Spice Descriptions and Uses

Cambodge Garcinia cambogia Desr.

Family : Clusiaceae


Cambodge is a an evergreen tree commonly found in the forests of Western Ghats, from Konkan to Kerala and the Shola forests of Nilgiris.


Cambodge is a small or medium-sized tree with rounded crown and horizontal or drooping branches. The leaves are dark green, shining, elliptic obovate, 5 -12.5 cm long and 2-8 cm broad. Its fruits are ovoid (5 cm dia), yellow or red when ripe, with 6 - 8 grooves and contain 6-8 seeds surrounded by a succulent aril. The tree flowers during the hot season and fruits ripen during the rains.

Cambodge contains tartaric acid (10.6 %) , glucose (15%) and phosphoric acid (1.5%). The seeds of cambodge yield 31 % of edible fat resembling kokum butter.

Aroma and Flavour

The dried rind of cambodge is used as a condiment of flavouring curries in Kerala. In Sri Lanka, the fruits are picked under-ripe, the thick pericarp cut into sections, dried in the sun and preserved for future use.

Culinary, medicinal and other use

It is used along with salt in the curing of fish. It is rich in acids and possess marked antiseptic properties. The dried rind is also used for polishing gold and silver and as a substitute for acetic and formic acids in the coagulation of latex. An yellow, translucent resin from the tree is soluble in turpentine and gives an yellow varnish. A decoction of the fruit rind is given in rheumatism and bowel complaints. It is also used as a rinse for some veterinary diseases.