Rain Tree Health states that the acerola plant is classified as a small tree or shrub that produces bright red fruit. These fruits are succulent and slightly sour. The use of acerola as a natural herbal remedy is a common practice in its native areas of Brazil. It has a wide range of uses associated with its reputed curative effects in humans. However, be sure to check with a doctor before using acerola as an herbal remedy.
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History as a Supplement
Acerola extract is often used in North America because of its high vitamin C content. Until the discovery of the camu-camu plant, the richest known natural source of vitamin C was the extract of the acerola fruit. When compared to oranges, acerola extract can contain as much as 90 times more vitamin C, according to Rain Tree Health.
Use in Cancer Treatment
According to Right Health, acerola extract is used to prevent the onset of many age-related diseases. It exhibits many cytotoxic effects, leading some to believe it is useful in treating cancer. However, acerola extract’s benefits are not considered a replacement for prescription cancer treatments. Contact your doctor before considering its use, because it can have negative interactions with other drugs.
Acerola extract acts as a free radical scavenger for the skin, Rain Tree Health says. As a result, it has begun to see use in various anti-aging skin care products. Acerola also contains mineral salts, which help return minerals to stressed areas of skin. Its mucilage and protein content also provide hydration to the skin.
Antifungal and Antibacterial Properties
Rain Tree Health notes that the extract of the leaves, bark and fruit of the acerola plant act as antifungal agents. Right Health states that it also has some antibacterial properties. It is claimed to even have the ability to reverse multi-drug resistance. Multi-drug resistance is where a disease-causing organism is resistant to more than one type of drug that is meant to eliminate that particular organism.
History as a Curative
Right Health notes that folk healers have long used acerola extract to treat common cases of cough, cold, diarrhea and sore throat. For this reason, says Rain Tree Health, the acerola fruit and its extract are very popular in Brazil. The Brazilian people also use acerola extract for the treatment of less common ailments such as tuberculosis, anemia and diabetes.