Garcinia cambogia Health Benefits: for weight loss?

Garcinia fruit is usually yellow or greenish and looks like a small pumpkin

Garcinia fruit is usually yellow or greenish and looks like a small pumpkin

Although still called Garcinia cambogia (or just Garcinia) in the popular press, this old botanical name has been revised to Garcinia gummi-gutta, though you might still find it labelled as Garcinia cambogia, Cambogia gummi-gutta or Mangostana cambogia. So far as common names go, it is also known as brindleberry, gambooge fruit and Malabar tamarind.

Description

Garcinia is a tropical tree which reaches a height of 12m and is native to the Sri Lanka and the Western Ghats (West coast) of India. The fruit is yellow/green sometimes with a reddish tinge, about the size of an orange and pumpkin shaped.

Edible uses

In India and Southeast Asia, the rind and extracts of Garcinia are used in cooking, particularly in southern Thai kaeng som (fish curry). It is also used for curing fish in Sri Lanka and South India.

Medicinal uses

Garcinia rind was formerly used to treat gastric ulcers, diarrhea and dysentery. It was promoted by Dr Oz, a US celebrity doctor, as a weight loss supplement some years ago. It’s also used in Ayurveda as a digestive aid.

A compound found in the rind called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is believed to boost fat burning during exercise and reduce appetite by raising serotonin levels and blocking ATP citrate lyase, an enzyme involved in the production of fat. It is also believed to increase endurance in female athletes, but with no similar effect on men. It’s also used to lower cholesterol, manage stress and level out mood swings.

Research has found that the type of HCA used affects the result. Calcium hydroxycitrate on its own is mainly ineffective, but a mixture of calcium and potassium or magnesium HCA works well. You should always check that the supplement you are using contains either potassium or magnesium, and preferably a low lactone content.

Take about 1.5g three times a day, 30-60 minutes before a meal. If taken with food, the HCA can bind to some of the components in the food and become inactive.

Contra-indications and warnings

At least one supplement containing Garcinia has been withdrawn because of reported side effects including hepatotoxicity and gastrointestinal problems.

High doses may lead to nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, and headaches. Discontinue use if affected.

Consult your doctor before taking Garcinia if you are currently taking prescribed medication, particularly SSRIs, anti-depressants, dextromethorphan, pethidine, pentazocine or tramodol.

Do not use during pregnancy/breastfeeding, if you have existing liver or kidney damage, diabetes, dementia or are taking blood thinners such as warfarin.

Where to get it

I offer various Garcinia products in my online store.

Aromatherapy

Garcinia is not used in aromatherapy.

Final Notes

Unless you live in its native area or a similar climate, it’s unlikely you will want to grow Garcinia, but if you do decide to, remember that to ensure that any remedy to extract from it is safe, it is essential to follow organic growing techniques. To find out more about organic gardening visit the Gardenzone.


Rose Geranium health benefits: for PMS and mood swings

Not to be confused with the cultivar 'Graveolens'

Not to be confused with the cultivar ‘Graveolens’

Originally published on Herbal Medicine from Your Garden

Rose geranium, Pelargonium graveolens but possibly labeled as P. terebinthinaceum or Geranium terebinthinaceum, is also sometimes called old fashioned rose geranium or rose scent geranium. It should not be confused with the similarly named rose scented geranium (P. capitatum), though in the world of Pelargoniums, there is so much hybridization that finding a true species can sometimes be difficult.

For example, the species I’m covering here is P. graveolens, as already mentioned. However, as well as the species there is also a cultivar (cultivated variety): Pelargonium ‘Graveolens’ – also called rose geranium – which is believed to be a cross between the species P. capitatum, P. graveolens and P. radens. By the rules of nomenclature, such similar names would not be allowed, but unfortunately cultivar names seem to be a law unto themselves, which can make for confusion.

Rose geranium is closely related to the rose scented geranium and the apple geranium, and less closely to the spotted cranesbill (sometimes called wood geranium). It is not related to the rose.

Rose geranium is an evergreen shrub which reaches a height of 4 feet (120cm), although it is frost tender. It is not fussy as to soil, whether dry or moist, but will not grow in the shade. Gardeners in areas where winter is cold and frosty may prefer to grow it in pots which can be brought into a cool greenhouse, porch or conservatory for the winter so as to have leaves available for picking all year round. Like its close relative the rose scented geranium, it will fill the space where it is kept with fragrance, and the dried leaves are often used in pot pourri because of this fragrance. You can also use the leaves to flavor food, or for tea.

Although the species has a roselike scent, there are also cultivars with scents ranging from mint to citrus and even coconut and nutmeg!

Rose geranium is one of the few herbs which is safe to use in pregnancy – even in the form of essential oil. Do not use the essential oil to treat babies under a year old.

You can make a standard infusion using the whole plant or just the leaves. Use 3 handfuls of fresh leaves, chopped, or 30g (1 ounce) of dried to 570 ml (2.5 US cups, 1 UK pint) of boiling water. Allow to stand for between 15 minutes and 4 hours, then strain before use. The dose for internal use is up to 1 US cup (240 ml, 8 fl oz) per day, split into 3 doses.

The standard infusion can be used internally to treat PMS, nausea, poor circulation and also tonsillitis. It’s used externally for acne and eczema, parasites such as ringworm and lice, and for hemorrhoids (piles).

I offer a range of rose geranium products in my online shop.

As with all herbs grown for use in remedies, rose geranium must be grown organically to avoid its properties being changed or completely eliminated by the presence of foreign chemicals. To find out more about growing organic herbs visit the Gardenzone.

Aromatherapy

The essential oil is used topically in China to treat cervical cancer, though how it is applied is not clear. In aromatherapy, geranium oil is used to treat depression and mood swings.

As with all essential oils, rose geranium essential oil should never be taken internally, even though you may see this recommended elsewhere. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause permanent damage if used in this way, even if you think you have diluted them. Be safe and use them as intended, in massage blends and diffusers, and keep them out of the reach of children at all times.