Medical Reviewer: Dr Surabhi Rawat
Garcinia cambogia or Garcinia indica (now Garcinia Gummi-gutta), popularly known as Vrikshamla is a valued entity in the world of Ayurveda. It is essentially a tropical fruit found in India and some other Asian countries and is native to Indonesia. The trees grow quite tall, about 12m in height. The fruit itself looks like a small, green pumpkin.
Vrikshamla is revered because of its many uses. It has found its application in lots of areas. Indians, for thousands of years, have been using Vrikshamla mainly as an effective remedy for different bodily imbalances. It is popularly called as the “holy grail of weight loss”. The name appears in the ayurvedic Nighantu (glossary) as a dravya or food ingredient that is effective in battling vata and kapha dosha.
Vrikshamla – Classification & Characteristics
Family – Clusiaceae
Biological name – Garcinia Gummi-gutta (changed from old Garcinia Cambogia)
Malabar Tamarind, Brindleberry
Other common names – Red Mango, Gambooge, Pot Tamarind.
Vrikshamla has the perfect harmony of various different compounds. There are flavonoids, xanthones, benzophenones, lactones and phenolic acids.
Following chemicals/compounds are found in the herb:
- Hydroxycitric acid (HCA)
- Maleic acid
- Tartaric acid
- Citric acid
Uses Of Garcinia Cambogia
Ayurveda preaches the use of Vrikshamla owing to its multifold properties. Ayurvedic practitioners have used it in the past and now with the world knowing about its benefits, it has become rather popular. Here are the many areas where the herb finds its use:
#1. In Cooking Food
As stated earlier, Vrikshamla is an active ingredient in cooking food. People have been cultivating and consuming it for decades.
- The fruit has a characteristic sour flavour, the amla rasa. This makes it the perfect suit for curries.
- The sour taste attributes to its application in making pickles and condiments. The juicy flesh of the fruit is lip-puckering.
- Once the fruit is sun-dried, it is often smoked. This gives a smoky twist to curries. It is most popular in the making of fish curries in South India and Sri Lanka.
- The seeds of this herb contain up to 30% of fat. Hence, it is often used in the Indian kitchen as a substitute to ghee or clarified butter.
#2. In Medicines
While the sour taste or amla rasa makes Vrikshamla an active food ingredient, the same characteristic features make the fruit useful as Ayurvedic medicine. It is used to aid digestion and is available in the form of capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids.
- Vrikshamla comes as pills, i.e. both tablets and capsules. If it’s a pill, it should always be taken as per the recommended dosage. Generally, it is taken about 30 to 60 minutes before a meal. The main idea is to consume HCA (hydroxycitric acid), and the safe (recommended) amount of HCA per day is 1500mg. Therefore, considering that there are 3 meals in a day, each pill should have about 500mg HCA. The amount may be less than 500mg but shouldn’t exceed that, just to be on the safe side.
- Other than pills, Vrikshamla comes in the form of liquid as well. A couple of drops (1 to 2) of the liquid are taken before taking a meal. It is best to consult a physician before consuming the liquid. Once you know how many drops of the liquid amount to 1500mg of HCA, divide it by the number of meals (usually 3 meals) and consume that number of drops. Take the number of drops on your tongue, let it stay on your tongue for a couple of minutes, and then have your meals after 30 to 60 minutes.
The fruit is hardly the size of a tomato, yet contains a complex blend of chemicals working in harmonious coexistence. Following are the many benefits that make it a valued gift of nature:
#1. Weight Loss
A concerning fraction of people on Earth is always worried about weight loss. Obesity continues to be a menace. While people tend to incline towards expensive medications, strict diet, and complex surgeries, Vrikshamla appears like an easy alternative.
The fruit is a warehouse of HCA or Hydroxycitric Acid. While Ayurveda prescribes the fruit for healthy digestion, it also works wonders in losing weight. Vrikshamla supplement has helped people lose weight ever since scientists first began to study the fruit in the 1960s. Here’s how Vrikshamla aids in weight loss:
- Reducing appetite
“The key is calorie intake – eat less, burn more” is easier said than done, especially when you have a huge appetite and hunger seems to be by your side 24/7. This is where this herb comes into play.
The fruit triggers the production of serotonin. The amount of serotonin produced and size of appetite are inversely proportional, i.e. more the level of serotonin, lesser the appetite.
Hence, with reduced appetite, one tends to feel less hungry. When you’re less hungry, you eat less and still be satisfied. Consequently, you lose weight. It’s as simple as that.
- Increasing energy levels
People have witnessed an increased spike in energy levels once they started taking garcinia supplements. This contributes to weight loss indirectly.
