Garcinia gummi-gutta is a tropicalspecies of Garcinia native to Indonesia. Common names include garcinia cambogia (a former scientific name), as well as gambooge, brindleberry,brindall berry, Malabar tamarind,assam fruit, vadakkan puli (northern tamarind) and kudam puli (pot tamarind). This fruit looks like a small pumpkin and is green to pale yellow in color. It has recently received considerable media attention because of its purported effects on weight loss, although there is no clinical evidence to support this claim.


Garcinia gummi-gutta is one of several closely related Garcinia species from the plant family Guttiferae. 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).


Garcinia gummi-gutta is used in cooking, including in the preparation of curries. The fruit rind and extracts of Garcinia species are called for in many traditional recipes, and various species of Garcinia are used similarly in food preparation in Assam (India), Thailand, Malaysia, Burma and other Southeast Asian countries. In the Indian Ayurvedic medicine, "sour" flavors are said to activate digestion. The extract and rind of Garcinia gummi-gutta is a curry condiment in India. It is an essential souring ingredient in the Southern Thai variant of kaeng som, a sour curry.

Garcinia gummi-gutta is employed commercially in fish curing, especially in Sri Lanka (Colombo curing) and South India, which makes use of the antibacterial qualities of the fruit.

The trees can be found in forested areas and also are protected in plantations otherwise given over to pepper, spice, and coffee production.

Traditional medicine

Aside from its use in food preparation and preservation, extracts of G. gummi-gutta are sometimes used in traditional medicine as purgatives. The fruit rind is also used to make medicine.

Weight loss

In late 2012, a United States television personality, Dr. Oz, promoted Garcinia cambogia extract as a "magic" weight-loss aid. Dr. Oz's previous endorsements have often led to a substantial increase in consumer interest in the promoted products. However, clinical trials do not support claims that Garcinia cambogia is an effective weight-loss aid. A meta-analysis found a possible small, short-term weight loss effect (under 1 kilogram). However, side effects—namely hepatotoxicity—led to one preparation being withdrawn from the market.

A 1998 randomized controlled trial looked at the effects of hydroxycitric acid, the purported active component in Garcinia gummi-gutta, as a potential antiobesity agent in 135 people. The conclusion from this trial was that "Garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo".

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