The genus Garcinia also known as Kokum is native to African and Asian countries. However, Garcinia indica, as the name suggests, was discovered in India. This plant is well-known for its beneficial health effects along with culinary, cultural, industrial, and numerous therapeutic effects. The plant is found on riversides, forestlands and wastelands.They can also be found in regions with comparatively low rainfall. It is cultivated only in small scale.
The fruit and other parts of the plant have chemical constituents that provide various health benefits and have been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat different diseases for many years.
What is Garcinia indica?
Garcinia indica, commonly known as ‘kokum,’ is native to India, and is mainly found in the Western Ghats. It is a medium-sized, fast-growing tree that bears small, red fruits. These fruits have an outer covering that is usually removed after drying in the sun, and the remaining portion is ground to obtain a sour juice. The fruit, as well as its juice, is consumed for several health benefits.
Garcinia indica contains garcinol, hydroxy citric acid (HCA), and other antioxidants, that add medicinal and industrial value to the fruit. It is of great importance in Ayurvedic medicine, where the fruit is used to make various poultices, extracts, salves, and decoctions.
Garnicia Indica Benefits:
There are several applications of kokum in various industries.The following are the parts of the plant Garcinia indica that are used as home remedy for various conditions:
- The fruit: Helps in treating many health conditions such as indigestion, dysentery, diarrhea, piles, obesity, parasitic infection, asthma, cancer, inflammatory conditions, and others.
- The rind (outer covering): It is beneficial in managing conditions like acidity, dysentery, diarrhea, piles, ulcers, colic, pain, inflammation, dermatitis, and excess sweating.
- The leaves: They are used to treat conditions like acidity, dysentery, diarrhea, piles, colic, hyperplasia, and conditions in which the tissues get contracted.
- Kokum butter: It is used to heal wounds, reduce irritation or inflammation and provide a soothing effect.
What are the medicinal properties of Garcinia indica?
Garcinia has several bioactive compounds that possess different medicinal properties as listed below:
- Antioxidant property: The fruit has excellent antioxidant property that is helpful for several conditions like dysentery, diarrhea, piles, tumors and heart diseases.
- Antibacterial property: The extract of the rind has strong antibacterial property, especially against Helicobacter pylori that cause the gastric ulcer. The leaf extract has also shown the inhibitory effect on several pathogenic bacteria.
- Antifungal activity: The rind extract has shown an inhibitory effect on several species of fungi.
- Antiulcer activity: The rind extract is advised for duodenal and gastric ulcers in the traditional system of medicine.
- Anti-inflammatory property: The fruit has anti-inflammatory compounds that help to relieve the pain, pressure, and swelling in conditions like arthritis and gout.
- Anti-ageing activity: The fruit pigments have the ability to absorb UV light and have some enzyme activities, making them beneficial for skin disorders and skin care.
- Neuroprotective property: Several extracts of the fruit have shown neuroprotective potential.
What are the side-effects of using Garcinia indica?
Along with benefits, Garnicia may have some side effects like :
- Digestive tract discomfort
Using Garcinia indica safely:
Kokum is often consumed by many people on a regular basis. However, it is always suggested for precaution must be taken in the following conditions:
- Pregnancy and lactation: As there is not enough data available regarding the safety of garcinia, it is advised to avoid it.
- Bipolar disorder: Garcinia is not recommended for individuals with bipolar disorder as it can worsen the mania.
- Liver diseases: Some studies have shown that garcinia can harm the liver. Thus, this fruit must not be used by people with pre-existing liver disease.