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Complementary and Alternative Medicine - Cam

Search Health Information    Açaí

Açaí

Uses

Common names:
Açaí-do-baixo Amazonas, Açaí-do-para, Açaizeiro, Assaí, Palmito açaí, Piriá
Botanical names:
Euterpe oleracea Mart.

Parts Used & Where Grown

Clusters of round, dark purple-to-black, berry-shaped açaí fruits are harvested to make juice, ice pops, and herbal supplements. Ethnobotanists have also documented folk medicine uses for the seed oil, fruit rind, and roots. The inner core of the thin trunk of the açaí tree is well-known as the source of hearts of palm. Açaí is primarily grown in the Pará region of the Amazon estuary, in the northern region of Brazil. It also grows in French Guyana, Panama, Ecuador, and Trinidad.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Anemia
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Açaí contains iron (approximately 1.5 to 5 mg per 3.5 ounces of fruit).1 Although it has been traditionally used to help treat anemia, the amount of iron in açaí is not likely to be abundant or absorbable enough to have a significant effect.

1 Star
Dysmenorrhea
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Açaí is reported to be a traditional remedy for dysmenorrhea. There is preliminary evidence that anthocyanins from bilberry, some of which are also found in açaí, may help with dysmenorrhea symptoms.2 However, there have been no clinical trials investigating açaí’s effect on dysmenorrhea.

1 Star
Fever
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Roasted, crushed açaí seeds, consumed as tea, are a traditional remedy for fever.
1 Star
Hepatitis
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Açaí root tea has reportedly been used as a traditional remedy for hepatitis. Certain anthocyanins have been shown to prevent liver toxicity, but açaí root contains no appreciable amounts of anthocyanins. No clinical trials of any part of açaí for hepatitis have been published.

Preliminary human research demonstrates some efficacy for the mushroom reishi in treating chronic hepatitis B; however, additional clinical trials are needed.3

1 Star
Type 1 Diabetes
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Açaí is reported to be a traditional remedy for diabetes. Although oxidative stress may contribute to diabetes4 and anthocyanins may improve insulin secretion,5 there is no published evidence that açaí has any effect on diabetes.
1 Star
Type 2 Diabetes
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Açaí is reported to be a traditional remedy for diabetes. Although oxidative stress may contribute to diabetes6 and anthocyanins may improve insulin secretion,7 there is no published evidence that açaí has any effect on diabetes.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Açaí juice is a major dietary component of Brazilian diets, especially in the Pará region. It is often eaten at breakfast with cassava meal (manioc) or with tapioca and sugar. The açaí fruit is rich in nutrients and is found in many Brazilian prepared foods. The fruit is most popularly used to make juice, but is also found in ice cream, popsicles, and various desserts.

Açaí seeds can be crushed to produce a green oil that has been used as a folk remedy for scrofula (a type of tuberculosis). The roasted, crushed seeds, consumed as tea, are a traditional remedy for fever. Tea made from the root is a folk remedy for jaundice and anemia. Tea made from the grated fruit rind has been used topically as a wash for skin ulcers. Boiled preparations of açaí root have been used traditionally to treat many diseases, including diabetes, hepatitis, malaria, kidney disease, and dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain).

No clinical trials of açaí for the prevention or treatment of any health condition have been published in the medical literature.

How It Works

Common names:
Açaí-do-baixo Amazonas, Açaí-do-para, Açaizeiro, Assaí, Palmito açaí, Piriá
Botanical names:
Euterpe oleracea Mart.

How It Works

Açaí is one of nature’s richest sources of anthocyanins—a type of bioflavonoid. Anthocyanins make up the purple, red, and blue-black pigments found within certain berries, fruits, plants, and flowers. The fruit of açaí also contains protein, fiber, enzymes, vitamin E, amino acids, minerals (potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, zinc, and boron), phytosterols, and beneficial fatty acids.

How to Use It

Frozen pulp: approximately 100 grams (3.5 ounces) per day is recommended, although there is no accepted standard. Brazilians commonly drink up to a liter (34 ounces) of açaí juice per day.

Powder: 1 ounce of powder mixed with 10 to 12 ounces of water, once or twice a day.

Freeze-dried açaí in capsules or tablets is sometimes recommended at 1 to 2 grams per day.

Interactions

Common names:
Açaí-do-baixo Amazonas, Açaí-do-para, Açaizeiro, Assaí, Palmito açaí, Piriá
Botanical names:
Euterpe oleracea Mart.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Common names:
Açaí-do-baixo Amazonas, Açaí-do-para, Açaizeiro, Assaí, Palmito açaí, Piriá
Botanical names:
Euterpe oleracea Mart.

Side Effects

At the time of writing, there were no well-known side effects caused by this supplement.

References

1. Yuyama LKO, Dias RR, Nagahama D, et al. Acai ( Euterpe oleracea Mart.) and camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia (H.B.K.) Mc Vaugh), do they possess anti-anemic action? Acta Amazonica2002;32:625–33.

2. Colombo D and Vescovini R: Controlled clinical trial of anthocyanosides from Vaccinium myrtillus in primary dysmenorrhea. G Ital Obstet Ginecol 1985;7:1033–8.

3. Hobbs, C. Medicinal Mushrooms. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press, 1995, 96–107.

4. Maxwell SR, et al. Poor glycaemic control is associated with reduced serum free radical scavenging (antioxidant) activity in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Ann Clin Biochem 1997;34( Pt 6):638–44.

5. Jayaprakasam B, Vareed SK, Olson LK, Nair MG. Insulin secretion by anthocyanins and anthocyanidins. J Agric Food Chem 2005;53:28–31.

6. Maxwell SR, et al. Poor glycaemic control is associated with reduced serum free radical scavenging (antioxidant) activity in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Ann Clin Biochem 1997;34( Pt 6):638–44.

7. Jayaprakasam B, Vareed SK, Olson LK, Nair MG. Insulin secretion by anthocyanins and anthocyanidins. J Agric Food Chem 2005;53:28–31.

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