Garcinia gummi-gutta (L.) Roxb.

Last updated: 12 May 2016

Scientific Name

Garcinia gummi-gutta (L.) Roxb.


Cambogia binucao Blanco, Cambogia gemmi-gutta L., Cambogia solitaria Stokes, Garcinia affinis Wight & Arn., Garcinia cambogia (Gaertn.) Desr., Garcinia sulcata Stokes [1]

Vernacular Name

English Biiter kola, brindali berries, brindall berry, brindle berry, gamboge, garcinia kola, kokum butter oil tree, malabar tamarind, mangosteen oil tree, red mango [2]
China Guan mu [2]
India Bilatti-Amli, goraka, velaiti imli (Hindu); aesali, aesalu huli, aradaalada mara, aradal, aradala, aradalada, aradalaupagi, arasina pilige, arasinapulige, ardala, esali, esalpuli, heela, hile, kadagolu, karkapuli, karkpuli, mandu huli, manthey huli, manthuli, mantuli, munthe huli, muragi, ontepuli, opagi mara, otekayi, punarpuli, seeme hunise, seeme kamboge,cikiri, cimaikkorukkappuli, cimaikkorukkapulimaram, cimaikorukkayppuli, goruka, illapuli, kapavatamariyan, kattimutantam, kattimutantamaran, kodakkapuli, kodukkappuli, korukka, korukkaip-puli, korukkaippuli, korukkay, kotakan, namalomalam, punapuli, takattaippokki, simacinta, vaadachinta, vadachinte, vadacinte [2]
Thailand Som khaek [2]
Thaiwan Teng huang guo [2]
Vietnam Co duoi luron [2]
Sri lanka Goraka, heen goraka, kana goraka, rathu goraka [2]
Japan Garushina kambogia [2]
France Gamboge, gomme-gutte, mangoustanier du cambodge, tamarinier de malbar [2]
German Gummigutt, gummiguttbaum, gummitaz [2]
Italy Gomma gutta, gummi-gutta [2]
Netherland Geelhars, guttegom [2]
Denmark Gummiharpiks, gummiguttrae [2]
Norweign Makabartamarind [2]
Spain Guta, gamba,tamarindo malaba [2], gartsiinia kamodzhiiskaia [2]
Rusia Gartsinia, gartsinia kambodxha [2].

Geographical Distributions

Garcinia gummi-gutta is distributed in Sri Lanka and southern India.[2]

Botanical Description

G. gummi-gutta is a member of clusiaceae. The height is 5-20 m tall with lactiferous bark, dark smooth and horizontal branches. [2]

The leaves are about 1-13 long and 2-8 cm wide. Petiolate coriaceous and glossy dark green. [2]

The flowers are either androecious or bisexual species. [2]

The fruit is fleshy, globose, sub-globose to ooid berry, green turning yellow, orangey or reddish when ripe. [2]

The seed is smooth, pale brown, oval, 12 mm long, surrounded by a succulent reddish or whitish succulent aril. [2]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

G. gummi-gutta has been reported to contain (-)-hydroxycitric acid. [3]

Plant Part Used

Fruit [2]

Traditional Use

It is believed that a decoction of the fruit rind is used to cure bowel complaints and rheumatism. [2] The fruit is used to treat bilious disorders. Leaves, fruits and seed oil useful in ulcers, bleeding piles, diarrhoea, indigestion, dropsy and worms. [4]

Preclinical Data


Weight loss

The appetite-suppressant mechanism of G. gummi-gutta is thought to be due in part to the production of glycogen in the liver and small intestine. [5] The conversion of carbohydrates to fat requires the enzyme, adenosine triphosphate citrate lyase. G. gummi-gutta temporarily inhibits this enzyme. [6] At the same time, the liver produces more glycogen and this sends a satiety signal to the brain. Obese individuals have less glycogen storage and more triglyceride storage than thin individuals. The storage mechanism for glycogen in the peripheral muscle tissue is thought to be defective in obese and patients with Type 2 diabetes. Studies have reported that individuals using G. gummi-gutta, combined with niacin-bound chromium and a reduction in dietary fats, had three times the weight loss of those on diet alone. [7]

Obesity is often seen in individuals with diets high in refined foods and saturated fat. In one study, the acute and chronic effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA) on energy metabolism was studied in laboratory animals. [8] The results suggested that chronic administration of HCA may promote lipid oxidation and spare carbohydrate utilization at rest and during physical activity. A double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel group study in 89 mildly overweight female subjects tested the effectiveness of HCA in weight loss. [9] Forty-two participants ingested 400-mg caplets of Garcinia 30-60 min prior to meals for a total dose of 2.4 g/day (equivalent to 1.2 g/day of HCA), with forty-seven participants ingesting placebos. The HCA treatment group did not exhibit better dietary compliance, significant appetite changes, an increase in energy intake or weight change. Another recent study reported no benefits in the management of obesity in human subjects when given 1500 mg Garcinia per day. [10]

