Gaia Herbs | plant intelligence

Herb Reference Guide

Acerola

History

The Acerola is a deciduous tree, believed to originate from the Yucatan, and is distributed from South Texas through Mexico and Central America to northern South America (Venezuela, Surinam, Columbia) and throughout the Caribbean (Bahamas to Trinidad). Acerola has now been successfully introduced in sub-tropical areas throughout the world (Southeast Asia, India, South America), and some of the largest plantings are in Brazil. It produces a bright red fruit similar to a cherry that is incredibly rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C. Because the thin-skinned fruits are easily bruised and quickly deteriorate once picked, the fresh fruit is not distributed commercially.

Function

Due to the very high content of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, Acerola has commercial uses as a natural preservative, reducing oxidation, which is in fact why it is also used as a nutritional supplement. The average content of vitamin C is around 1.7 g/100 g of pulp, higher than other fruits tested, like pineapple, cashew, guava, kiwi, orange, lemon, and strawberry, but lower than the Camu-Camu fruit of Amazonia. Since this vitamin C is naturally bound and occurs with all of its cofactors, it is also a more gentle and easily assimilated form of vitamin C than synthetic ascorbic acid.

Uses of Acerola

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

Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Beta Carotene, Potassium, B6, Niacin, Essential Fatty Acids

Parts Used

  • Fruit

Important precautions

Additional Resources

Hanamura T, Aoki H. Toxicological evaluation of polyphenol extract from Acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) fruit J Food Sci. 2008 May;73(4):T55-61.

Hassimotto NM, Genovese MI, Lajolo FM. Antioxidant activity of dietary fruits, vegetables, and commercial frozen fruit pulps. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Apr 20;53(8):2928-35.