Acai berry (Euterpe oleracea) Herbal Medicine

Acai berry health Benefits, Dosage, Side effects and warnings..

Acai berry

Scientific Name: Euterpe oleracea

Other names:

Açaí Palm, Assai Palm, Acai Palma, Cabbage Palm, Pina Palm.

The açaí palm (Euterpe oleracea) is a species of palm tree in the genus Euterpe that is native to Southern America such as Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. But because of the recent growing demand for its fruit called Acai berry, tt has been largely cultivated for its fruits and hearts of the palm.
Acai palm Appearance: It has a single slender trunk that is topped with dark green pinnate leaves that emerge from a reddish crownshaft. The trunk is about 5 inches in diameter, covered with gray dry bark and ringed with scars from old leaves.
Flowers/Fruits: Acai produces small purple flowers that grow in clusters. Flowers are followed by green fruits that grow in bunches. The Acai fruit also called berries are round drupe about 1 inch in diameter with a single seed inside. Acai berry turns black-purple when ripe. The berries are the most valuable part of the tree, widely harvested for its health beneficial properties.

Acai berry Traditional Medicinal Uses and Health benefits

Acai berry has long been used by South American natives as a food source and as herbal remedy for varieties of ailments that includes the following:

Viral and bacterial borne diseases. Acai berry has been used to combat viral and bacterial borne diseases that  include influenza, Malaria, colds and coughs and fever.
Menstrual cramps. Acai berry can provide a soothing relief against pain and irritation, associated to menstruation.
Pain reliever. Acai berry is a good herbal remedy for body pains and joints pains that includes arthritis, gout, rheumatism and muscle pains.
Improves Digestive function. Acai berry can improve the digestive system and can prevent and treat conditions such as diarrhea and constipation.
Diabetes. Acai berry is a good herbal remedy for counteracting diabetes; it controls the sugar level in the body.
Hemorrhages. Acai berry pulp is used to treat haemorrhages.
Kindney Diseases. Acai berry is also used by the indigenous people for the treatment of kidney related problems.
Protects the liver. It is believed that the compounds contained in Acai berry has hepatoprotective activity that guards the Liver against various ailments. It is used in the treatment of hepatitis and jaundice disease.
Relaxant. Acai berry is taken to relax the body and promote good sleep and restfulness.
Skin diseases. Acai berry is used to treat various skin diseases that include eczema, psoriasis, cuts, wounds and bruises.
Improves the immune system.  Acai berry is consumed to promote and strengthen the Immune system of our body.

In recent years, its popularity reached the United States and more acai health benefits were claimed by its proponents. Acai products started to be marketed from supplements to food products promising varieties of health benefits that now includes the following:

Anti cancer activity. It is known as a strong antioxidant and that it prevents the growth of cancer cells and tumours in the human body.
Anti-aging. Acai berry is also widely used as an elixir against aging. It improves the skin tone and texture maintaining youthful looking skin.
Hair Care. Acai berry has been used to keep the hair healthy. It is effectively used in keeping beautiful and lustrous hair...
Eye care. Acai berry has been known to provide health benefits for the eyes. It provides relief and from tiredness and protects them against various eye problems.
Provides health benefits to the heart. Acai has been used to correct irregular heart beat and protect from other heart related ailments. It is rich in vitamin B complex that is beneficial in maintaining healthy cells and preventing the development of other heart diseases that may include atherosclerosis,  Carpal tunnel Syndrome and Anemia.
Erectile dysfunction. Acai berry is also used a supplement to treat erectile dysfunction in men.
Weight loss. Acai berry is popularly known as a weight reducing tonic by stimulating the body’s metabolism, improving digestion, and effectively burning and eliminating fats.
High blood pressure. It is also believed to lower high blood pressure.
Blood cholesterol. Acai is also taken to reduce the level of bad cholesterol while maintaining a good level of good cholesterol.
Enhances brain and mental function. Acai berry has been used to stabilize the mood, increase brain activity and is being considered a potential cure for Alzheimer disease.

Scientific Studies Relating to Acai berry (Euterpe oleracea)

Antioxidant Benefit From Acai Berry

In a study done in Life Sciences, Washington USA as published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Nov 2006, it was reported that acai berry has demonstrated high antioxidant capacity in vitro against superoxide and peroxyl scavenging. This antioxidant health benefit of acai has been confirmed using assay analysis reporting that the total superoxide scavenging reached 1614 units/g, by far the highest among all fruits and vegetables tested. Using assay analysis of the reactive oxygen species formed in a human cell, it was found that antioxidants from acai were able to penetrate the cells in functional form, absorbing oxygen at low doses. These results suggest the effective antioxidant capacity of acai berry against free radicals.