However, other authors have commented on this clinical study reported by Heymsfield, et al in 1998, reporting that many factors may have caused the human clinical trial to report results that did not support the use of HCA in weight loss. One report states that for HCA to effectively inhibit fat formation and body weight, it needs to be administered with a simple carbohydrate-rich (lipogenic) diet. [11] Some laboratory and clinical studies report hydroxycitric acid has antilipolytic and antiadipogenic effects. [12] A clinical study did not find any sex hormonal activity when using Garcinia. [13] The use of a high-fiber diet in combination with HCA may reduce gastrointestinal absorption of HCA, since high-fiber diets may reduce absorption of many nutrients and micronutrients. This pharmacological issue is important due to the inhibition of the intracellular enzyme adenosine triphosphate (ATP)–citrate-lyase depending entirely on the presence of HCA inside the target cell. The conversion of citrate to acetyl-CoA by ATP–citrate-lyase occurs only when the rate of glycolysis exceeds the energy requirements of the body, and the low-energy diet used in the human study may have negated the utility of HCA. [14] Also, the dose of HCA used in the study was low compared with that used in earlier successful animal trials, and bioavailability may have been reduced. [15] Excessive levels of calcium (used to stabilize the HCA molecule), high levels of naturally occurring pectin, and low solubility in water are factors that can also reduce bioavailability – and there are products on the market which do not meet specifications necessary for proper bioavailability of HCA. [16] A compound complex with calcium and potassium is nearly 100% soluble and creates a pH level that is favourable for maximum gastrointestinal absorption. A soluble Garcinia powder and liquid extract containing a lactone form of HCA was compared with a calcium-type Garcinia powder administered in food to rats, and the liquid extract was proven more effective. [16] Continued research needs to be performed to determine if the use of HCA is warranted in weight loss protocols.


No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


Case Report

There have been several case reports of hepatotoxicity when using proprietary supplements for weight loss that contain G. gummi-gutta. [17][18]However, some of the supplements that contributed to hepatotoxicity did not contain hydroxycitric acid, the constituent found in G. gummi-gutta. Proprietary weight loss formulations can contain up to 20 different ingredients. Until further research is performed, it is not recommended to use Garcinia supplements in individuals with pre-existing liver disease or at risk for liver disease with extreme caution. [19]

There was a case report of an 18 year old Caucasian male admitted to an emergency room with acute rhabdomyolysis (serum creatinine kinase was 13,220 IU/L). The patient had been taking Hydroxycut, a formulation containing hydroxycitric acid from G. gummi-gutta. The patient was also on multiple prescription medications. When Hydroxycut was discontinued along with hydration and decreased exercise, his CK and liver enzymes returned to normal after 2 weeks. [20]


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Garcinia gummi-gutta (L) Roxb. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 June 14]. Available from:
  2. Lim TK. Edible medicinal and non-medicinal plants. Volume 2, fruits. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2012; p. 45-53.
  3. Sullivan AC, Hamilton JG, Miller ON, Wheatley VR. Inhibition of lipogenesis in rat liver by (-)-hydroxycitrate. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1972;150(1):183-190.
  4. Quattrocchi UFLS. CRC World dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology (5 Volume set). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 1801.
  5. Metabolic regulation as a control for lipid disorders. I. Influence of (--)-hydroxycitrate on experimentally induced obesity in the rodent. Am J Clin Nutr. 1977 May;30(5):767-776.
  6. Mc Garry JD, Foster DW. In support of the roles of malonyl-Coa and carnitine acyltransferase I in the regulation of hepatic fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis. J Biol Chem. 1979;254:8163-8168.
  7. McCarty MF. Inhibition of citrate lyase may aid aerobic endurance. Med Hypotheses. 1995;45(3):247-254.
  8. Ishihara K, Oyaizu S, Onuki K, et al. Chronic (-)-hydroxycitrate administration spares carbohydrate utilization and promotes lipid oxidation during exercise in mice. J Nutr. 2000;130(12):2990-2995.
  9. Mattes RD, Bormann L. Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables. Physiol Behav. 2000;71(1-2):87-94.
  10. Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, Vasselli JR, Pietrobelli A, Greenfield D, Nunez C. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential anti-obesity agent: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1998;280(18):1596-1600.
  11. Badmaev V, Majeed M, Conte AA. Garcinia cambogia for weight loss. JAMA. 1999;282(3):233-234.
  12. Roy S, Shah H, Rink C, et al. Transcriptome of primary adipocytes from obese women in response to a novel hydroxycitric acid-based dietary supplement. DNA Cell Biol. 2007;26(9):627-639.
  13. Hayamizu K, Tomi H, Kaneko I, Shen M, Soni MG, Yoshino G. Effects of Garcinia cambogia extract on serum sex hormones in overweight subjects. Fitoterapia. 2008;79(4):255-261.
  14. Schaller JL. Garcinia cambogia for Weight Loss. JAMA. 1999;282(3):234.
  15. Sullivan AC, Triscari J, Hamilton JG, et al. Effect of (-)-hydroxycitrate upon the accumulation of lipid in the rat, I: Lipogenesis. Lipids. 1974;9:121-128.
  16. Sawada H, Tomi H, Tamura K, et al. Effects of liquid garcinia extract and soluble garcinia powder on body weight change: A possible material for suppressing fat accumulation. Nihon Yukagaku Kaishi. 1997;46:1467-1474.
  17. Lobb A. Hepatoxicity associated with weight-loss supplements: A case for better post-marketing surveillance. World J Gastroenterol. 2009;15(14):1786-1787.
  18. Shim M, Saab S. Severe hepatotoxicity due to hydroxycut: A case report. Dig Dis Sci. 2009; 54(2):406-408.
  19. Stohs SJ, Preuss HG, Ohia SE, et al. No evidence demonstrating hepatotoxicity associated with hydroxycitric acid. World J Gastroenterol. 2009;15(32):4087-4089.
  20. Dehoney S, Wellein M. Rhabdomyolysis associated with the nutritional supplement Hydroxycut. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2009;66(2):142-148.