fruit and rind of garcinia.

In the Ayuverdic system of medicine popularly practiced in India, some flavors are said to activate digestion. For this reason, plants possessing these flavors are used as purgatives in the treatment of worms and parasites, tumors, and dysentery. Neither acute nor chronic toxicity is reported with regular consumption of Garcinia cambogia products as either food or tonics. In the coastal areas of South Asia, such products have been used routinely for centuries and they continue to be consumed in large amounts.

Its Constituents

There are many substances found in Garcinia cambogia that are said to be very beneficial to human health. The most important of these substances is citric acid. Garcinia cambogia has been reported to have around 20 per cent to 30 per cent of hydroxyl citric acid lactone along with tracer amount of citric acid. These compounds commonly known as HCA inhibit lipogenesis and lower the production of cholesterol and fatty acids. HCA can also increase the production of glycogen in the liver, and suppress appetite.

In addition, HCA in Garcinia cambogia promotes thermogenesis. By activating thermogenesis, the body’s production of heat is increased. For these reasons, Garcinia cambogia exhibits potential as a supplement for weight loss and appetite control.

Its role against the Ebola Virus

” A plant has been found to halt the deadly Ebola virus in its tracks in the laboratory tests,” scientists said. The discovery was announced at the 16th International Botanical Congress in St Louis in the United States. Apparently, a compound in the plant Garcinia kola, a cousin of Garcinia cambogia, has been discovered to exhibit potential in treating the symptoms of Ebola infection.

The plant, commonly eaten in West Africa, has been tested on animals to examine its effects on the deadly virus. If the anti-Ebola compound from Garcinia kola proves successful in animal and human trials, it will be the first medicine to successfully treat the virus that causes Ebola haemorrhagic fever– an often fatal condition.

The active compound is what is known as a dimeric flavonoid which is comprised of two flavonoids fused together. Flavonoids are non-toxic and they are common in orange and lemon rinds, as well as colorings of other plants.