Garcinia Cambogia is a fruit which is mainly used in cooking in many parts of the world. It recently got a speculation regarding its use for weight loss even though this is not scientifically proved.
Garcinia Cambogia is also known as Garcinia gummi-gutta which is produced in an evergreen tree, and this fruit is sour. I have seen this tree growing mainly in northern parts of Kerala, a South Indian state. This tree is growing in many parts of Africa too. Garcinia Cambogia or Garcinia gummi-gutta has got many other regional names too.
The fruit is sour, looks green when unripe and it has the shape of small pumpkins. As it ripens, it turns pale yellow. It is usually sold in markets in dried form which looks dark brown or black. This fruit is similar to tamarind ( which is also sour) and it is also known as pot tamarind in South India since it also resembles small pots. I may also use the word pot tamarind in this hub, since I am more familiar with this word. The main purpose of using pot tamarind in food is to provide sourness to food, especially soups and stews. It is also said to be good for aiding digestion and relieve problems related to acidity. Garcinia Cambogia or pot tamarinds have more health benefits than tamarinds.
How to use in food?
As I mentioned above pot tamarinds are usually available from markets in dried form which is added during preparation of soups and stews to impart sourness to the dish. Everyone doesn't like sour dishes, so this fruit may not be a right choice for you if you don't prefer sourness. Usually 2 or 3 small pieces of pot tamarinds are enough to provide medium sourness to the dish, so you can simply add the pieces of the dried fruit while you cook the dish. Most of the people do not eat the pot tamarind pieces in the dish, while they enjoy the sourness it gives to the food. This is because the pieces will be usually too sour.
Garcinia Cambogia has some medicinal uses, as its extract is Garcinia Cambogia Extract used in many traditional medicines mainly to improve digestion. Recently there were speculations that the extract of this fruit can help with weight loss due to the presence of Hydroxicitric acid which is a derivative of citric acid which can promote lipid metabolism and reduce fat content. However studies indicate that this might be helpful in only losing a few pounds which is not very significant. Also it is not advisable to take garcinia cambogia in excess, as it may cause negative effects. So moderation is the key here also, and more importantly if you take anything regularly as a medicine please check with your doctor before doing so.
Growing Garcinia Cambogia
Garcinia Cambogia trees grow commonly in tropical and sub tropical regions, so you can easily grow them in your yard if you live in tropical regions with moderate to warm temperatures. If you live in places with extreme cold temperatures, it is even possible to grow them in large pots and move them inside your home if you have high roof rooms. The trees may reach up to 15 feet height or more and they need enough soil for the roots to spread. Consider planting them in 20 gallon pots under a high roof, if you really have to grow them indoor. However, the best conditions to grow this tree is to grow it in your garden outdoors where it can have good exposure to sun and enjoy warm or moderate temperatures. Usually they start to produce fruits in 3 to 4 years of time.
What to do with fresh Garcinia Cambogia fruits in your garden
These fruits are not edible in its raw form and they give maximum benefits when they are sundried. So if you have fresh Garcinia Cambogia fruits in your home, you can remove the skin, cut them and add the pieces to your dishes while cooking. However, you need only very little to give sourness to your dishes. So if you have got so many fruits you may need to preserve them for future use. This can be done by drying the fruits under good sunlight for several days. Once the fruits are very well dried, the fruits turn dark in color and they shrink in size. You can preserve the dried fruits in air tight containers for a long time with out getting spoiled and add them to your dishes when ever you want.
The dried Garcinia Cambogia might be a little expensive, but its the kind that is used in South India for cooking. Moderate use in food is believed to have health benefits and used by people from a very long time, but if you decide to use the extract as a supplement or medicine, you may need to check with your doctor first.