Brindal Berry, Brindle Berry, Cambogia binucao, Cambogia gemmi-guta, Garcinia affinis, Garcinia Cambogi, Garcinia cambogia, Garcinia gummi-guta, Garcinia sulcata, Gorikapuli, Kankusta, Kudam puli, Malabar Tamarind, Mangostana cambogia, Tamarinier de Malabar, Vrikshamla.
Garcinia is a small to medium-sized tree that grows in India and Southeast Asia. The fruit rind contains the chemical hydroxycitric acid (HCA) and is used to make medicine. Don't confuse Garcinia with Garcinia hanburyi (gamboge resin).
People take Garcinia by mouth for weight loss, exercise performance, joint pain, bloody diarrhea, to increase bowel movements, and for treating worms and parasites.
How does it work?
Garcinia contains the chemical hydroxycitric acid. Some research suggests that HCA might prevent fat storage, control appetite, and increase exercise endurance; however, whether these effects occur in humans is unclear.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Exercise performance. Taking a chemical compound found in Garcinia called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) might increase how long untrained women are able to exercise. However, it does not seem benefit men in the same way.
- Weight loss. Research on the effect of Garcinia on weight loss is inconsistent. Some research shows that taking Garcinia extract that contains 50% hydroxycitric acid (HCA) for 8-12 weeks doesn't decrease fat breakdown or energy expenditure in overweight people. However, other research suggests that it might improve weight loss when taken for 12 weeks. Taking a specific Garcinia product containing 60% HCA (Super CitriMax InterHealth Nutriceuticals) by mouth in three doses daily 30 to 60 minutes before meals for 8 weeks, together with a healthy diet, seems to improve weight loss more than just diet alone. But other research shows that adding this specific Garcinia product to cereal bars or tomato juice and consuming them before lunch and dinner for 2 weeks does not improve weight loss. Reasons for the inconsistent results might be the dose, duration of treatment, or formulation of Garcinia extract that was used.
- Joint pain.
- Treating worms and parasites.
- Emptying the bowel.
- Severe diarrhea (dysentery).
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Garcinia is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken orally. There have been reports of serious liver problems in some people who have taken products containing garcinia; however, it is unclear if garcinia is the actual cause of liver problems in these reports or if it is due to other factors. Common, but mild side effects also include nausea, digestive tract discomfort, and headache.
Liver disease: Garcinia might harm the liver. This could worsen liver damage in people with liver disease. Don't use if you have liver disease.
Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Garcinia might increase a brain chemical called serotonin. Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) can also affect serotonin. Taking Garcinia along with dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and can result in serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take Garcinia if you are taking dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others).
Escitalopram (Lexapro)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Garcinia might increase a brain chemical called serotonin. Escitalopram (Lexapro) can also affect serotonin. Taking Garcinia along with escitalopram might cause too much serotonin in the brain and can result in serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.
Medications for depression (Antidepressant drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Garcinia might increase a brain chemical called serotonin. Some medications for depression also increase serotonin. Taking Garcinia along with these medications for depression might increase serotonin too much and cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take Garcinia if you are taking medications for depression. Some of these medications for depression include the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and others; and tricyclic and atypical antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), and others. Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
Meperidine (Demerol)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Garcinia might increase a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Meperidine (Demerol) can also affect serotonin in the brain. Taking Garcinia along with meperidine (Demerol) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.
Pentazocine (Talwin)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Garcinia might increase a brain chemical called serotonin. Pentazocine (Talwin) also increases serotonin. In theory, taking Garcinia along with pentazocine (Talwin) might increase serotonin too much. This could cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.
Sertraline (Zoloft)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Garcinia might increase a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Sertaline (Zoloft) can also increase serotonin in the brain. Taking Garcinia along with sertaline (Zoloft) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.
Tramadol (Ultram)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Tramadol (Ultram) can affect a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Garcina can also affect serotonin. Taking Garcinia along with tramadol (Ultram) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and might result in side effects including confusion, shivering, stiff muscles, and others.
The appropriate dose of garcinia depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time, there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for garcinia. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Bunchorntavakul, C. and Reddy, K. R. Review article: herbal and dietary supplement hepatotoxicity. Aliment.Pharmacol.Ther 2013;37(1):3-17. View abstract.
Jena, B. S., Jayaprakasha, G. K., Singh, R. P., and Sakariah, K. K. Chemistry and biochemistry of (-)-hydroxycitric acid from Garcinia. J Agric.Food Chem. 1-2-2002;50(1):10-22. View abstract.
Kriketos, A. D., Thompson, H. R., Greene, H., and Hill, J. O. (-)-Hydroxycitric acid does not affect energy expenditure and substrate oxidation in adult males in a post-absorptive state. Int J Obes.Relat Metab Disord. 1999;23(8):867-873. View abstract.
Actis GC, Bugianesi E, Ottobrelli A, Rizzetto M. Fatal liver failure following food supplements during chronic treatment with montelukast. Dig Liver Dis. 2007 Oct;39(10):953-5. View abstract.
