Knowledge: Asam Gelugur (Garcinia Atroviridis)

Asam Gelugur (Garcinia Atroviridis)

Asam gelugur (tamarind), or also known as asam keping in Malay, is commonly found in evergreen rainforests in Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia. This plant is cultivated widely owe to its economical and medicinal value.

Fruits of asam gelugor are extremely sour as it contains different acid components, including citric acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, ascorbic acid and hydroxycitric acid. It also contains flavonoids – source of antioxidant.

The acidic fruit is traditionally used as weight loss remedy in Thai medicine.

  • Source of antioxidants
  • Weight loss supplement
  • Improve blood circulation and cure cough
  • Lower cholesterol level
  • Antibacterial and antifungal properties

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Antihyperlipidemic properties

In vivo study on effect of almond’s antioxidant activity
Subject Male Sprague Dawley rats (weight = 180 -250g)
  1. Normal control
  2. Rats received 1000 mg/kg methanolic or aqueous extracts of G. atroviridis.
Duration 3 days
Dosage 1000 mg/kg extracts of G. atroviridis (administered orally once daily)
Parameters analyzed Serum lipid analysis
Outcomes Visible benefits
Fruit of Asam gelugor significantly reduced the level of total cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoprotein and atherogenic index.
Table 1: Effect of aqueous and methanol extracts of fruits of Garcinia atroviridis on total cholesterol and triglyceride levels of poloxamer 407-induced hyperlipidemic rats.

Group Serum lipid parameters
Dose (mg/kg) TC (mmol/L) TG (mmol/L)
0 h 58 h 0 h 58 h
Normal 2.99 2.58 1.28 0.96
Hyperlipidemic control 3.67 11.61 1.81 10.90
Ripe fruit extract (methanolic) 1000 3.39 6.68 1.53 2.66
Unripe fruit extract (methanolic) 1000 3.59 8.56 2.45 5.41
Ripe fruit extract (aqueous) 1000 4.30 6.38 1.81 2.45
Unripe fruit extract (aqueous) 1000 4.45 8.56 1.32 2.67
Atorvastatin 60 3.35 6.34 1.63 3.71

Table 2: Effects of aqueous and methanol extracts of different parts of G. atroviridis on serum lipid parameters.

Group Serum lipid parameters
Dose (mg/kg) LDL (mmol/L) VLDL (mmol/L)
Normal 0.25 0.43
Hyperlipidemic control 4.24 4.91
Ripe fruit extract (methanolic) 1000 2.89 1.20
Unripe fruit extract (methanolic) 1000 3.35 2.44
Ripe fruit extract (aqueous) 1000 2.39 1.10
Unripe fruit extract (aqueous) 1000 3.00 1.20
Atorvastatin 60 3.44 1.67
  • Aqueous extracts had better antihyperlipidemic activity than methanol extracts
  • Aqueous extract of ripe fruit (with seeds) showed the most potent antihyperlipidemic activity, which may aid in lowering cholesterol level in body.

Antimicrobial and antifungal activities

In vitro lab experiment
Subject Gram-positive (B. subtilis B28 & B29, MRSA, S. aureus) and Gram-negative bacteria (E. coli and P. aeruginosa)
Duration 24 hours at 30 °C
Dosage >1 mg of extract
Parameters analyzed Weight, BMI, waist circumference, waist to hip circumference ratio, total cholesterol, and triglyceride

Visible benefits

  • Fruit of G. atroviridis exhibited broad spectrum antibacterial effect (to both Gram-positive and Gram negative bacteria)
  • For antifungal effect, only fruit and leaves displayed this effect while the rest is not effective.

Table 1: Antibacterial and antifungal activity of G. atroviridis extracts.

B28 = B. subtilis (mutant)
B29 = B. subtilis (wild-type)
MRSA = methicillin-resistant S. aureus.
Extracts of the fruits, stem bark, and roots were inactive at the highest concentration tested against the fungi A. ochraceous, C. albicans, F. moniliforme and Alternaria sp. (MID: 1000 mg/disc).

Functions The fruit of G. atroviridis exhibited significant antibacterial and antifungal activities,

Antioxidant activity

In vivo study on effect of almond’s antioxidant activity
  1. Control
  2. G. atroviridis fruit extract
Duration DPPH radical scavenging assay = 30 min incubation
ABTS radical scavenging assay = 6 min incubation
Ferric reducing antioxidant powder (FRAP) assay = 8 min incubation
Concentration Various aqueous and methanol extracts of G. atroviridis at a concentration of 10 mg/mL
Parameters analyzed Antioxidant activities

Visible benefits

Table 1: Antioxidant activities of G. atroviridis on serum lipid parameters.

Group Antioxidant assay
Yield (%) Total phenolics Total flavonoids DPPH ABTS FRAP
Ripe fruit extract (methanolic) 3.5 8.99 3.16 166.35 25.22 17.22
Unripe fruit extract (methanolic) 4.0 10.50 4.37 157.68 126.64 17.57
Ripe fruit extract (aqueous) 4.2 6.60 1.83 204.93 32.76 25.37
Unripe fruit extract (aqueous) 6.5 7.71 4.27 163.8 22.58 28.16
Reference standards
Ascorbic acid 7.81 3.22
Ascorbic acid 7.31 2.85

*Lower value = better antioxidant activity

Functions Antioxidant activities of methanol extracts of G. atroviridis were better than the respective aqueous extracts.

Aid in weight management

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Clinical Trials
Subject 12 randomised clinical trials (a total of 706 participants)
  • Placebo
  • GA/HCA-supplemented group

GA: Garcinia atroviridis extract
HCA: hydroxycitric acid

Duration a range of 2 to 12 weeks
Dosage 1 g to 2.8 g daily
Parameters analyzed Weight different between placebo and GA/HCA-supplemented group
Outcomes Visible benefits
The meta-analysis revealed a small, statistically significant difference in weight loss favouring HCA over placebo.Table 1: Results table for studies with adequate data for meta-analysis.

Author/Year/Country Author/Year/Country Body weight (loss/gain)
Heymsfield et al. 1998 (USA) 1.5 g daily (12 weeks) Loss
Kovacs et al. 2001 (Netherlands) 1.5 g daily (2 weeks) Loss
Preuss et al. 2004 (India) 2.8 g daily (8 weeks) Loss
Ramos et al. 1995 (Mexico) 1.5 g daily (8 weeks) Loss
Roongpisuthipong et al. 2007 (Thailand) Unclear (8 weeks) Loss
Functions Garcinia extracts/HCA can cause short-term weight loss, which acts as a natural slimming aid and as a quicker alternative in overweight and obesity management.

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