Garcinia cambogia is a small, sweet, exotic fruit native to South India and Southeast Asia has garnered a lot of attention of late as a popular natural weight loss aid. People have long used the dried Garcinia rinds for chutneys or curries, and sometimes as an aid for stomach problems. But in the late 1960s, scientists identified a substance in the rind of the fruit called hydroxycitric acid, or HCA, which has made it a revolutionary supplement, currently a rage in America, Japan, Europe, and other western countries – ever since it aired on the Dr Oz show in late 2012. Its active ingredient, a derivative of citric acid, called hydrocytric acid or HCA, hinders the work of citrate lyase in the body. Citrate lyase is the enzyme responsible for changing carbohydrates into fatty acids. By halting the carbohydrate conversion process, HCA blocks fat and produces weight loss.
HCA has also been found to be a serotonin booster – this brain chemical regulates mood, appetite and sleep. Elevated levels tend to curb hunger and eliminate food cravings. By lifting depression, serotonin reduces the emotional eating that leads to overweight. But what does Ayurveda say about this fruit?
Garcinia indica also known as Garcinia cambogia (“vrikshamla” in Sanskrit) is mentioned in the ayurvedic “nighantu”-s (or glossaries) as a vata and kapha dosha pacifying dravya or food ingredient. It is known to enhance absorption due to its thermogenic potency; to sharpen the taste buds, clearing away ama or toxic build-up in the oral cavity; and to make the body lighter because it carries the following 3 rasa-s or tastes: amla (sour), katu (pungent) and kashai (astringent). These 3 rasa-s enhance metabolism in general. More specifically, the amla rasa or sour taste also enhances and supports protein metabolism because it enhances agni in the mamsa dhatu or muscle tissue. In addition, the 3 rasa-s together help clear and unclog the channels too.
Garcinia’s first property is “amla” or sour, and we know that the sour taste is “agneya” or thermogenic. Due to this property, it pacifies kapha in all the 7 “dhatu”-s or tissues. But it also pacifies thirst because it pacifies vata in the stomach, samana vata, as well as in the chest or udana vata. In general, it is a wonderful fruit that balances the entire stomach and all the dosha-s in the stomach, enhancing coordination amongst them all: samana vata, pachak pitta, adn kledak kapha – the 3 principles which support digestion: a) movement of space and air in the stomach; b) enzymatic levels; c) lubrication levels. When the stomach dosha-s are balanced, so many aspects of overall health also follow suit.
But yet another great attribute of this fruit is that it helps produce ama free rasa dhatu, or the very first dhatu or tissue that gets formed after we eat. In general, many health imbalances arise from just this, that an individual makes ama or toxins from the food they ingest. Rasa dhatu is the foundation for all the dhatus, and if it is free of toxins and balanced, all the other tissues that get built on this foundational dhatu or tissue will also be more balanced. In this sense, Garcinia or “vrikshamla” is a very balanced and balancing fruit with unique properties that optimize the healing processes in the body. But modern research has been most interested nowadays in its weight loss properties primarily.
Making ama free rasa dhatu helps to make ama or toxin free rakta or blood. However, pacifying kapha for all the 7 tissues does not only balance the medha dhatu or fat tissue, but it supports total health. Ayurveda reminds us that for total health we need to consume food ingredients that balance all the dosha-s or tissues, “samadoshaha,” and enhance metabolism overall in the body (cellular and more) in a balanced way, in Sanskrit “samagnischa.” Garcinia carries these 2 highly desirable properties already. It is because of these that it helps clean the fat tissue and can result in weight loss. It is because it is good for overall total metabolism and a toxin free body that it can help individuals who are trying to detox their fat tissue. And there is an added bonus here as well, because when Garcinia supports the fat tissue, it is also supporting the bone tissue since good fat is food for the bone tissue.
Benefits of Garcinia cambogia as per morden science
- Garcinia is a wonderful herb to use for obesity. Obesity in today’s world is a medical condition occurring due to different reasons. It’s a vicious cycle in which the patients gets obese due to restricted physical activity and in return get further obese.
- The obese ad fat people are more prone to cardiovascular diseases such as high cholesterol and atherosclerosis.
- Garcinia acts by suppressing appetite and is therefore a great weight-loss supplement.
- Garcinia cambogia is an effective anti-obesity herb that supports and aids the weight loss efforts.
- Garcinia suppresses craving for especially fatty food and rich fatty food.
- It is a fat burning agent.
- Garcinia cambogia inhibits the synthesis of fats and lipids. This ways it decreases the formation of LDL cholesterol along with triglycerides.
- It is rich in vitamin C and is a wonderful herb for heart.
- Powerful anti-oxidant.
- It is an excellent herbal weight loss supplement.
Dr Nirav Joshi, Ayurvedacharya