The use of Caralluma fimbriata as an appetite suppressant and weight loss supplement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials

BMC Complement Med Ther. 2021 Nov 10;21(1):279. doi: 10.1186/s12906-021-03450-8.


Background: Obesity prevalence has increased during the past few decades, causing a pandemic with an influx in other co-morbidities. Many factors influence weight gain in an obesogenic environment therefore strategies for treating obesity may vary from conventional dietary and physical activity interventions to pharamacotherapy. A shift in unconventional strategies as herbal products for treating obesity have been investigated and one such plant extract is Caralluma fimbriata (C. fimbriata). Further, the studies included were systematically reviewed to gather evidence on potential effects of C. fimbriata as an appetite suppressant and weight loss supplement.

Methods: A systematic review of clinical trials reporting the effects of C. fimbriata as appetite suppression and anti-obesity supplement was reported according to PRISMA guidelines. Data were obtained by searching three databases: PubMed®, Web of Science® and SciVerse Scopus® for studies published until 30th April 2020.

Results: A total of 7 articles studying C. fimbriata satisfied the inclusion and exclusion criteria and were sourced from various countries including Australia (3), Cuba (1), India (2) and Spain (1). Almost all studies recruited adults who were overweight or obese with a BMI > 25 kg/m2 (n = 5), with the exception of two studies, one that recruited healthy adults with a BMI average of 26.5 kg/m2 and the second one utilised a population of children and adolescents with Prader-Willis Syndrome (PWS). Parameters assessing obesity, biochemical and appetite factors were analysed by carrying out a meta-analysis. Compared to placebo controlled group, C. fimbriata extract significantly reduced WC by 1.59 cm (95% CI, - 3.07 to - 0.10, p = 0.041) and WHR by 0.06 (95% CI, - 0.12 to - 0.01, p = 0.05) although no significant effects were seen on BW, BMI and HC. Biochemical and appetite parameters outcome on C. fimbriata consumption had no significant changes. Any side effects of individuals who ingested the extract were reported by few studies of which most common effects were constipation, diarrhoea, nausea and rashes.

Conclusion: Appetite parameters showed no significant changes and metabolic parameters did not improve with C.fimbriata supplementation therefore it is unlikely to recommend C. fimbriata as a weight loss supplement and an appetite suppressant.

Keywords: Appetite; Caralluma fimbriata; Obesity; Slimluma; Weight loss.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Apocynaceae*
  • Appetite Depressants / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Weight Loss / drug effects*


  • Appetite Depressants
  • Plant Extracts