Garcinia Species – Good For Human Consumption

In News

A plant that is traditionally known to repel herbivores is now found to have medicinal use for humans.

In-Detail

  • A botanical study conducted by four plant specialists from India found that the volatile chemicals found in the leaves of six species of Garcinia plants are good for human consumption.
  • The six species are: Garcinia morella, Garcinia dulcis, Garcinia xanthochymus, Garcinia assamica, Garcinia lanceifolia and Garcinia pedunculata.
  • There are some 250 species of trees from the genus Garcinia.
    These are distributed across southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and tropical Africa.
  • In India, there are 44 species and 19 are from the north-east region of the country.
  • The species Garcinia assamica was recently found in Assam’s Manas National Park. Only a few trees were found in the park.

Volatile Compounds

  • From the essential oils of the six species, the researchers have identified 64 volatile compounds.
  • The major compounds were (E)-caryophyllene, a-copaene and b-selinene.
  • (E)-caryophyllene is found to be the moot compound that retards the growth of other plants in the vicinity of the tree and also is the reason for repulsing herbivore attacks.
  • The medicinal use of the compound is already known.
  • It possess anti-carcinogenic, anti-fibrotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anxiolytic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anaesthetic, and other biological activities.
  • Earlier, the genus Garcinia is known to possess therapeutical substances that exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Owing to their health benefits, nurseries of Garcinia plants are being raised as a commercial crop in Assam. Traditionally, the fruit of the plant is used in Assam for treating dysentery and diarrhoea.
  • The researches note that the plant products can be marketed as an anti-obesity agent.
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