Updated 11/15/21. Caralluma fimbriata , also known as C. Fimbriate is a species of cactus native to India and grown in other parts of the world. It has a reputation for being able to naturally suppress appetite and help weight loss. So does Caralluma fimbriata really work? In this review, you'll discover the research, dosage, and potential side effects to help you decide if it's right for you.
Where Does Caralluma Come From?
There are over 260 species of Caralluma found throughout India, Asia, and the Mediterranean and is known by signature red, 5-star flowers. Caralluma fimbriata is found mostly in India although supplement companies may also import it from China. On supplement labels, it may also be called C. Fimbriate, Yugmaphallottama, and Wild Succulent Cactus.
What is Caralluma fimbriata Used For?
People use Caralluma for many reasons but the most popular are:
- weight loss
- appetite suppression
- hair growth
Let's look at the evidence for each.
Caralluma fimbriata & Weight Loss
The cactus has a reputation for reducing the hunger of tribesmen in India while they were hunting for food. It's thought that the cactus tricks the brain into thinking you are not hungry. Some research has noted Caralluma can raise the hunger hormone leptin which also lends credence to its anti-hunger effects. Higher leptin levels mean you feel less hungry.
So, does it work? In one study, 50 overweight people were given 1000 mg of C. Fimbriate extract or a placebo for 2 months. People takin
g the supplement rated that their hunger was less and their waist circumference decreased too. While that is good, weight loss was not different from when people took a placebo.
Other researchers also saw a decline in appetite and reduced waist circumference when they gave 1000 mg of Caralluma to 43 overweight people for 3 months. In addition, people taking Caralluma reported being less tempted by food too.
Another study has also shown the cactus reduced appetite in children and adolescents with Prader–Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that can cause excessive hunger and weight gain. This anti-appetite effect has been observed in other reports of people with Prader–Willi syndrome too.
It's worth noting that at least 2 investigations have used a patented type of Caralluma extract called Slimaluma, made by GenCor Pacific. This may be an ingredient worth looking for if you consider a dietary supplement.
Does All Evidence Say It Works? No.
Not all studies are positive. In one study, C. Fimbriate did not reduce the waist circumference or appetite more than a placebo when researchers gave 1000 mg to 89 overweight people for 3 months.
What Does This Mean?
For the moment, the research does not prove Caralluma fimbriata helps weight loss although some research suggests it may curb appetite. That said in a review of 7 previous investigations, the researcher concluded C fimbriata appetite suppressants did not work. If it works, results may be mild and it may not work for everyone. Claims that Caralluma burns fat or prevents the formation of new fat cells have not been proven in human clinical studies.
Caralluma fimbriata Weight Loss Evidence
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Caralluma Fimbriata and Blood Pressure
If the cactus helped you lose weight, then in theory it might lower your blood pressure. Weight loss -even as little as 7% of body weight – has been shown to benefit people with hypertension (high blood pressure).
But is it possible supplements might do the opposite and raise blood pressure? Fears of this, probably trace back to one study. In that investigation, 89 people were given 1000 mg of the C. Fimbriate extract or a placebo for 3 months. Of those 89 people, 2% showed a rise in blood pressure. That's basically 1 person out of 89 people.
Based on this, it's unlikely that supplements would raise blood pressure. Those with hypertension who really want to know should monitor their blood pressure.
What About Diabetes?
Some studies have shown the cactus reduces abdominal circumference. Carrying excess weight in your midsection can raise the risk of type II diabetes as well as heart attacks. However, in those same studies, people did not lose weight – which can also lower diabetes and heart disease risk. This makes it difficult to know how well it works. So far, it's not known if Caralluma supplements lower the risk of diabetes or heart disease.
Does Caralluma Fimbriata Help Anxiety?
