There are small plants that give us many benefits with their properties, also the Mother Nature gives us through giant trees, exquisite, and beneficial fruits. Among these we have one, with a very peculiar name, Camu Camu.
The Camu Camu is the fruit of a tree that grows originally in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, especially in areas where water is plentiful, “cochas”, lakes and streams. Its scientific name is Myrciria Dubia, and is known by several common names, such as guava, myrtle, coconut-carette, escobillo.
It is shrub, about 3 m to 8 m tall, belonging to the family of Myrtaceae, with branches that come from the ground, the slender trunk, can develop up to 15 cm in diameter, light brown bark, smooth, with flakes that come off easily in the dry season, with the upper branches “hispiduladas”. Ovoid leaf or elliptical to lanceolate from 4.5 to 12,0 cm long and 1.5 to 4.5 cm wide, acuminate apex, entire margin and slightly wavy. Axillary inflorescence with four flowers arranged in two pairs subsessile bracts rounded and “cilidas”. White petals. It can be propagated by seed or by graft. The planting density is approximately 833 plants per hectare.
The camu camu natural habitat is the forest flood, being a riverine species, tolerant to flooding, can be completely submerged in water for four to five months. In these areas the rainfall is between 1.700 to 4.000 mm / year, average temperature for cultivation is 25 ° C or more, with a minimum annual average above 20 º C.
The fruit is a globosely berry, 10 to 40 mm in diameter, red to violet, soft, with one to three seeds, each one can be 8 to 15 mm long, flattened conspicuously covered by a mesh of fibers. Its weight varies between 2 and 20 grams, weighing an average of 8 g. Compared to other tropical fruit, camu Camu is a highly concentrated source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). While, an orange has 92 mg/100 g of ascorbic acid in the pulp, Camu Camu has 2780 mg/100 g.
ORIGIN AND LOCATION
It is native to the Peruvian Amazon. It grows in Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela in a wild form.
ACTIVE CONSTITUENT AND NUTRITIONAL VALUE
This fruit is high in vitamin C, which transforms it into a true antioxidant source, 100 grams of pulp contains 30 times more than any other citrus fruit, 47 times more vitamin C than oranges and 63 times more than lemon.
It contains a high content of reduced ascorbic acid or vitamin C (2780 mg/100g). It also contains Calcium, Iron, Serine, Valine, Leucine, Glutamate, Aminobutanato, Proline, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Alanine, Niacin and Vit. B5, Phosphorus, Proteins, Riboflavin or B2 and Thiamin Vit or Vit. B1.
The fruit offers phytochemicals protective effects on human health, such as amino acids serine, valine and leucine as well as other nutrients such as calcium (27.0 milligrams per 100 grams of pulp), phosphorus (17.0 mg), iron (0.5 mg), thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and is rich in bioflavonoids.
However, the nutritional value of the fruit is focused on the high concentration of vitamin C. On average, 2700 milligrams per 100g of pulp (compared to 43.90 milligrams per 100ml that Huando orange provides). Camu Camu is considered as known food with the highest concentration of vitamin C on the planet. As for the value of calories, Camu Camu only provides 17 calories per 100 grams of pulp.
Camu Camu´s beneficial properties are:
- It is a great flu shot.
- It is antidepressant, being used in stress relief.
- It´s contribution to natural medicine is huge, for its high content astringent, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and emollient.
- It detoxifies the body and strengthens the immune system.
- It is anti-hemorrhagic and reduces the risk of infections.
- Generates more sperm production.
- It is a great healing.
- Prevents cancer, stress and heart diseases.
- Fights scurvy.Promotes the absorption of nutrients, including iron, in the digestive system.
- Revitalizes the nervous system
As natural vitamin C promotes the formation of collagen, which is essential for the body because holds many structures and assists in the formation of bones, teeth and gums, blood vessels and skin, can stimulate the body's natural defenses and intervene in iron absorption that comes from other foods.
Exerts a preventive and therapeutic action against cellular aggression, due to oxidation of free radicals and is essential in those diets that require significant amounts of vitamin C.
Dr. Mario Pinedo Panduro1 within their research believes that the Camu Camu is helpful in reducing and improving migraine headaches, herpes, gallstones and especially severe colds and flus.
CONSUME AND USES
Half a century ago, the fruit was almost unknown to the urban Amazonian population, to the point that no one knew if it was edible. The first chemical analysis revealed its exceptional amount of vitamin C and expanded the interest and their use as anti-oxidant action. The Camu Camu is also appreciated for its high content of flavonoids and pectins play an important role in health.
There are several traditional forms to use Camu Camu for Amazonian residents: Stem crust and roots are used for treating rheumatism and diarrhea, the fruit and bark are used for dyeing vegetable fibers 'chambira' (Astrocarium chambira),the scraped bark is applied topically to relieve muscle aches. Also, fever and headache are treated with the crushed leaves. The fruit also is used as bait in fishing.
Such uses have expanded and diversified over the past five years, and now is used in the manufacture of soft drinks, yogurt, jams, ice cream, nectar, hair and dehydrated products under different presentation forms as capsules, pills and instant drinks.
