by Dr. Katherine Gaston
Camu Camu is a shrub growing in watery, swampy areas of the Amazon rainforest and is often harvested directly into a canoe from the river. It produces lemon size fruit orange-red in color. Although it has not been documented to have been used extensively by indigenous people, it has more recently been discovered to contain very high levels of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant known to protect the body from free-radicals, stress and aging and to boost the immune system in fighting infection. In fact, it may contain the highest source of vitamin C occurring naturally on Earth having 30 to 60 times the amount of vitamin C of Oranges. More recently, the fruit has become popular and used in sweets, drinks and ice creams in Amazonian villages.
Uses: Traditionally not used medicinally. More recently used in ice cream and drinks and as a powder for its vitamin C content. It also contains amino acids, which may affect brain chemistry and help boost one’s mood. Used in treating herpes virus and shingles.
Constituents: Vitamin C, Potassium, niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2), amino acids including lutein, serine, valine.
Parts used: Fruit
Research: There is currently not much conclusive research on the effects of Camu Camu but based on its nutritional content, we may conclude it benefits are related to the ways that Vitamin C benefits the body. Some in vitro studies suggest such benefits as liver protection, and anti-inflammation.
Effects: Probable anti-inflammatory, immune booster, stress protection, mood booster.
Conservation Issues: As with any plant medicine that begins to gain popularity throughout the world, there are issues of over harvesting. Please try to choose wisely when purchasing Camu Camu. Investigate and choose a brand that demonstrates consciousness with the harvesting of Camu Camu.
Stability: Camu Camu loses it’s potency after harvesting and may not contain active constituents long after harvesting. It is better to purchase and consume locally.
Energetics: We can consider Camu Camu to be a heating medicine due to its sour properties.