If you’re constantly energetic, there are seemingly zero chances of you sitting around all lousy and lethargic. You feel the urge to exercise and do physical labour. This leads to the burning of calories, bringing about a downward slope in the weight-time graph. For the best results, consume the supplement with a healthy, low-calorie diet. You’ll notice the results in no time.
#2. Get rid of Diabetes
Diabetes is considered a slow-killer. It has taken a huge proportion of the world in its grasp and numbers to continue to rise. It is a fact that obese people are much more likely to develop Type-2 Diabetes. Thankfully, Vrikshamla helps with diabetes as well.
Firstly, as discussed above, Vrikshamla is effective in gaining healthy weight and doing away with obesity. Once it’s achieved, the chances of developing diabetes lessen drastically.
Vrikshamla helps in maintaining healthy levels of triglycerides in the blood. It also reduces inflammation and increases insulin sensitivity in the body. Blood sugar levels are balanced, improved and controlled. Therefore, you get a healthy weight and healthy insides. When these two come together, many metabolic problems and the risk of developing diabetes are highly reduced.
#3. Fights Fatigue
The world moves at a high speed, and we struggle to keep up with it. When moving at such a high pace without rest, it is only inevitable to be fatigued.
HCA is a boon to metabolism. It aids metabolic activities. The carbohydrates, that are generally converted into fat and stored, are burned and converted into energy. As a result, you don’t feel nearly as fatigued and sluggish.
#4. Keeps the gut healthy
People often go through oxidative stress. This stress is harmful and is a reason behind many ailments such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, etc. A healthy gut is very important, and thankfully we have Vrikshamla to take care of that.
Chemicals found in Vrikshamla take charge of helping your body in rebuilding the stomach lining. Also, it helps in reducing acidity. Gastric ulcers are common and troublesome, and Vrikshamla helps with it. With reduced acidity, ulcers heal up faster. This helps if you have acid reflux and a problem of heartburn after meals.
#5. Reducing Stress
Stress is an integral, unwanted part of everyone’s lives. Your body should be able to deal with stress levels, lest complications should arise.
As mentioned earlier, Vrikshamla supplements increase the production of serotonin. The same chemical is responsible for managing stress levels. People with low levels of serotonin tend to suffer from depression and anxiety. With increased serotonin levels, one can cope with these disorders much easily. While it doesn’t eliminate those disorders, it helps individuals fight them.
#6. Pacifies Vata And Kapha
Due to its thermogenic effect, Vrikshamla pacifies kapha in the 7 body tissues – blood, plasma, muscle, bone, fat, nervous system, reproductive system. It also pacifies vata in the chest and stomach, leading to the pacification of thirst. Therefore, when taken in the proper amount, it maintains healthy pitta balance.
In Ayurveda, it is mentioned that this herb carries 3 rasa (s) or tastes –
- amla rasa (sour),
- katu rasa (pungent), and
- kashai rasa (astringent).
The 3 rasas are in perfect combination, and they aid metabolic activities. The amla rasa is special as it particularly improves and aids protein metabolism. This is because it enhances Agni in the muscle tissue. The 3 rasa-s, when consumed together, clear up and unclog every single channel of the body, leading to better circulation.
#7. Other Benefits
Some other benefits associated with the consumption of Vrikshamla are-
- Prevention of kidney stones
It limits the production of calcium oxalate, otherwise known as kidney stones, in the body. Some studies even confirmed that the supplement can dissolve the stones.
- Better endurance
If you’re an athlete, you must definitely value the importance of endurance. Taking the supplements help in building up endurance without the need to change your diet.
- Better bowel movement
As stated before, taking Vrikshamla supplements help in reducing inflammation. Thus if you struggle with irregular or difficult bowel movement, the supplements can help you.
- Slows ageing
It helps increase skin elasticity. With tighter and smoother skin, you slow down the ageing process drastically.
Side Effects Of Vrikshamla: Is Vrikshmala Safe?
Vrikshamla contains many different chemical compounds. HCA, for example, is present in good amounts and shouldn’t be taken more than 1500mg a day. When taken in higher amounts, it leads to major issues. Similarly, there are other side-effects to it.
- Increased acetylcholine levels, hence not advised to patients of Alzheimer’s
- Not advised to people with liver disease
- Digestive tract discomfort
- Dry mouth
Vrikshamla or Garcinia is sold by
- Himalaya Wellness Pure Herbs Vrikshamla Weight Wellness – 60 Tablets Rs. 132.00
- Nature’s velvet
Hence, Vrikshamla can find applications in the treatment and prevention of many diseases. It is extremely effective. However, one should always consult a physician about the dosage before consuming it. In case of any adverse effects, the usage should be discontinued.
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