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Caralluma is a succulent plant (cactus) from India. In India it grows wild and is often used as a border in gardens and as a roadside shrub. It is also found in the wild in Africa, Saudi Arabia, Canary Islands, Afghanistan, and Southern Europe.
Traditionally, Indian tribes chewed chunks of caralluma to keep from being hungry during a long hunt. These days, a solution that contains chemicals taken from the plant (extract) is used to decrease appetite for weight loss. It is also used to quench thirst and to increase endurance.
In foods in India, caralluma is cooked as a vegetable and is used in preserves such as chutneys and pickles. It is also eaten raw.
How does it work?
Chemicals contained in the caralluma plant are thought to decrease appetite.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Weight loss and obesity. Developing evidence suggests that taking a caralluma extract for 60 days might decrease waistline, feelings of hunger, and fat and calorie intake. But it does not seem to decrease weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat, or hip measurements.
- Quenching thirst.
- Increasing endurance.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Caralluma seems to be safe for most people when 500 mg of the extract is taken twice daily for up to 60 days. The long-term safety is not known. Caralluma might cause some mild side effects such as stomach upset, intestinal gas, constipation, and stomach pain. These side effects usually go away after a week of use.
The appropriate dose of caralluma depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for caralluma. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Gencor Pacific, Inc. New dietary ingredient notification: Caralluma fimbriata extract: Volumes 1-3. Notification to U.S. Food and Drug Administration, August 25, 2004. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/95s0316/95s-0316-rpt0252-05-Caralluma-Fimbriata-Extract-vol184.pdf.
Kuriyan R, Raj T, Srinivas SK, et al. Effect of Caralluma Fimbriata extract on appetite, food intake and anthropometry in adult Indian men and women. Appetite 2007;48:338-44. View abstract.