Garcinia Cambogia, known as Goraka (Sinhala) and Kodukkaippuli (Tamil) is a medium evergreen, shade-loving, relatively slow growing tree naturally found in the local tropical rainforests of Sri Lanka. The tree is small to medium sized with horizontal or drooping branches.
Its bark is blackish and rough with dark-yellow latex.The leaves are dark green, relatively thick and shiny. The leaves grow to be 5-13cm long and 2-8am broad. Goraka flowers are white blooms from February to April. The fruit is yellow, purple or reddishwith 7–13 very deep vertical grooves. The flesh of the fruit is mild to distinctly acidic. Six to eight seeds, 2.5 cm long and 1.6 cm wide cling to the flesh of the fruit.
Goraka has been used in Sri Lanka since ancient times for culinary and medicinal purposes. The young Goraka fruits are green in color and it will gradually turn yellow when ripe. Once fully ripe, fruits are collected, cut in half, deseeded and sun-dried for a day. The sun-dried fruit halves are smoked till black, and are rubbed with a mixture of salt and oil before transferring to earthenware pots and tightly sealed. These will stay fresh for years. Before use, the pieces are washed under running water to remove any dust accumulated from the drying and smoking process. It is then soaked for 10 minutes in water.
Gorakahas become the latest novelty to hit the health industry and has become in demand all over the world. Recent clinical studies have shown the effectiveness of Goraka in tackling weight loss and boosting the immune system. The famous Dr. Oz has also featured Gorakaas an effective fat burner that people around the world can use to lose their unwanted weight.
The popularity of Goraka in ancient Sri Lanka is explained by its uses in Toponymy. Common names of places inspired by this ancient crop include Gorakawatte, Gorakawela and Gorokkanda It is cultivated in home gardens in the wet and intermediate zones. It has tremendous potential as a cash crop and foreign revenue from Goraka is expected to increase exponentially.