Drugs A - Z

Avocado (Persea americana)

treats Osteoarthritis, Psoriasis, and High cholesterol

Generic Name: Avocado

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Abokado, aguacate, ahuacate, ahuacatl, alligator pear, avocado pear, avocato, Persea americana, Persea americana var. drymifolia Blake, Persea gratissima, Persea leiogyna, Persea nubigena var. guatamalensis L., Persea persea, Laurus persea.

Background

Avocados are fruits that contain 60% more potassium than bananas; they are also sodium and cholesterol-free. An avocado has a higher fat content (5 grams per serving) than other fruit, but the fat is monounsaturated fat, which is considered healthy when consumed in moderation. Diets rich in monounsaturated fatty acids can reduce total cholesterol levels in the blood and increase the ratio of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, "good" cholesterol) to low-density lipoprotein (LDL, "bad" cholesterol).

In addition to high cholesterol, avocado has been taken by mouth to treat osteoarthritis. Its oils have been used topically to treat wounds, infections, arthritis, and to stimulate hair growth. The seeds, leaves, and bark have been used for dysentery and diarrhea. It is also used in topical creams for regular skincare. Historically, the Amazonian natives used avocado to treat gout (inflamed foot), and the Mayan people believed it could keep joints and muscles in good condition, avoiding arthritis and rheumatism.

The most promising use for avocado is in a combination product, avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), which is a combination of avocado oil and soybean oil.

Caution is advised when taking Mexican avocado due to the constituents, estragole and anethole, which may be liver damaging and cancer causing.

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.

High cholesterol: Avocados added to the diet may lower total cholesterol, LDL ("bad" cholesterol), HDL ("good" cholesterol) and triglycerides. Additional study is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
Grade: B

Osteoarthritis (knee and hip): A combination of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) has been found beneficial in osteoarthritis of the knee and hip. Additional study using avocado alone is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.
Grade: B

Psoriasis: Early scientific study showed promising effects using avocado in a cream for psoriasis. Additional studies are needed in this area before a firm recommendation can be made.
Grade: C

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.
Aphrodisiac, arthritis, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), cancer, chemoprotectant, connective tissue disorders, dermatitis, diarrhea, dysentery (severe diarrhea), eczema, gingivitis, gout (inflamed foot), hair growth, inflammation (oral), menstrual flow stimulant, neuralgia (nerve pain), periodontitis / gingivitis, scleroderma (a skin disease), sexual arousal, skin care, toothache, wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

The avocado fruit is typically used for medicinal purposes, although the oil has also been studied. To reduce high cholesterol, ½ -1 ½ avocado, or 300 grams, consumed daily for two to four weeks has been used. Avocado-enriched diets, with 75% of the fat coming from the avocado, have also been studied for two to four weeks.

Children (younger than 18 years)

Safety, efficacy, and dosing have not been systematically studied. Use in children should be supervised by a qualified healthcare professional.

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