Garcinia gummi-gutta is a tropical species of Garcinia native to Indonesia. Common names include garcinia cambogia (a former scientific name), as well as brindleberry, Malabar tamarind, and kudam puli (pot tamarind). This fruit looks like a small pumpkin and is green to pale yellow in color.
Although it has received considerable media attention purporting its effects on weight loss, no clinical evidence supports this claim.
Garcinia gummi-gutta is grown for its fruit in Southeast Asia, coastal Karnataka/Kerala, India, and west and central Africa. It thrives in most moist forests.
G. 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.
In late 2012, a United States television personality, Dr. Oz, promoted garcinia cambogia extract as “an exciting breakthrough in natural weight loss” Dr. Oz’s previous endorsements have often led to a substantial increase in consumer interest in the promoted products. Scientific evidence is lacking and clinical trials do not support claims that garcinia cambogia is an effective weight-loss aid. A meta-analysis of several clinical trials found no compelling evidence for short-term weight loss. Further, side effects — namely hepatotoxicity (chemical-driven liver damage) — led to one preparation being withdrawn from the market.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 G. 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.