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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.
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.
Copyright © 2013 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Aisle7.com
The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.