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CAB Reviews

A reviews journal covering agriculture, global health, nutrition, natural resources and veterinary science

CAB Review

The genus Garcinia L. - genetic resources diversity and utilization.


The Clusiaceae family is widespread in tropical regions and includes 27 genera, among which is the genus Garcinia Lin. Garcinia species have multiple applications in traditional and industrial fields. Although these species are gaining much attention worldwide due to their traditional uses and potential bioactivities, such information, usually scattered in diverse literature or other unpublished sources, is not easily accessible to give a comprehensive picture of the value in use of this genus. The current review aims to summarize the main Garcinia genus diversity traits and to produce an indicative checklist of the species utilization. Of the approximate 418 Garcinia species with accepted species names according to the online working list of all plant species (The Plant List) database (accessed until October 2019), a total of 60 (14.4%) species recorded with accepted scientific names were widely used in many regions or countries worldwide for multipurpose aims. The use categories include building and equipment material, colouring, cosmetic, ecosystem service, fodder, food product, industrial raw material, latex, medicine, miscellaneous products, spice and condiment, veterinary medicine and wood. Almost every plant part was found to be useful in these different use categories. There is an increased demand for plant-derived natural products worldwide. The checklist of useful species hereby provided is a starting point for deep knowledge of the genus potential. As essential prerequisites for a better planning of sustainable resource utilization, such knowledge has a direct bearing in attempts to promote the most useful species as raw material for plant-based products in industrial sectors such as food, cosmetic or pharmaceutical. This assumes a thorough assessment and selection of the most important and widely used Garcinia species for further development such as bio-essays or clinical tests, specification establishments for official compendia, pharmacopoeias or formularies.