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Acerola (Malpighia glabra, Malpighia punicifolia)

Generic Name: Malpighia glabra

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Acerola fruits, Antilles cherry, Barbados cherry, cerea-do-para, cereja-das-antillhas, cereso, Malpighia emarginata DC, Malpighia glabra L., Malpighia punicifolia, Malpighia punicifolia L., Puerto Rican cherry, West Indian cherry.

Background

Acerola (Malphighia glabra), also known as Barbados cherry, is the fruit of a small tree known as Malphighia glabra L. in the Antilles and north of South America. In 1945, the School of Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico found that the Barbados cherry was a very rich source of vitamin C.

Folk healers have used acerola to treat liver ailments, diarrhea, dysentery, coughs, colds and sore throat. As one of the richest sources of vitamin C, acerola may be used as an immune stimulator and modulator.

Acerola has been used as a supplement for both adults and infants. The Barbados cherry extract, the fruit of Malpighia emarginata DC, has been reported to prevent age-related diseases. The Barbados cherry has been shown to exhibit cytotoxic effects and may be useful in the treatment of cancer. It has high antibacterial activity and shows multi-drug resistance reversal activity.

Currently, there is a lack of available scientific evidence and additional study is needed to evaluate acerola's safety, effectiveness and dosing.

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.
Aging, antibacterial, antioxidant, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), blood clot prevention, cancer, colds, coughs, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery (severe diarrhea), exercise performance, fungal infections, gum disease, hay fever, heart disease, hemorrhage (retinal), hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), immunostimulation, liver disorders, pressure ulcers, scurvy, skin conditions, sore throat, tooth disease, vitamin C deficiency.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

Safety, efficacy, and dosing have not been systematically studied in adults.

Children (younger than 18 years)

Safety, efficacy, and dosing have not been systematically studied 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

Individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to acerola or species in the Malpighiaceae family should not use acerola.

Side Effects and Warnings

In general, acerola appears to be generally well tolerated in recommended amounts in otherwise healthy individuals. High doses may cause diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, insomnia, fatigue or sleeplessness due to the vitamin C content.

Patients with gout should not take acerola because the vitamin C in acerola might increase uric acid levels.

Patients with a history of kidney stones (nephrolithiasis) should also not take acerola as large doses of vitamin C in acerola may cause the production of urate, cystine or oxalate stones.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

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

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