Kokum (Garcinia indica): A Potent Functional Spice


Garcinia indica, a plant in the mangosteen family (Clusiaceae), is commonly known as Kokum


The outer cover of fruit is dried in the sun to get aamsul or kokam. It is also known as bhirand in Konkani and punarpuli in Kannada. It is used as a staple souring agent typically in Goan cuisine and some parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Kokum yields a peculiar flavour and blackish red colour.

The rind of the fruit contains hydroxycitric acid.  Other active compounds found in Kokum are listed in the Table below:

Active Chemical Compounds of Kokum

hydroxycitric acid (HCA) isomers
(-)-Hydroxycitric acid
(+)-Hydroxycitric acid
Guttiferone I-K
guttiferone M (1) A
guttiferone N (2)
polyisoprenylated benzophenones Garcinol
Camboginan isomer of isoxanthochymol

A recent study from December 2012 indicates the hepatoprotective effects of Kokum.  This may be due to an augmentation of the endogenous antioxidants and inhibition of lipid peroxidation in the liver.  1   

The authors of the study concluded their study by stating that:

“the hepatoprotective effect of GIE (Garcinia indica)against ETOH-induced hepatotoxicity in rats appears to be related to the inhibition of lipid peroxidative processes and to the prevention of GSH depletion. The present study highlighted the health benefits of kokum, establishing it as a potent “functional food” and promoting its use as a culinary spice to enrich people’s diets. Moreover, it is cheap, readily available to all strata of society, with medicinal properties attributed to it.”  2

The additional health benefits of Kokum are listed in the Table below:

Health Benefits of Kokum

A constituent from G. indica, Garcinol, a polyisoprenylated benzophenone has been reported to be an antioxidant  1
Garcinol, a naturally-occurring histone acetyltransferase (HAT) inhibitor derived from the rind of the fruit of the Kokum tree (Garcina indica), to disrupt the consolidation and reconsolidation of Pavlovian fear conditioning 2
Garcinia indica is a potent glycation inhibitor 3
Garcinol could promote neurite outgrowth in EGF-responsive neural precursor cells and modulate the ERK pathway in the enhancement of neuronal survival. 4
Garcia indica acted as an effective neuroprotective agent for striatal dopaminergic neurons in 6-OHDA lesioned rat model of PD. 5


Himalaya – Vrikshamla (Garcinia/Garcinia indica)

Deep Black Kokum (Dry)

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