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Acai (Euterpe oleracea)

Generic Name: Acai

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Acai flour, acai palm, Amazonian palm, Euterpe oleracea, Euterpe oleracea Mart., heart of palm, OptiAcai™, palm heart.

Background

The acai palm tree (Euterpe oleracea) is native to tropical Central and South America and grows mainly in floodplains and swamps. Although the soft interior stem can be used as a source for heart of palm, acai is better known for its inch-long reddish-purple fruit. Acai has been a traditional food of the native people of the Amazon for hundreds of years. Acai beverages are prepared by extracting juice from the fruit pulp and skin.

Currently, research on acai fruit has been centered on its potential antioxidant properties. Acai fruit has also shown antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory activity. Acai may also show promise as an agent for use in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is a non-invasive procedure that produces a two-dimensional view of internal organs or structures, especially the brain and spinal cord. Currently, there is insufficient available evidence in humans to support the use of acai for any indication.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, food uses, cancer, alternative oral contrast agent in MRI.

Dosing

Adults (over 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for acai in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for acai in children.

Safety

DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Allergies

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to acai (Euterpe oleracea) or its constituents.

Side Effects and Warnings

Acai is likely safe when used in food amounts.

Avoid acai in patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or using oral contrast agents for MRI, as acai has been used as an experimental clinical oral contrast agent for MRI of the gastrointestinal tract.

Acai may aggravate or initiate hypertension (high blood pressure) or edema (swelling). It may also aggravate or initiate gastrointestinal disorders (ulcers or intestinal bleeding).

Use cautiously in patients taking antineoplastics (anticancer agents).

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Acai is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

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