Garcinia Plant Overview
This has become the latest novelty to hit the health industry and has become in demand all over the world. Recent clinical studies have shown the effectiveness of garcinia in tackling weight loss and boosting the immune system .
It is a flowering plant belongs to the family clusiaceae .The trees are evergreen.The branches of the tree show a distinct pattern of arrangement to get the sun light,This particular arrangement is helpful to identify the plant even from a far away place.This plant possesses horizontal or drooping branches.
In Sri Lanka, this plant has distributed in wet zone evergreen forests. Plants are medium size. These plants plants slowly grow. The bark of the tree is blackish and very rough. When we make a cut in the tree, it is apparent the yellow color tart like substance coming from the bark. Garcinia fruit is very famous among the village children. It is more like the mangostin fruit.The flesh is mild to distinctly acidic.The flesh is red in color. Vertical grooves are there in the fruit. This fruit has a unique taste that other fruits do not have.
Anyway we have experienced in our childhood that eating the ripen fruit flesh many more cause little discomfort in following day’s morning in the toilet. Hah hah ha..
Traditional way of Garcinia processing in Sri Lanka
Village women pick the ripen fruits of this amazing plant and then cut in half.Then deseed and sun dry for days.When the drying happens to the right level, next level is the smoking step.Village women then smoke these until turn black. The plant compounds that emit with smoke from the fire woods along with chemical compounds in Garcinia turn them ultimately to black color.They put some salt also to these and mix well.Having mixed well, these are transferred to earthenware pots and tightly sealed. This helps to keep the foods preserved for years.
Whenever they need to use the preserved Garcinia, what they do is washing them with running water for a few minutes and allow to soak for about ten minutes. Then the rehydrated pieces are added to the curries. It is an essential spice for Sri lankan fish curries and ambula(Polos ambula, Thelkola ambula, Kekiri ambula)
The popularity of this inspiring spice in ancient Sri Lanka is apparent by its uses in toponymy. Gorakawela, Gorokkanda,Gorokwatte are some of them.
Food and Culinary Uses
The most valued thing about garcinia is the sun dried rind that people use in traditional Indian and Sri Lankan cooking. Some people use this in place of lime and tamarind in Indian sub continental cooking. The dried garcinia rinds are along with salt to wash the sea food prior to cooking. It is known to destroy histamine in fish by 80%. It is also a key spice in the traditional “ambul thiyal ” fish curry preparation which can be kept in ambient condition for about seven days and nothing happens.So it is good preservative . Mean while it hardens the fish pieces to give the desired quality.
Medicinal uses of Garcinia
In Ayurveda, therapeutic and antiseptic properties of garcinia is surprising.
It is an aid to promote digestion, and a decoction made out of it can act against Arthritis and some uterine deseases.
It has the medicinal values to cure ulcers, weak gums and bowel complaints. The leaves, bark and the flowers have healing properties against fractures.
It also has an importance in veterinary medicine.
This also helps to boost the immune system. It can also lower elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, and help to protect the body against cancer. Garcinia helps to gain the weight loss by burning unnecessary fat in your body
In some cases people turn garcinia into liquids, capsules,tables and sold as a dietary supplement. As it helps for tackling weight loss and boosting the immune system . Modern research is increasingly using garcinia as an active ingredient in preparing special blends that help weight loss, detox and rejuvenate the body. Other than these garcinia powder, garcinia paste and the garcinia tea can also be seen in the market.