Açaí

Summary

Medicinal plant with antioxidant, vasodilator, anti-inflammatory, tonic, energetic effect, among others. Its internal use is indicated mainly in the prevention of heart diseases and spills. It is also used externally, usually in cosmetic products.

names

Name in Portuguese: açaí (açaí-do-pará, açaizeiro, assai, piná)
Binomial name: Euterpe oleracea Mart.
French name: acai
English name: acai palm; açaí berry
German name: Açaí
Italian name: Açaí

Family

Arecaceae

Constituents

Oleic, palmitic, palmitoleic and hydrocyanic acid, lignin, niacin, proteins, vegetable fat, fructose, glucose, sucrose, crude fiber, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B1, α-Tocopherol ( vitamin E), vitamin C, anthocyanins.

parts used

Fruits (usually pulped after processing)

Effects – properties

The main action of açaí is as an antioxidant, mainly due to the presence of anthocyanins. This antioxidant effect is responsible for the anti-inflammatory action and improvement of the lipid profile (increasing good cholesterol and decreasing bad).

Other effects of açaí are: satiety, strengthens the immune system, natural tonic, vasodilator, energy replacement and source of iron.

Despite acting to reduce insulin resistance, there are doubts about whether or not the plant helps in the treatment of diabetes, due to the high amount of glucose present in its composition. Thus, there is still no consensus on these effects and a possible indication.

Indications

– High cholesterol

– Prevention of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease (with heart attack) and stroke

– Prevention of certain types of cancer

– Liver diseases, such as steatosis (fat in the liver) and jaundice (complementary measures)

– Arthritis, obesity (complementary measure that helps prevent damage caused by inflammatory substances)

Due to its high nutritional and caloric value, it is believed to be indicated in cases of diarrhea, anemia and lack of energy (fatigue).

Secundary effects

Due to its high caloric value, it can cause weight gain if routinely ingested in large amounts. It is recommended to consume a maximum of 300mL of juice or a small bowl per day.

contraindications

Contraindicated in cases of diabetes (especially if mixed with syrups) and in large quantities for obese people. Because it is highly cakoric, it is not recommended to add excess syrups and other products rich in sugar.

Interactions

we do not know

Acai-based preparations

Internal use

– Root decoction

– Fruit pulp juice

– Wine from the pulp of the fruit

– pure fruit pulp

– Ice cream, sweets, jellies or with flour

– raw hearts of palm

– Capsules

External use

– Heart of palm in the form of a paste

– Oil from the almonds of the fruit

– Cosmetic: Soaps, shampoos, body oils and creams.

Where does the açaí tree grow?

The açaí tree, as the açaí tree is called, has small, round, dark purple fruits. It grows in clumps, that is, several feet grow from the same root and it is a perennial shrub, originating in the Amazon rainforest, currently found in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Guianas and Brazil, in the states of Amazonas, Pará, Maranhão , Acre and Amapá.

In the Amazon, many açaí trees are planted and contribute significantly to the region’s economy (see also Notes below).
A study carried out by the Brazilian reference institute Embrapashowed that it is the small bees that live naturally in the Amazon that allow the pollination of the flowers of the açaí tree and, consequently, the development and formation of the berries. These little bees develop in an ecosystem of trees and plants that includes not only açaí, but other species, that is, an important diversity. What scientists have discovered is that when only açaí is planted, in monoculture, these bees tend to disappear, sometimes giving way to larger bees that pollinate fewer flowers. Without these good pollinators (small bees), there can be a decrease in the amount of acai berries on the tree up to 25% below normal. Therefore, it is advisable when planting and cultivating açaí to leave other trees around or, if they have already disappeared, to plant new trees of other species. In this study, researchers also discovered that açaí is pollinated by over 100 different types of insects, including bees, beetles, flies and wasps. This study was published on January 23, 2018 in the scientific journalJournal of Applied Ecology (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13086).

When to harvest acai?

Production takes place all year round, but due to the decrease in rainfall, the biggest harvest takes place between August and December, when the fruits are black and opaque.

Comments

– The açaí pod has a strong, markedly acidic flavor. Its fruit is consumed only after processing, as the taste of the pure fruit is relatively bad and has little edible part.

– Açaí is usually marketed frozen, because it has a lot of lipids, it ferments quickly at room temperature (approximately 24 hours).

– Due to its numerous nutrients, capable of meeting almost all the needs of the human body, acai is currently referred to as a superfood. Read also: 15 Brazilian super foods

Açaí is one of the main products extracted from the Amazon, in addition to being used for domestic consumption, a large part is exported to different countries around the world. But it is not just its fruit that is used, the leaves are used to make baskets, hats and other forms of crafts, while its wood can be used in construction.

– There are studies since 2005 that prove its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, due to its high antioxidant capacity in-vitro. In 2006, a study indicated the proapopitotic and antiproliferative effect of some leukemia cancer cells. Already in 2008, human studies were published that demonstrated a potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect.

– It was also proven, in 2010, that açaí improves the lipid profile, increasing good cholesterol (HDL) and decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL), in addition to having a preventive effect on atherosclerosis (study published in 2012).
In addition, in 2012, studies were published that indicated a possible protective effect on brain cells, which could lead to improved cognitive and motor functions, and a possible protective effect against inflammation in the lungs of smokers.

– According to an article in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo published on May 4, 2018, the harvest of açaí in the Brazilian Amazon (in Portuguese Amazônia Legal ) represents an annual turnover of around 500 million reais for the inhabitants of the region Brazilian Amazon. In other words, this fruit makes a significant contribution to the region’s economy.

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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