Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.)—A phytochemical and pharmacological assessment of the species’ health claims

Heinrich, M., Dhanji, T. and Casselman, I. (2011) Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.)—A phytochemical and pharmacological assessment of the species’ health claims. Phytochemistry Letters, 4 (1). pp. 10-21. 10.1016/j.phytol.2010.11.005.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.phytol.2010.11.005


The palm Euterpe oleracea Martius (aai) has been acclaimed to have a wide range of health-promoting and therapeutic benefits due to its reportedly high levels of antioxidants. Aai has a history of use as a medicinal plant and as a staple food in many parts of Brazil. Traditionally, it has been used to treat fevers, skin complications, digestive disorders and parasitic infections. Aai has also been of great economic importance in Brazil. In recent years, aai berry has been advertised widely, for example, via the Internet. This is based to a relatively high content of polyphenols, which in turn has been linked to a range of reported (mostly in vitro) antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative and cardioprotective properties. This review highlights the scientific knowledge about its phytochemistry and pharmacology (and its limitations). In vitro and in vivo studies have been assessed in order to determine the therapeutic potential of aai. Since there have been very limited studies the results are mostly inconclusive. Aai demonstrates promising potential with regard to antiproliferative activity and cardioprotection but further studies are required. Claims about alleged health benefits can generally only be substantiated to a very limited degree. Strategies need to be developed in order to prioritise lesser studied 'novel' herbal, medicines or nutraceuticals generally distributed/popularised via the Internet and to assess the benefits and risks of such products which also allows for the evaluation of the claims made

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Arecaceae (Palmae); Cardiovascular health; Euterpe oleracea Martius (Aai); Nutraceuticals; Traditional food; Traditional medicine; Weight loss
Departments, units and centres:Department of Pharmaceutical and Biological Chemistry > Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy
ID Code:2673
Journal or Publication Title:Phytochemistry Letters
Deposited By:Library Staff
Deposited On:19 Jan 2012 10:52
Last Modified:26 Apr 2012 17:48

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