Caralluma fimbriata has been consumed in Indian cultures for thousands of years. In traditional medicine, it is widely used for fighting obesity and as a natural appetite suppressant.
In the United States, the herb’s extracts are used to make weight loss supplements.
What does the research suggest about C. fimbriata, and is it safe for consumption?
What Is Caralluma Fimbriata?
Caralluma fimbriata is an edible succulent cacti that belongs to the Asclepiadaceae family. This herb grows wild across India and is well-known as a famine food because it’s used to suppress appetite during periods of famine.
The herb is also used in parts of the Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe.
The plant contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, including polyphenols, flavonoids and megastigmane glycosides. It also contains constituents that have appetite-suppressing effects and may work as fat burners that block fat production in the body.
How to Use It
Caralluma fimbriata is part of many traditional Indian diets. It’s eaten raw or boiled and often combined with vegetables and spices. It’s also used in preserves, like chutney and pickles.
In the United States, eating the herb is less common, while using extracts for its potential health benefits is more popular. An extract called “Slimaluma” was developed, standardized and patented by a company named Gencor. This is a concentrated form of the cacti that’s used in supplements.
One supplement that uses this herb is called “GenaSlim,” and it claims to support appetite control. On the label, it states the best results come from pairing the supplement with a healthy diet and exercise.
There are other “appetite suppressant” supplements containing the Indian herb available online and in vitamin stores as well.
1. Suppresses Appetite
The most well-known potential benefit of caralluma fimbriata is its appetite-suppressing effects. It’s believed to have an effect on the part of the brain that regulates appetite control.
Research published in Appetite shows that the herb may help to suppress appetite and therefore may promote a reduction of waist circumference.
Research highlights the herb’s ability to effect satiety signaling. This has been shown in studies on Prader-Willi syndrome, a neurogenetic disorder that causes constant hunger, often leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
2. May Fight Obesity
C. fimbriata is used in traditional medicine to fight obesity because it serves as a natural appetite suppressant. The succulent is thought to block the effects of certain enzymes that play a role in fat formation. This forces the body to burn fat reserves instead, potentially leading to weight loss.
One pilot study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine suggests that supplementing with caralluma fimbriata may play a role in curbing obesity because it helps control food intake. Participants received two 500-milligram capsules twice daily for 12 weeks, plus their dietary intake and exercise were monitored weekly.
After the intervention period, those in the experimental group lost 6.5 centimeters in weight circumference compared to 2.6 centimeters in the placebo group.
Although there are other studies showing that the herb can help to fight obesity, there are mixed results on this potential benefit. A study published in Perspectives in Clinical Research found that one gram of C. fimbriata extract per day did not yield any positive results on appetite in overweight and obese participants.
3. May Enhance Endurance
C. fimbriata is known for its ability to enhance endurance, although this benefit has not been proven with research. There are studies that incorporate caramulla fimbriata extracts with a weight-reducing diet and physical activity. Participants in these studies have shown reduced waist circumference.
Risks and Side Effects
C. fimbriata is generally considered safe for consumption, and the plant has no known toxicity.
There are some possible side effects of caralluma fimbriata, like the risk of upset stomach or digestive issues after prolonged consumption of the herb or extract. If you experience any digestive concerns, such as stomach pain or constipation, stop using or eating the herb immediately.
Women who are pregnant should not use supplements containing C. fimbriata because there isn’t enough research on the herb’s safety. If you plan to use a caralluma fimbriata supplement for appetite suppression or weight loss, consult your health care provider first.
The caralluma fimbriata dose that is typically recommended and has been used in studies is 500 milligrams, twice daily. Several studies have involved a 12-week intervention program.
Long-term use is not recommended. When beginning any new supplement, it’s important to check with your doctor first and review the proper dosage.
- Caralluma fimbriata is an Indian cacti that’s consumed in many cultures across India, Africa and the Middle East.
- In the U.S., caralluma extracts are used to suppress appetite and fight obesity. Although study findings are mixed, the plant does appear to help reduce waist circumference and appetite.
- Extracts from the plant are available online and in vitamin stores. Make sure to purchase from a reliable company and read the label carefully for the recommended dose.