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Açaí (Euterpe oleracea)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Açaí, açaí flour, açaí palm, açaí preto (Portuguese), acaí-do-Pará (Portuguese), açaizeiro (Portuguese), Amazonian palm, Amazonian palm berry, anthocyanins, antioxidant, asai, ashaí, assaí, beta-sitosterol, cabbage palm, calcium, cansin, (+)-catechin, chonta, cyanidin, cyanidin 3-diglycoside, cyanidin 3-glucoside, cyanidin 3-rutoside, ellagic acid, ellagitannins, epicatechin, Euterpe badiocarpa, Euterpe oleracea Mart., fat, fatty acids, ferulic acid, fiber, flavonoids, gallic acid, guasai, hasabis, hausai, heart of palm, homoorientin, huai, isovitexin, iron, jicara, juçara, linoleic acid, manac, manaka, manicole, MonaVie®, MonaVie Active®, monounsaturated oleic acid, morroke, naidí, oleic acid, omega-6 fatty acids, omega-9 fatty acids, OptiAçai™, orientin, palisade pine, palm heart, palmitic acid, palmiteiro, palmito, panan, p-coumaric acid, pelargonidin 3-glucoside, phenolic acid, phosphorus, p-hydroxy-benzoic acid, phytonutrients, phytosterols, pina, pinau, pinot, piriá, polyphenols, potassium, prasara, proanthocyanidins, procyanidins, protein, protocatechuic acid, saké, scoparin, sugar, sulfur, taxifolin deoxyhexose, uassi, ungurahua, vanillic acid, vinho de açaí (Portuguese), vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin C, vitamin E, wasei, wapoe, yisara, yuyu chonta.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Açaí (acai) is a berry grown on the açaí palm tree (Euterpe oleracea), which is native to tropical Central and South America and grows mainly in floodplains and swamps. It produces small flowers that are brown to purple in color.
  • Although the soft interior stem may be used as a source for heart of palm, açaí is better known for its fruit, which tastes like a blend of berry and chocolate. The açaí fruit is round, reddish-purple, and 1-2cm in diameter, with the seeds constituting about 80% of the fruit. The açaí berry is a relative of the blueberry, cranberry, and other dark purple fruits. A variety of açaí berry products are available for consumers, including juices, powders, tablets, and capsules.
  • Research on açaí fruit has centered on its potential antioxidant properties (1;2;3;4). In laboratory research, açaí has also displayed anticancer (5;6) and anti-inflammatory activity (3), possibly related to its antioxidant content. Preliminary in vivo experimentation has also indicated that açaí fruit pulp may be a useful alternative oral contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (7).
  • In healthy, overweight subjects, a specific açaí product was found to reduce levels of select markers of metabolic disease risk, and it was used safely for up to one month (4). Additional research is warranted.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.