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Herb Reference Guide

Acai

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History

Acai fruit is obtained from the Amazon River basin and plants are manually harvested from wild Acai palms (Euterpe oleraceae), which are native to this area. The actual fruit is deep purple in color and is about one inch in size, similar in size and appearance to a grape, but with less flesh. In many regions of Brazil, Acai makes up a major component of the native diet. Acai has become one of the main export products of the Amazon estuary to other regions of the world because of the high demand from the Acai beverage and natural product industry. The demand has rapidly increased because so much attention has been given to Acai's antioxidant capacity, phytochemical composition, and associated health benefits.*

Function

Acai is a potent antioxidant. The phytochemical property of Acai fruit has been characterized as containing a diversity of hydroxybenzoic acids and flavan-3-ols as well as cyanidin 3-O rutinoside with cyanidin 3-Oglucoside being the predominant anthocyanins. And according to its nutritional profile, Acai is naturally high in calcium. Acai fruit pulp is unique in that up to 9% of its total weight is a blend of healthy monounsaturated and essential fatty acids. Acai appears to have a high level of oral bioavailability as exhibited in a recent study in healthy human volunteers.

Uses of Acai

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Acai is 60% oleic acid, 22% palmitic acid, 12% linoleic acid, and 6% each of palmitoleic and stearic acids, along with other fatty acids. Five forms of plant sterols have also been identified including ?-sitosterol (78%), stigmasterol (6.55), ?5-avenasterol (6.5%), campsesterol (6.0%), and cholesterol (2.0%).

Parts Used

  • Berry

Important precautions

Additional Resources

Del Pozo-Insfran D, et al. Acai (Euterpe oleraceae mart.) Polyphenolics in their glycoside and Aglycone Forms Induce Apoptosis of HL-60 Leukemia Cells. J Agric Food Chem 2006;54(4):1222-1229. Del Pozo-Insfran D, et al. Phytochemical Composition and pigment Stability of Acai (Euterpe oleraceae mart.) J Agric Food Chem 2004;52(6):1539-1545. McGhie, T. K., Walton M. The bioavailablity and absorption of anthocyanins: Towards a better understanding. Mol Nutr Food Res 2007;51:702-713. Mertens-Talcott S.U., et al. Pharmacokinetics of Anthocyanins and Antioxidant Effects after the consumption of Anthocyanin-Rich Acai Juice
and Pulp (Euterpe oleraceae Mart.) in Human Healthy Volunteers. J Agric Food Chem 2008;56(17):7796-7802. Pacheco L.A., et al. Chemical Composition, Antioxidant Properties, and Thermal Stability of a Phytochemical Enriched Oil from Acai (Euterpe oleraceae Mart.) J Agric Food Chem 2008;56(12):4631-4636.
Pacheco L.A., et al. Absorption and Biological Activity of Phytochemical-Rich Extracts from Acai (Euterpe oleraceae Mart.) Pulp and oil in Vitro. J Agric
Food Chem 2008;56(10):3593-3600. Schauss A.G. et al. Antioxidant Capacity and other Bioactivities of the Freeze- Dried Amazonian Palm Berry, Euterpe oleraceae Mart. (Acai). J Agric Food Chem 2006;54(22):8604-8610. Schauss A.G. et al. Phytochemical and Nutrient Composition of the Freeze Dried Amazonian Palm Berry, Euterpe oleraceae Mart. (Acai). J Agric Food Chem 2006;54(22):8598-8603.