Immune System Boosting Benefits From Acai Berry

It has been reported that in some cases of infections, antibiotic regimens are not always effective and activating the innate immune system is an alternative means of treating infections and can also complement antibiotic therapies. In a study done in Montana University, USA, as reported in the Journal PLoS Pathog, 2012, the immune system boosting activity of acai berry has been investigated. In vitro tests showed that polysaccharides from acai berry impaired the replication of broad spectrum infection. It also provides protection against further infections by inhibiting bacterial dissimilation to other cells. These results suggest that acai berry possess immune system boosting health benefits against a broad spectrum of virulent intracellular pathogens.

Neuroprotective Benefits From Acai Berry

The Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston Mass. USA. conducted an investigation on the benefits of acai berry in modulating signals in hippocampal neurons. Oxidative stress and inflammation is associated to age related diseases of the brain that can compromise memory, learning, and movement. Results have shown that acai berry fractions resulted in significant decreases in nitrite production, accompanied by a reduction in inducible nitric oxide synthase expression in lipopolysaccharide stress induced oxidative stress and inflammation. These suggests that acai berry pulp fractions can offer protective health benefits on brain cells that have implications for improved cognitive and motor functions.

Metabolic Benefits Of Acai Berry

Nutrition Journal of May 2011 reported the metabolic health benefits of acai berry for healthy overweight population. The study was done by Medicus Research in California USA where overweight subjects were tested for fasting glucose, cholesterol and insulin levels after being administered with 10 grams of acai berry pulp daily for 1 month. Results have shown that compared to baseline, there was an improvement in the metabolic parameters indicating a positive confirmation of the health benefits of acai berry for overweight population.

Acai Benefits Against Mast Cell Activation Disease

Mast cell activation disease comprises disorders characterized by accumulation of genetically altered mast cells and/or abnormal release of these cells' mediators, affecting functions in potentially every organ system. The antioxidant health benefit from acai berry made it a potential agent for the suppression of mast cell activation. A study done in Kobe Women’s University, Japan, that was reported in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, may 2011, investigated the effects of acai against antigen-induced degranulation in rats. Results have shown that acai is a potent inhibitor of IgE-mediated mast cell activation and further studies is recommended for human subjects.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits Of Acai Berry

A study reported by NIS Labs, Oregon USA has evaluated the effects of oral acai berry on pain and range of motion that was published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, July 2011. The study involved 14 individuals with limited range of motion including those with osteoarthritis. The subjects were given Mona Vie Active, a fruit juice containing acai berry for 12 weeks. Results have shown that consumption of the juice resulted in significant pain reduction, improved range of motion measures, and improvement in activities in daily living. The study recommends further study on the significant association among increased antioxidant status, improved ROM, and pain reduction.

Athero-Protective Health Benefits Of Acai Juice

Atherosclerosis. June 2011 reported that açaí juice attenuates atherosclerosis in ApoE deficient mice through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. This study was done in University of Arkansas, USA, involving mice with apolipoprotien E deficiency. Acai berry juice was given for 5 weeks and results have shown that there is significant reduction of lipid preoxidation and inflammatory cytokine production. This suggests the athero-protective health benefit from acai juice.

Protective Benefits Of Acai Against Emphysema

Food and Chemical Toxicology. April 2011, has reported that a study was done in the Departamento de Farmacologia e Psicobiologia in Brazil to investigate the protective effects of acai against emphysema. Cigarette smoke is the primary cause of emphysema and the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of acai may have potential benefit against cigarette smoke exposure. Acai was added to cigarette in a mice model where it is chronically exposed for 60 days. Results have shown that the presence of açai extract in cigarettes had a protective effect against emphysema in mice, probably by reducing oxidative and inflammatory reactions. These results raise the possibility that addition of açaí extract to normal cigarettes could reduce their harmful effects.

Acai berry (Euterpe oleracea) Usage, Dosage, Side effects

Where can I get or buy Acai berry?

As a fruit berry, Acai can be available in Southern Americas or can be bought in select fruit stores and supermarkets in other areas. Acai berry can be eaten raw, or prepared as juice. Acai berry is now widely used as flavouring in commercially prepared beverage, ice cream, jelly, juices and liqueurs.

Acai berry as an herbal medicine may be bought in powder or as frozen acai pulp. Acai is also available in liquid extract, in capsules and tablets.

Acai is available in most drug stores and health stores. Acai can also be bought in online stores such as ebay and amazon where it listed: Organic ACAI Powder - by Feel Good Organics, a widely reviewed product which indicate that it may be a product with quality.

Acai berry use Warnings and Side Effects

Acai berry may be considered safe for most people when used at recommended dosage by health practitioner or by the product label.

Pregnancy and Breast feeding. There is no sufficient studies done to investigate the adverse or side effects of acai berry consumption during pregnancy and breast feeding. Stay in the safe side, avoid using acai berry herbal medicines.

Allergy. Acai has been known to cause allergic reaction to sensitive people.

Nausea and vomiting. In rare cases, the intake of Acai may cause nausea and vomiting as a side effect.

The intake of raw acai has been associated with Chagas Disease or American trypanosomiasis.

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Article last reviewed: 10.24.2016