gA plant genus of Clusiaceae, Garcinia is a native of Australia, Asia, Polynesia and southern and tropical areas of Africa. Several sources have cited that there are between 50 and 300 species of Garcinia, however, no one knows for sure and these figures are highly disputed. The plants of this genus are commonly known as mangosteens, saptrees or monkey fruit. Essentially, these species are evergreen shrubs and trees and the fruit is a fleshy berry.

Mangosteen is the fruit of the Garcinia Cambogia tree. The fruit in certain species is extremely delicious. The most popular species is purple mangosteen that is widely cultivated in Southeast Asia and other such tropical countries. Other less known species, yet important are Kandis. Kandis is a red-coloured small and round fruit that has a subacid taste. Another species is the lemon drop mangosteen. This species is yellow in colour and looks something like a wrinkled lemon. Button mangosteen, another species is thick-skinned and orange in colour.

The mangosteen rind extract is also used as spices. Used in Kodava culture, the rind is used as flavouring and gives bún riêu, a Vietnamese soup its colour. Another species yields a spice that is widely used in South Asia, especially in Kerala.

Basically, mangosteen is grown in Thailand, Malaysia, southern India and Indonesia, but some farmers have been trying to cultivate them and grow in the Caribbean and Hawaii. On the whole, this fruit is a bit difficult to grow. Most mangosteens are not being grown in the U.S. as the rind carry pests that can contaminate other crops. The U.S. allows legal import of mangosteens from Puerto Rico or Hawaii only. However, mangosteens can be legally imported to Canada and are also found in sections of the Mediterranean and Europe. Canned mangosteens are also available, but, many people have found that canned flavour is far from the fresh fruit.

To eat the mangosteen as a fresh fruit, you’ll need to crush the moist and brittle rind with the palm of your hand. The pure-white fruit that is revealed is edible, whereas the rind is not. The fruit has wedged segments inside, much like garlic. You’ll also find one seed inside which is usually not eaten. The number of wedges vary from four to eight and it’s easy to guess how many are there in each fruit because of its unique built. You can store the fruit for up to one week at room temperature. If you want to preserve it longer, you can refrigerate it as it lasts longer in a colder environment.

Although, this fruit is relatively new in the West, it has been part of the Asian culture for a long time. It’s often used as a spice in curries.

The extract of Garcinia Cambogia is currently being used as a weight loss supplement and due to its positive effects, it has found many takers. If you’re looking to lose some weight, you could possibly try it and see what effect it has on you.

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