It is used as a nutritional supplement; it is an antioxidant that increases the body's defenses. It is also an Immune and Antibacterial Agent. Prevent infection and prevent scurvy. Scurvy is the classic manifestation of severe impairment of ascorbic acid or Vitamin C.
It is recommended that everyone and especially children, pregnant women or nursing mothers and elderly people have in their usual supply a significant amount of Vitamin C that can be found in significant concentrations in the consumption of Camu Camu.
The rural population in Loreto treats 36 diseases with Camu Camu: anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, cramps, baldness, cancer, cataract, headache, cerebral deficiency, cholesterol, diabetes, diarrhea, diuresis, body aches, stomach pain , gallbladder pain, constipation, female fertility, fever, liver, indigestion, inflammation, vaginal washing, bound, malaria, obesity, osteoporosis, sexual potency, high blood pressure, lungs, colds, kidney, stomach, avitaminosis C.
There has been (IIAP, 2008) a study on the use of "mash-camu camu" for the treatment of bronchitis in urban and rural population around Iquitos. Of a total of 70 patients evaluated, it was found that 90% of them, symptoms (malaise, bronchial inflammation, headache, and runny nose) disappeared after 15 days of treatment.
On average an adult requires 60 milligrams of vitamin C a day to meet your requirement, vitamin C must be obtained from food because the body does not produce it.
This nutritional quality has resulted in the opening of many studies worldwide to check their health effects and uses in the pharmaceutical industry.
Gary Null, PhD researcher American nutritionist (1996) described health promoting effects of Camu Camu, concerning the strengthening of the immune system, skin and eyes. In his book Clinician's Handbook of Natural Healing (1998) refers to the mood stabilizing capacity in patients with depression, a statement that coincides with other research related to vitamin C with depression and anxiety.
There are no known drug interactions and consumption of Camu Camu, or irritation to the stomach by its acid flavor accentuated. Mature fruits contain higher concentrations of vitamin C, it is recommended to consume with foods rich in iron that facility its absorption.
This fruit is recommended for most people however, athletes, smokers, people with a lot of stress, burn patients or with diseases, where the immune system is weakened and whose requirement for vitamin C is increased, should be included with some frequency.
ANTI-AGING EFFECTS RESEARCH
Testing recently completed by Brunswick Labs2 demonstrates the anti-aging effects of camu camu superfruit from Amazon Origins, LLC. Camu camu is an Amazonian fruit known for its high levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants.
Testing included Total ORAC, the 5-radical antioxidant panel, and new cell-based efficacy tests that demonstrate whether or not substances, including complex natural products like camu camu, work in a live cellular environment.
In each test, of whole fruits, puree and freeze-dried powder, camu camu achieved higher Total ORAC results than any other fruits tested. For example, Total ORAC results for whole fruit were 2600 per gram compared to 500 per gram for blackberry, the next highest fruit. Total ORAC results for camu camu freeze-dried powder were 52,000 per gram, which is more than six times higher than acai freeze-dried powder and comparable to bilberry, cocoa and mangosteen extracts.
In addition, Amazon Origins camu camu freeze-dried powder was tested with the Brunswick Labs anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation and UV protection cell-based tests. Results showed significant positive results for all three tests. Specifically, camu camu reduced cellular free radical activity, inhibited the inflammatory agent, NFkB, and reduced UV-induced free radicals in the skin. It outperformed freeze-dried acai in two of three tests and performed as well or better than grape seed and cocoa extracts in all three tests on a dose-equivalent basis.
DOCTORS HEALTH PRESS REPORTS ON STUDY: AMAZONIAN CAMU CAMU FRUIT CAN FEND OFF OBESITY
Doctors Health Press, a division of Lombardi Publishing Corporation and publisher of various natural health newsletters, books, and reports, including the popular online Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin, is reporting on a recent Brazilian study’s finding that Amazonian Camu Camu fruit could fend off obesity and other diseases associated with too much weight gain.
Boston, MA February 25, 2013
Camu Camu has attracted interest from the food and cosmetics industries over the past few years because of its rich content of vitamin C, flavonoids*, and anthocyanins*. The goal of this recent Brazilian study, however, was to investigate the possible anti-obesity effect of eating Camu Camu.
As the article “This Amazonian Fruit Slashes Belly Fat” reports, in this animal study, rats suffering from obesity were divided in two groups: an experimental group that ingested 25 milliliters per day of Camu Camu pulp and a non-treated group that acted as control. After 12 weeks, blood, liver, heart and white adipose tissue samples were collected and studied.
The Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin article outlines the effect that Camu Camu had on rats that received the pulp of the fruit:
- Reduced fat levels in white adipose tissues
- Reduced glucose levels
- Reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol
- Reduced insulin blood levels Increased HDL (good) cholesterol levels
As Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin concludes, the researchers found that Camu Camu pulp was able to improve obesity symptoms. They also suggested that this Amazonian fruit could be used as a functional food to control the chronic diseases linked to obesity.