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Garcinia is a genus  of evergreen trees and shrubs native to Asia known  for fat-fighting fruits.  Often called monkey fruit, mangosteen, malabar tamarind or saptree,  garcinia have fleshy fruits which vary in color from yellow and green to  orange and purple. A chemical constituent, hydrocitric acid (HCA) has  been linked to weight loss, feelings of satiety, and decreased spikes in  blood sugar following consumption.  Loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, garcinia can be eaten as a whole  fruit or dried and powdered. The rind is sometimes used as a spice and  preservative.

In some parts of the world – including Malaysia, garcinia is an  ingredient in weight-loss soups, as it is known for satisfying the  appetite early, and making dieters eat less overall.  Additionally, scientific research is finding merit in folk wisdom.  Although more research must be done, preliminary evidence shows there is  something to the way that garcinia not only makes eaters feel fuller,  faster, but also slows down after-meal spikes in blood sugar.

There is some evidence to suggest that HCA can affect serotonin levels,  and may be particularly useful for people who tend toward emotional  eating, or eating to fill a void that is more mental than physical.

If you want to read more about the weight-loss benefits of garcinia try  this article which is fairly easy to digest, no pun intended:

Another group of chemical constituents, xanthones, are currently being  studied for their antiviral, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial  qualities. There is some interest in whether or not these compounds can  even be used to shrink tumors.  If you want to read up on some of the scientific nitty-gritty, check out  this link:



Honeydew Kiwi Lime Smoothie

Honeydew Kiwi Lime Smoothie  

  •  2 cups of honeydew melon cubed
  •   4 kiwis
  •  juice from 1/2 lime
  •   ice (optional)

Directions: Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. Makes 2 servings




Guggul, the sap of a tree native to India, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for millennia – with texts going back to the year 600 B.C.  recommending it for treating hardening of the arteries.  Harvested by collecting the hardened sap that flows out of small cuts made in the tree’s papery bark, guggul is something of wonder drug from the ancient world. In Latin, Hebrew and ancient Greek it was known as bdellium.

Guggul is one of Ayurveda’s most powerful purifiers. The long list of conditions it has been used to treat includes:  Weight loss, arthritis, acne, atherosclerosis, gingivitis, high cholesterol, inflammation, and thyroid problems.

Guggul is sometimes recommended as a way to remove long-accumulated toxins naturally from the body. The Chopra Center recommends guggul for those who have spent a lot of time on antibiotics or for those quitting the use of drugs or alcohol.  You can read more about Ayurveda and guggul from the Chopra Center website here:

Be sure to consult with a health professional before taking guggul as it can have a number of interactions with medications.  If you want to know more about the pharmacological aspects of guggul – and don’t mind a bit of a technical read – check out this excellent page:

With a fragrance similar to myrrh, guggul is also used for incense and perfume. Many people are worried about sustainable and ethical management of the Commiphora mukul tree. While the tree is native to India, it can be found growing in arid regions from northern Africa to central Asia.  Loss of habitat due to human encroachment and over harvesting has focused attention on the plight of this fragile gift of nature.

If you would like to read more about one herb company’s effort to rally around sustainable harvesting and protection of the plant’s habitat, you can read more at Pukka’s blog:

soymilk carrot cake smoothieSoymilk Carrot Cake Smoothie

Makes four servings


  • 20 to 30 ice cubes (depending on how thick you want your smoothie to be)
  • 2 cups plain, unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 cup carrot juice
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:  Place the ice cubes in the blender first, then add the rest of the  ingredients.  Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

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