Camu Camu is becoming increasingly popular as a health supplement for its supposed antioxidant properties
This isn't a fruit you'll find on a tree or bush in your neighbourhood: Camu camu is a low-growing shrub found throughout the Amazon rain forests of Peru and Brazil. It produces a lemon sized, light orange to purplish red fruit with yellow pulp. This fruit is packed with more natural vitamin C than any other food source recorded on the planet, in addition to beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorus, protein, serine, thiamin, leucine, and valine. These powerful phytochemicals and amino acids have a surprising range of therapeutic effects.
Natural health aficionados claim that camu camu has anti-viral properties that can help with cold sores, herpes, shingles, and the common cold. Others say some of the most interesting benefits of camu camu include its ability to boost the immune system, protect against chronic diseases, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body, prevent viral infections, reduce mood swings, promote eye health, protect the sexual organ system, and prevent cognitive disorders.
CAMU CAMU (Botanical name: Myrciaria dubia)
Although the scientific name is technically Myrciaria dubia, most of the world knows this miraculous little fruit as camu camu, or perhaps cacari, depending on where in the world you happen to be. This tree that grows on riverbanks is most commonly found in South America, in Peru and Brazil, and its fruit is a small, cherry-like drupe. These fruits weren’t known to the rest of the world until relatively recently, and the major importer is actually Japan, but as more and more is discovered about its remarkable nutritional composition, the demand is increasing. While the fruit is relatively easy to harvest, there is still not large-scale cultivation outside of South America, making it a very important crop.
Why don’t we take a closer look at the many health benefits of camu camu.
Vitamin C Content: There’s no way to talk about camu camu without first mentioning the massive amount of vitamin C found in this remarkable little drupe. Camu camu has one of the highest concentrations of vitamin Cof any food source, and since vitamin C is not only vital for human health, but also impossible to naturally create in our bodies, having a rich source like camu camu is a huge advantage. Also, the synthetic vitamin C that has recently been injected into foods to boost their potency is not nearly as beneficial as naturally occurring vitamin C. Ascorbic acid stimulates white blood cell production, which significantly boosts the immune system, and is also a key component in collagen production, which helps repair and develop cells, tissues, and organs. Just as a comparison, camu camu has 200 times more vitamin C than abanana in terms of vitamin C per ounce.
Cognitive Ability: The various antioxidant effects of camu camu, some of which are derived from the huge amount of vitamin C, also help to eliminate plaque build-up in the cognitive pathways, often caused by free radicals and oxidative stress. Camu camu has been linked to preventing certain cognitive disorders, such asAlzheimer’s disease and dementia. It can also boost cognitive ability in younger people, increasing focus, memory, and concentration skills.
Anti-Inflammatory Activity: Vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammatory substance, but the other nutrients and amino acids found in camu camu, such as anthocyanins, catechins, and flavonols, are also potent anti-inflammatory agents. For people who suffer from everything from arthritis and gout to hemorrhoids and headaches, camu camu can offer pain relief and soothe inflammation.
Cancer Prevention: Everyone is looking for the magical cure for cancer, and while it hasn’t been discovered yet, antioxidant compounds like those found in such abundance in camu camu, are often considered the best natural remedy to prevent the development or spread of certain types of cancers. Camu camu has dozens of antioxidant compounds in its tiny little package, so load up on these cancer-fighting drupes whenever you can!
Mood Swings: Some research has indicated that camu camu can have a relaxing effect on the body, acting almost as a sedative, which can certainly help to balance mood swings and soothe mental anxiety. Although the exact pathway isn’t completely clear, the high levels of magnesium and other vitamins that reduce inflammation and calm the body are likely the cause behind this important health benefit, particularly for people suffering from depression or menopausal mood swings.
Antiviral and Antibacterial Properties: The natural antiseptic qualities of camu camu make it ideal for fending off bacterial and viral infections, including E. coli and various sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes. This makes camu camu a powerful dietary supplement for everyone, as our immune systems are constantly under attack by these foreign agents.
Fertility: Camu camu has been shown to prevent infertility by specifically protecting the health of sexual organs and ensuring proper functioning of those systems.
Muscle Tone: The diverse blend of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and organic compounds found within camu camu make it one of the most complete health foods out there, but that combination also facilitates the growth and protection of muscles. If you are looking to boost your metabolism and increase your muscle tone, eating camu camu can be an ideal workout complement.
Vision Health: Carotenoids are primarily praised for their ability to protect eye health as an antioxidant, although they do have other important roles in the body. By eliminating oxidative stress in the ocular system, camu camu’s carotenoids can prevent the onset of macular degeneration and the development of cataracts, allowing you to see clearly well into your old age!
Digestion: The dietary fiber content of camu camu isn’t as remarkable as its vitamin C content, but it is still significant, and can help boost your overall health by optimizing your digestive processes and even protecting your heart from the dangers of unbalanced cholesterol levels. Fiber also regulates the activity of insulin receptors in the body, thereby helping to manage and even prevent diabetes.
A Final Word of Warning: Camu camu is not known as an allergenic food, and can be taken in conjunction with other pharmaceuticals and supplements. If you suffer from gout or other uric acid-related conditions, camu camu may exacerbate the symptoms, so be sure to consult a medical professional before adding it to your diet.
Camu camu has astringent, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, emollient and nutritional properties.