Camu-camu: Small fruit, big health

Usually found growing in the flooded areas of the Amazon rainforest, myciaria dubia, commonly known as camu-camu, is a shrub with orange-red cherry-like fruits. This fruit has become popular as an antioxidant health supplement and is mostly used for anti-viral treatments. The leaves are also used for medicinal purposes.

Camu-camu is commonly found in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, and Colombia. It is found to be rich in Vitamin C: 60 times more potent than oranges, in fact: and other essential nutrients that are ideal for the body’s internal and external needs. It is often made into tablets for easy intake as well as powdered form so people could incorporate it into their solid foods and beverages.

It’s quite difficult to find supplements containing this fruit in the local supermarket, except if you are a resident of any of the countries mentioned earlier. Fortunately, purchasing this fruit through the internet is also a viable option.

Despite the lack of information on some of camu-camu’s effects, here’s a summary of the fruit’s known health benefits:

  • Promotes eye and gum health

  • Stimulates and strengthens the immune system

  • Has anti-inflammatory properties

  • Improves muscle growth

  • Enhances the nervous system

  • Anti-depressant

  • Anti-viral treatment

  • Prevents cancer

As mentioned, camu-camu is rich in Vitamin C. It is found that a teaspoon or justĀ½ of camu-camu powder can provide about 400% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which is useful in ensuring gum and eye health against diseases like gingivitis, cataracts, and glaucoma and in strengthening the immune system.

The high Vitamin C content also helps in preventing inflammation from forming in the body. Studies have shown that camu-camu is very effective as an anti-inflammatory supplement, especially for smokers.

It is packed with amino acids like valine, leucine, and serine which are essential in the body’s muscle and bone tissue growth. It also enhances the nervous system, production of growth hormones, and breakdown of protein bonds. The amino acids help prevent disorders like osteoarthritis and artherosclerosis (i.e. hardening of the arteries).

It is also high in antioxidants such as flavonoids, gallic acid, and ellagic acid. They all function to rid the body of free radicals. They were also found to possess anti-viral (gallic acid) and anti-diabetic properties (ellagic acid).

Camu-camu’s anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties can treat infections like shingles, herpes, cold sores, and the common cold. Studies also show that people who consume camu-camu will have lower chances of contracting these diseases.

It was found that those with depression who have this fruit in their diets were seen to have improved moods, making it an alternate antidepressant.

Anti-cancer properties were also discovered in this small fruit. Camu-camu defends the body against cancer-forming radicals. However, some say that it can interfere with chemotherapy medications, so be sure to ask a doctor first if you are undergoing chemotherapy.

Camu-camu also prevents the onset of diabetes and hepatitis in addition to being used as a medication for asthma.

The camu-camu fruit is still being studied further for its effectiveness, but it is definitely proven to be a big breakthrough as a ‘superfood.’ The high Vitamin C content you will get from this fruit’s health supplements: be it in powder or tablet form: will give you all the benefits you need to live a healthier life.

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