The kokam fruit is a small purple fruit that originates from southern India. The fruit grows on small evergreen trees in tropical rainforests, where the climate is warm and humid. The kokam juice and rind are both used in cooking in India, but the fruit can also be used for medicinal purposes. Kokam fruit is a source of garcinol, a substance that the health industry has recently recognized as having significant benefits for a variety of illnesses.
Antioxidants are substances that protect the tissue in your body against damage from free radicals, which have been linked to several illnesses, including diabetes, arthritis and cardiovascular disorders. According to the September 2, 2009 issue of the "Journal of Hematology and Oncology," garcinol has been shown to provide antioxidant effects in the body. Garcinol, also known as garcinol indica, derived from the kokam fruit protects the body against tissue damage caused by environmental hazards such as smoke and pollution. Garcinol also has neuroprotective properties, meaning it protects the tissue surrounding the brain.
Garcinol derived from kokam fruit has anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial to human health. Garcinol significantly blocks the key enzymes responsible for inflammation in the body. Drugs.com reports that treating tracheal muscle cells with garcinol strongly inhibited inflammation caused by cigarette smoke. Applying garcinol topically to the skin even inhibited inflammation in laboratory mice.
Research shows that garcinol derived from kokam fruit is effective for preventing infections such as Staphylococcus aureus, also known as Staph infection. Staph infections can be carried on the skin and then enter the body anywhere the skin is broken, which could cause moderate to severe health problems. Drugs.com reports that in laboratory research, garcinol was effective in inhibiting the growth of staph infections and was as beneficial as the antibiotic vancomycin.
The effects of garcinol on cancer cells in the colon have been studied. As stated in the September 2, 2009 issue of the "Journal of Hematology and Oncology," garcinol from the kokam fruit inhibited growth of cancer cells in the intestines after approximately 72 hours of treatment. Garcinol effectively immobilized the cancer cells in the intestines without harming the normal cells. Research is also being conducted on the effects of garcinol on leukemia cells as well as the Epstein-Barr virus.
Since garcinol is effective as an antioxidant, it inhibits certain free radical damage that can lead to ulcers. Hydroxyl radical damage causes stress-induced gastric ulcers, which have been effected by garcinol in laboratory research. Although the September 2, 2009 issue of the "Journal of Hematology and Oncology" states that the effects of garcinol on gastric ulcers is not yet completely understood, it is clear that garcinol from the kokam fruit has the potential to become a potent medication for the treatment of ulcers.
- Spices Board India – Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt of India: Kokam
- Drugs.com: Garcinol
- "Journal of Hematology & Oncology"; Emerging Role of Garcinol, the Antioxidant Chalcone from Garcinia Indica Choisy and its Synthetic Analogs; Subhash Padhey, Asmit Ahmad, Nikhil Oswal and Fazlul H. Sarkar; September 2, 2009
- Kidshealth.org: Staph Infections