Camu Camu: Get Smart about this South American Fruit

Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is a plant native to South America, producing berries thought to be rich in vitamin C. However, few scientific studies have tested the health effects of camu camu.

Proponents claim that camu camu can:

• boost the immune system

• aid in skin care

• preserve eye health

In addition, camu camu is said to protect against the following health problems:

• arthritis

• atherosclerosis

• cancer

• depression

• diabetes

• gum disease

Camu Camu and Vitamin C

Camu camu is touted as a top source of vitamin C, an antioxidant vitamin often used to strengthen the immune system. Although there is limited research on camu camu's vitamin C content, findings from some laboratory studies indicate that camu camu pulp contains a high amount of vitamin C.

There's also some evidence that camu camu may be high in anthocyanins, another type of antioxidant.

Health Benefits of Camu Camu

Here's a look at some key study findings:

1) Camu Camu and Inflammation

Camu camu may fight inflammation and oxidative stress, according to a 2008 study from the Journal of Cardiology. For the study, 20 male smokers either drank camu camu juice or took vitamin C tablets every day for a week. At the end of the treatment period, members of the camu camu group showed a significant decrease in certain markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. Members of the vitamin C group, meanwhile, did not experience a decrease in these markers.

2) Camu Camu and Diabetes

Camu camu shows potential in the treatment of diabetes, a 2010 study from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows. In lab experiments, scientists found camu camu to contain high amounts of antioxidants and ellagic acid (a substance shown to offer antidiabetic effects in some research).

How to Use Camu Camu

Camu camu is available in a number of different forms, including powder, juice, and capsules. Since camu camu has a very sour flavor, the berries are not typically consumed as a whole food.

Camu Camu Side Effects

To date, very little is known about the possible adverse effects of camu camu consumption. However, there's some concern that camu camu may interact with drugs used in chemotherapy treatments.

Article courtesy of's Alternative Medicine section, found with article sources, here.

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