Kokum is the fruit of the Garcinia indica tree, which grows in several regions across India. This fruit, with its earthy, leathery appearance is not well known in the West, but kokum is a little superfruit that offers amazing health and wellness benefits. Research suggests that kokum contains more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables available at your local supermarket.
Kokum has been used in western India for centuries as a digestive aid, as well as for heat exposure. There is even a kokum sherbet that is quite popular among the people of the region. Kokum is believed to improve digestive health, reduce inflammation, fight obesity, boost the immune system, and improve mental wellness. It has also been studied for its potential to prevent cancer, which is outlined in a study published in Current Science (2006).
Let’s take a closer look at this amazing fruit’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
Reduces inflammation. Numerous studies have found a link between inflammation and a higher risk for developing some of the worst chronic diseases around today. Fighting inflammation is vital to becoming the healthiest and happiest version of yourself, and kokum may be a great ally.
A study published in the Journal of Phytopharmacology (2013) examined kokum and its anti-inflammatory activity in “carrageenan induced paw edema and cotton pellet induced granuloma in rats.” The researchers concluded, “The aqueous extract of Garcinia indica fruit rind showed significant anti-inflammatory activity probably by virtue of an underlying antioxidant activity and/ or lysosomal membrane stabilization.”
Obesity-fighting hydroxycitric acid (HCA). The HCA content of kokum has been found to fight obesity, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2002). Researchers from the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India, discussed HCA’s benefits for suppressing fatty acid synthesis, food intake, and lipogenesis, and also its benefits for weight loss promotion. The study findings were significant, which is promising considering the increasing obesity epidemic in America.
Benefits digestive health. The digestive properties of kokum have been utilized for centuries in the regions of India where the fruit is native. It boasts powerful digestive health benefits, and may help to ease flatulence and constipation.
As mentioned, kokum contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which may assist in removing harmful stomach bacteria and worms from the gut, as well as promoting proper digestive function.
Anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anxiety and PTSD can severely affect day-to-day life. Kokum has been studied for its ability to affect anxiety and PTSD fear inhibitors. A study published in PLoS ONE (2013) found the garcinol content in kokum, a naturally-occurring histone acetyltransferase (HAT) inhibitor, to be possibly “useful in the treatment of newly acquired or recently reactivated traumatic memories.”
An antiulcer alternative. Researchers from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Prin. K. M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy, India, found kokum to have antiulcer capabilities, which may be associated with its antioxidant content. The study, published in Biomedicine and Aging Pathology (2014), concluded that kokum had “potent antiulcer activity” in all three of the rat models studied.
Possible anticancer properties. According to a study published in the Journal of Hematology and Oncology (2009), the powerful antioxidant chalone garcinol in kokum has anticancer properties. Researchers found chalcone garcinol to be “a very efficient scavenger of oxygen free radicals and an excellent inhibitor of NO.”
The study also noted that the chalcone garcinol in kokum offers carcinogenesis protection, and could be a useful chemopreventive agent, as well.
Take advantage of the natural wellness benefits of this exotic fruit. You can enjoy kokum whole or juiced. Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables daily offers exceptional health benefits. Getting to know where your food comes from and how it is grown will also make you feel more connected to what you eat. Your meals will be more flavorful, healthier, and simply more enjoyable.
Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flair for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.