Researchers in Australia recruited 89 people with mild to moderate anxiety and gave them either 1000 mg of the cactus extract or a placebo. The study lasted 8 weeks. Those taking Caralluma Fimbriata reported significantly reduced anxiety and stress levels. Oddly, those taking the placebo also reported improved stress and anxiety too although the effect was greater in those taking the cactus supplement. In men, the supplement also reduced cortisol levels. No reduction in cortisol was seen in women, however.
Caralluma Fimbriata For Exercise
The cactus is a succulent plant, so it has a lot of water. Dehydration can severely reduce the ability to exercise. Based on its water content, it's possible the cactus may improve exercise such as long-distance running. However, no studies have put this to the test. Endurance athletes who want to try it should keep in mind, supplements contain the dried powder of the plant. They have no water. Athletes should avoid consuming any new supplement or food, prior to their official sporting events until they know what side effects they might experience.
Caralluma vs. Hoodia Gordonnii
Hoodia Gorgonnii is another cactus long rumored to curb appetite and support weight management. It grows in Africa's Kalahari Desert and has a reputation of curbing hunger in tribesmen who go out for long hunts, searching for food. While there is some research on hoodia, so far no studies have compared these two cactus plants to each other. See the Hoodia Review.
Anti-Cancer Cancer Effects
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in America. Researchers have observed C. Fimbriate can kill colon cancer cells and perhaps other types of cancer too. This is encouraging but research is in its infancy and limited to observing what happens to isolated cells in a petri dish or test tube. To know for sure if treats or prevents cancer, researchers would need to give it to people and see what happens. So far, investigations like that have not been published.
Can It Regrow Hair?
Caralluma contains beta-sitosterol, a phytonutrient, found in many hair growth supplements. Beta-sitosterol, also found in the herb, saw palmetto, blocks the conversion of testosterone into DHT, a hormone linked to hair loss. Some hair growth drugs work by blocking DHT too. While encouraging, caralluma supplements have not been evaluated to see if they stimulate follicle growth in people.
How Much Do You Use?
Most studies use 1000 mg a day. It's wise to break up the dosage instead of taking it all at one time. So, rather than taking 1000 mg for appetite suppression, consider taking 500 mg before lunch and another 500 mg before dinner. To reduce any side effects you may have, think about starting with even less for the first week. Some studies have used a specific brand called Slimaluma, which is made by a company called GenCor Pacific.
Caralluma Side Effects
The FDA has granted C. Fimbriate GRAS status, indicating that it's generally recognized as safe. That's good. Adverse events reported in some studies include nauseous feelings, bloating, and rash. Not everyone experiences side effects but if you do, stop taking the supplement and see if you feel better. Here are some things to consider when taking this supplement.
- Start with less than recommended for the first week
- Avoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Little is known about how Caralluma interacts with medications so ask your doctor and pharmacist first
- Stop taking at least 2 weeks before having surgery
- When in doubt, speak to your doctor first
Caralluma Pros & Cons
|Human studies exist||Weight Loss effect needs more proof|
|May curb appetite||More quality studies needed|
|Minimal side effects|
|May help anxiety/stress|
Does Caralluma Fimbriata Work?
Various studies have documented the ability of the cactus to curb appetite. While this is good, it has not been conclusively shown to help people lose weight. Remember, reducing appetite and weight loss may not mean the same thing. Also intriguing is the apparent ability of Caralluma to help anxiety and stress.
It’s strange in that this substance seems to decrease waist circumference, but not reduce weight. What do you think accounts for this?
Joe Cannon says
Roseann, I agree. very strange. The first thing that comes to mind is whether it’s possible that caralluma caused fluid shifts in the body, moving fluid away from the abs to somewhere else. Ive not heard anyone discuss this though.
I’m a bicyclist and found your section on Caralluma and exercise interesting. I’ve never heard of any cyclist using Caralluma during events. Do you have more information on this? Id like to show this to my coach.
Joe Cannon says
Hi Nick, I looked for more research but I could not find any. It appears nobody has tested Caralluma to see if it improves exercise endurance. If it works my guess would be due to the water and electrolytes – like kind of a natural Gatoraid.