Allen SF, Godley RW, Evron JM, et al. Acute necrotizing eosinophilic myocarditis in a patient taking Garcinia cambogia extract successfully treated with high-dose corticosteroids. Can J Cardiol 2014;30(12):1732 e13-1732 e15. View abstract.
Badmaev V, Majeed M, Conte AA. Garcinia cambogia for weight loss. JAMA 1999;282:233-4; discussion 235. View abstract.
Chuah LO, Yeap SK, Ho WY, et al. In vitro and In vivo toxicity of Garcinia or hydroxycitric acid: a review. Evid Based Compl Alt Med 2012;2012:197920. View abstract.
Corey R, Werner KT, Singer A, Moss A, Smith M, Noelting J, Rakela J. Acute liver failure associated with Garcinia cambogia use. Ann Hepatol. 2016 Jan-Feb;15(1):123-6. View abstract.
Dara L, Hewett J, Lim JK. Hydroxycut hepatotoxicity: a case series and review of liver toxicity from herbal weight loss supplements. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Dec 7;14(45):6999-7004. View abstract.
Firenzuoli F, Gori L. Garcinia cambogia for weight loss. JAMA 1999;282:234; discussion 235. View abstract.
García-Cortés M, Robles-Díaz M, Ortega-Alonso A, Medina-Caliz I, Andrade RJ. Hepatotoxicity by Dietary Supplements: A Tabular Listing and Clinical Characteristics. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Apr 9;17(4):537. View abstract.
Hasegawa N. Garcinia extract inhibits lipid droplet accumulation without affecting adipose conversion in 3T3-L1 cells. Phytother Res 2001;15:172-3. View abstract.
Heymsfield SB, Allison DB, Vasselli JR, et al. Garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid) as a potential antiobesity agent: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 1998;280:1596-600. View abstract.
Ishihara K, Oyaizu S, Onuki K, Lim K, et al. Chronic (-)-hydroxycitrate administration spares carbohydrate utilization and promotes lipid oxidation during exercise in mice. J Nutr 2000;130:2990-5. View abstract.
Kovacs EM, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Saris WH. The effects of 2-week ingestion of (--)-hydroxycitrate and (--)-hydroxycitrate combined with medium-chain triglycerides on satiety, fat oxidation, energy expenditure and body weight. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2001;25:1087-94. View abstract.
Lim K, Ryu S, Nho HS, et al. (-)-Hydroxycitric acid ingestion increases fat utilization during exercise in untrained women. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 2003;49:163-167. View abstract.
Lopez AM, Kornegay J, Hendrickson RG. Serotonin Toxicity Associated with Garcinia cambogia Over-the-counter Supplement. J Med Toxicol. 2014 Apr 4. [Epub ahead of print]. View abstract.
Mansi IA, Huang J. Rhabdomyolysis in response to weight-loss herbal medicine. Am J Med Sci 2004;327:356-357. View abstract.
Marquez F, Babio N, Bullo M, Salas-Salvado J. Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of hydroxycitric acid or Garcinia cambogia extracts in humans. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2012;52:585-94. View abstract.
Mattes RD, Bormann L. Effects of (-)-hydroxycitric acid on appetitive variables. Physiol Behav 2000;71:87-94. View abstract.
Melendez-Rosado J, Snipelisky D, Matcha G, Stancampiano F. Acute hepatitis induced by pure Garcinia cambogia. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2015 May-Jun;49(5):449-50. View abstract.
Preuss HG, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, et al. Effects of a natural extract of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) and a combination of HCA-SX plus niacin-bound chromium and Gymnema sylvestre extract on weight loss. Diabetes Obes Metab 2004;6:171-180. View abstract.
Rashid NN, Grant J. Hydroxycut hepatotoxicity. Med J Aust. 2010 Feb 1;192(3):173-4. View abstract.
Schaller JL. Garcinia cambogia for weight loss. JAMA 1999;282:234; discussion 235. View abstract.
Sharma T, Wong L, Tsai N, Wong RD. Hydroxycut(®) (herbal weight loss supplement) induced hepatotoxicity: a case report and review of literature. Hawaii Med J. 2010 Aug;69(8):188-90. View abstract.
Soni MG, Burdock GA, Preuss HG, et al. Safety assessment of (-)-hydroxycitric acid and Super CitriMax, a novel calcium/potassium salt. Food Chem Toxicol 2004;42:1513-29. View abstract.
Stevens T, Qadri A, Zein NN. Two patients with acute liver injury associated with use of the herbal weight-loss supplement hydroxycut. Ann Intern Med 2005;142:477-8. View abstract.
Vasques CA, Schneider R, Klein-Júnior LC, et al. Hypolipemic effect of Garcinia Cambogia in obese women. Phytother Res 2014;28(6):887-91. View abstract.
Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Kovacs EMR. The effect of (-)-hydroxycitrate on energy intake and satiety in overweight humans. Int J Obesity 2002;26:870-2. View abstract.