Some natural herbal remedies are a true storehouse of medicinal benefits; this is the case of Garcinia indica – a fruit-bearing tree with a long history behind in Ayurvedic homeopathy, exhibiting a myriad of therapeutic qualities.
Scroll down and discover how many ways this exotic tree and its fruits can improve your health condition. You will find everything you need to know about a safe, inexpensive, and efficient remedy at hand!
Alternative Denomination and Spread
There is a long list of more common names for Garcinia indica; among others, it includes “Goa butter tree”, “Kokum butter tree”, “Mangosteen”, “Red Mango tree”, “kokambi”, “Murgina”, “Tintali”, or “Vrikshamia”. Being cultivated only on a small scale, it grows mostly in its natural habitats, namely evergreen forests, riversides, and wastelands. Its fruit is commonly known and commercialized as “kokum”. The tree is indigenous to the western Indian coast.
Its dense canopy of glossy deep-green leaves, together with the red-tinged young leaves can turn the sight of a Garcinia indica tree into a spectacular view. Large and particularly decorative, this tree has elliptic, oblong leaves of a maximum of 8cm long and fleshy, purple flowers growing individually or in clusters.
Garcinia indica is in bloom from November to February; after pollination, the flowers result in orange-sized fruits. The fruit is colored in a grayish shade of brown, marbled with yellow, and its juicy, white pulp – much appreciated for pleasant fragrance and flavor – encloses 6 to 8 seeds.
Edibility and Culinary Use
Dried and powdered, the rind of Garcinia indica fruits is valued as a slightly sweet and sour spice in traditional Indian recipes. Thanks to its peculiar taste and blackish-red color, it is a popular substitute for tamarind in curries, soups, and side dishes in south-western India. The dried rinds can also be boiled to obtain a delicious drink (called sherbet), which improves digestion and helps you to feel refreshed in the summertime, by preventing dehydration and fighting the unpleasant effects of sunstroke.
Garcinia indica fruits are rich in citric and hydroxycitric acid (HCA), acetic acid, and polyphenols. Found in higher concentrations in the fruit’s rind, these chemicals are truly beneficial if you want to stay healthy and fit. The citric acid enhances immunity, and HCA suppresses excessive appetite and blocks the production of fat deposits, while polyphenols (also found in the tree’s stem bark) team up for a strong antibacterial activity.
Other physiologically-active compounds of which Garcinia indica displays relatively high doses include malic and oxalic acid, anthocyanin, pigments, xanthones ascorbic acid, and what appears to be the wonder-chemical of this plant: garcinol. Recent studies conducted on garcinol showed that it has a powerful antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-HIV, and anti-ulcer activity.
Thanks to its high garcinol concentration, Garcinia indica displays antioxidant qualities, by balancing potentially harmful free radicals and preventing oxidative damage to your body cells. This enhances the functioning of your immune system, slows down aging processes, and considerably increases longevity. Garcinol also promotes cell regeneration and repair, increasing the speed of healing processes.
Garcinia indica fruit is the main ingredient for making the so-called “kokum butter”, much appreciated in the cosmetic industry for its emollient and nutritive action. Fresh fruit slices can be applied directly to the skin to treat ailments such as rashes and burns since their pulp has famous healing and soothing properties.
Kokum paste is used for treating superficial wounds and other skin problems, while other Garcinia indica derived products and extracts have astringent, rejuvenating, cooling, and tonic action. Kokum butter tends to replace the more popular cocoa butter in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry since it works wonders on any skin type, be it dry, chapped, sensitive, irritated, or burnt. Additionally, it is a more efficient moisturizer.
Digestion Problems and Weight-Loss
Extracts made from Garcinia indica fruit have a long tradition of medicinal use in relieving problems of the gastrointestinal tract, such as acidity, constipation, indigestion, and flatulence. Infusions of this plant are also used to treat piles, dysentery, and other digestive infections.
When powdered, Garcinia indica fruit prevents dehydration and the loss of essential nutrients, while when fresh the fruit can be mixed with sugar or honey to obtain a cool and refreshing tonic juice. The HCA present in this fruit decreases harmful cholesterol levels and blocks lipogenesis (the production of fat), thus being an important weight-loss aid.
Other Medicinal Uses and Benefits
The medicinal properties of Garcinia indica fruit do not stop here. It is important to mention that derived supplements have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal action and that herbalists recommend them in dealing with severe conditions such as breast cancer, leukemia, and liver cancer. Garcinol’s anti-carcinogenic properties prevent the proliferation of cancerous cells. Another important benefit of this fruit is that enhances the overall functioning of the liver, brings down fever and allergic reactions, and has strong indications for strengthening the cardiovascular system.
Cautions and Recommendations
Good news: there have been no reported hazards in using Garcinia indica derived extract and supplements in healthy adult patients. However, this does not mean that any remedy is completely safe – we advise you to seek qualified medical advice previous to administering such products and to follow carefully the instructions on product labels.
Also, you may want to avoid using such supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding, since there is insufficient scientific evidence concerning their 100% safety. If following other medications at the same time, make sure there will be no harmful interactions with your treatment. No matter what you are using Garcinia indica for, make sure you keep it safe!