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Camu-Camu: Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts

Camu-camu is a low-growing shrub found in the Amazonian rainforest of Peru, mainly in swampy or flooded areas. It grows to a height of about 2-3 m and has large, feathery leaves. The camu-camu fruit is about the size of a large grape and has a purplish red skin with a yellow pulp.

The fruit has never been documented as a traditional herbal remedy for any condition in the Amazon region. In fact, it was not widely eaten as a fruit by the indigenous people, due to its sour, acidic taste. In recent years, the fruits have become popular in Iquitos, Peru, where they are made into drinks and ice creams.

Camu-camu fruit contain powerful phytochemicals, are full of amino acids (serine, valine, and leucine), and have more vitamin C than any other known fruit in the world. Oranges provide 500-4,000 ppm vitamin C; camu-camu provides up to 500,000 ppm, or about 2 grams of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit. In comparison to oranges, camu-camu provides thirty times more vitamin C. Camu-camu is also a significant source of potassium, providing 711 mg per kg of fruit.

The camu-camu fruit has a surprising range of medicinal effects as measured by quantity of a variety of phytochemical compounds which experimentally have demonstrated therapeutic effects. Dr. James Duke, retired chief botanist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pre-eminent New World tropical botanist, and author of many botanical books, including the popular Green Pharmacy, lists some of these effects in his Ethnobotanical website, based on amounts of various phytochemicals which camu-camu contains. In a comparative study of hundreds of botanicals, ranked in order of effectiveness for various health conditions, camu-camu was ranked among hundreds of herbs as follows:

  • Antimutagenic No. 4
  • Antiviral No.6
  • Antioxidant No.4
  • Asthma No.1
  • Arteriosclerosis No.1
  • Cataracts No.1
  • Colds No.1
  • Depression No.2
  • Edema No.1
  • Gingivitis-periodontal disease No.1
  • Glaucoma No.1
  • Hepatitis No.1
  • Infertility No.1
  • Migraine/cluster headaches No.1
  • Osteoarthritis No.1
  • Painkiller No.1
  • Parkinson's disease No.1.*

In Brazil, camu-camu is being promoted as a product that untangles and strengthens hair, and protects it from external damage, adding to its shine and vitality.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and the information given here is for educational purposes only. This product is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Seek out a health care professional for treatment of illness.

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