Acerola cherry is a plant native to the Western Hemisphere’s tropical regions. It is also known as the West Indies cherry, Barbados cherry, or simply “acerola.” The shrub-like plant is thought to have originated in southern Mexico and the Caribbean.
Acerola produces berries that resemble cherries, but it is not a true cherry. These berries have a pleasant flavour and have been used in both modern and traditional medicine. Traditional applications include the treatment of liver problems, diarrhoea, dysentery, coughs, and colds.
There has recently been renewed interest in using acerola’s vitamin C content as a supplement. There are numerous health and wellness claims made about this supplement, but not all of them are supported by research.
Why do people take acerola cherry?
Acerola is most well-known for being extremely rich in vitamin C. As a result, it’s frequently used to treat or prevent colds and flu. It is also used as an antioxidant. Acerola, when combined with vitamin C, can help boost immunity.
Similar to witch hazel, acerola cherry is an astringent. This could make it useful for treating skin blemishes, increasing skin elasticity, and helping with digestive issues. It might even be useful as an antimicrobial mouthwash.
Other uses of acerola include:
How do you take acerola cherry?
Consume the berry or fruit part of the acerola plant for its health benefits. Its flavour is described as sweet, fragrant, and astringent. It can be eaten raw or cooked into a variety of dishes.
The best way to get the fruit is to grow your own because of acerola cherry’s quick perishability. Fresh acerola cherries can also be preserved by freezing them as soon as they are picked.
The fruit is most commonly found in the form of a supplement. This is due to the fact that the berry decomposes within five days of harvest, losing much of its nutritional value. Unless preservatives are added, even juices spoil quickly. Still, eating the fruit is the best way to consume acerola cherry. Supplements are not the first option.
Forms of supplements include:
powder capsule chewable liquid extract (tincture)
The powder supplement is widely used. This powdered acerola cherry juice is made from dehydrated and powdered acerola cherry juice and can be mixed into beverages, smoothies, juices, and more. You can also make smoothies from your frozen berries.
There is no clinical evidence to support a safe acerola dose. When taking acerola at home, you can safely follow vitamin C supplementation guidelines. This is because this vitamin contributes the most to the nutritional content of acerola.
Recommendations may differ depending on the supplement product purchased. If you’re unsure how much to take, follow the dosage instructions on the label.
What are the proven benefits of acerola?
Acerola’s health benefits are primarily due to its high vitamin C content. The more vitamin C is lost as the fruit ripens, and acerola ripens quickly.
Acerola outperformed all other vitamin C-containing fruits in a study of their relative amounts, especially when grown organically. The fruit has reportedly higher amounts of vitamin C than even oranges and strawberries, and it’s only outdone by rosehips. The berry was also discovered to be an excellent source of vitamin A.
Because vitamin C is a required nutrient and a water-soluble vitamin that is not stored in the body, you must consume a source of water-soluble vitamins on a daily basis. Vitamin C, like vitamin A, is a well-known antioxidant that aids in the prevention of free radical damage and certain illnesses. Recent research confirms that acerola is high in antioxidants.
Vitamin C also aids in the formation of collagen, the protection of mucus membranes, and the prevention of scurvy. Vitamin C is necessary for the immune system to function properly and for the body to fight infections, viruses, and even cancer. While more research is needed, one study demonstrated that in the laboratory, cherries high in antioxidants and vitamin C had the ability to assist the body in stopping the growth of colon cancer.
The studies on vitamin C are the most comprehensive of all the research on acerola cherry. This validates its status as an all-natural vitamin C supplement that can be used to help with cold and flu symptoms. More research is needed to determine its other health benefits.
When consumed as a food, acerola contains significant amounts of the following nutrients:
niacin (vitamin B-3)
riboflavin (vitamin B-2)
thiamine (vitamin B-1)