Caralluma fimbriata is a popular edible cactus from India. It grows abundantly throughout India’s interior, even along the roadsides. It’s part of the diet of several native Indian populations. It has been used for thousands of years in Indian culture for helping suppress appetite during long hunts and times of famine. It typically blooms in late summer. Its blossoms are usually brown, purple, tan, yellow, and red. The plant can also be found throughout parts of:
- Middle East
- Southern Europe, especially the Canary Islands
Recently, people have begun to use the extract of C. fimbriata to help them:
- lose weight
- build endurance
- suppress thirst
In India where C. fimbriata grows, people use it in a variety of ways. Despite its foul smell, many choose to eat it raw or simply boil it first. Others cook it as a vegetable with spices or add it to condiments like chutneys and pickles. In the United States, it is most often taken in extract form as a supplement.
Caralluma fimbriata is considered safe for consumption. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added it to the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list of food ingredients in 2014.
As an extract — the form most often used in the United States — the recommended dosage is 500 milligrams taken up to twice daily for 60 days. Its effect on the body when used for longer than 60 days is unknown. For this reason, long-term use should be avoided.
You run the risk of stomach problems if you take too much C. fimbriata. Be sure to pay attention to the product label and limit yourself to 500 milligrams at a time. As with any supplement, be sure to check with your doctor before taking it.
Research results on the effectiveness of C. fimbriata are mixed. Some studies say ithas little effect, and others say that it helps reduce hunger and helps people lose weight. No studies have showed any harmful effects from taking C. fimbriata at recommended dosages.
A study published in the journal
On the positive side, a review of clinical trials published in the journal
Another study published in
A study published in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences found that C. fimbriata extract significantly helped curb compulsive overeating among children and adolescents with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). This is a condition that leads to compulsive overeating. Researchers conducted a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial for 10 weeks with participants in Australia and New Zealand. Everyone took either C. fimbriata extract or a placebo for four weeks before a two-week break. After the break, participants switched groups. Those on the placebo took C. fimbriata extract, and vice versa. Results showed that the C. fimbriata helped curb appetite, with no adverse effects at any stage of the trial.
C. fimbriata may have other health benefits and is being researched for its role as an anticancer agent and as an effective antioxidant.
Although C. fimbriata is generally considered safe for consumption, you might experience some side effects when you first start ingesting it. These might include:
- stomach pain
- other gastrointestinal issues
If these issues don’t go away within a week, it’s best to stop taking the extract. See a doctor if the pain becomes severe.
C. fimbriata is a generally safe product to use as an addition to your weight-loss plan. You should always use it as a complement to a healthy diet and exercise routine, and not in place of it. Be sure to limit yourself to the recommended dosage — 500 milligrams for 60 days. Insufficient evidence is available on the effects of long-term use beyond 60 days.
If you are using a supplement, buy from a reputable source. Food supplements are not monitored by the FDA and could have issues with purity, strength, quality, and packaging. As always, consult a doctor before beginning any weight-loss and physical activity program, especially if you’ve been sedentary for an extended period of time.