Camu camu

It is difficult to imagine what kind of wondrous cures, health and assistance we can find in the mysterious plants that reside all over the globe and that have yet to be tested. Could there be a cure for cancer hidden in some dark, lush, tropical forest somewhere? It is quite possible, but it could be decades before we know for sure. Camu camu is one of these mysterious plants but with camu camu, we already know what the purported benefits are.

Just what is this camu camu?

Camu camu is a small plant found in Peru. It is similar in size and shape to a grape and the plant itself is considered a shrub. It is an edible, non-poisonous fruit that has a very acidic taste. It is doubtful that the fruit can actually be enjoyed unless it is diluted because it is so very acidic. Its skin is very leathery and the fruit is reddish in appearance.

Interestingly, this fruit is being widely harvested because of its supposed health benefits and this is causing the fruit to become close to extinction. It may soon be listed on the endangered list which may incite the creation of farmed camu camu, which may or may not have the same health benefits.

Health benefits of camu camu
Like any mysterious jungle fruit that has undergone absolutely no clinical trials on humans, the health claims of camu camu advocates are nearly endless. With that in mind, let’s start with the things we can substantiate. Camu camu is very high in vitamin C. That is part of what gives it such an acidic taste. This vitamin C, like any other vitamin C, is good for boosting the immune system and proving anti oxidants which help to fight free radicals which, technically, can reduce your risk of cancer and reduce the harmful effects of aging on your skin. It is important to note that the extremely high levels of vitamin C are only present in camu camu when it is very young, before it is fully ripened. When you buy camu camu supplements over the counter, it is impossible to know whether or not the plants used for your supplements were harvested at the optimal time to gain vitamin C benefit or not.

Some say that camu camu is also good as an anti depressant because it helps your brain improve its chemical balance and enhances your mood lifting chemicals. It is also said to be good for diabetes, asthma, atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries), hepatitis, Parkinson’s disease and more.

As we mentioned, there have been no clinical trials to prove or disprove any of the theories presented about the helpful benefits of camu camu. Many doctors have studied the effects of the plant in their patients and have written books about all of the health benefits that can be derived from the plant, but it is impossible to know if the health gains we actually because of the plant or if they were psychosomatic or brought on by another dietary, physical or medicinal change. Since these private trials were not double blind or conducted for scientific purposes only, we have no way of knowing whether or not the individual physician’s recordings are accurate.

The United States’ Food and Drug Administration has yet to opine on the safety or efficacy of camu camu. It is doubtful that this plant will ever reach their ears, but we’ll see. If you are considering taking a supplement with camu camu it is important that you discuss this decision with your physician first. He or she can tell you whether or not it is a good idea to include this supplement in your diet.

Last updated on Oct 26th, 2010 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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