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CAMU-CAMU
Myrciaria dubia

PROPERTIES/ACTIONS:
Astringent, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Emollient, Nutritive

COMMON NAMES:
Camu-camu, Rumberry

PHYTOCHEMICALS Include:
Ascorbic-acid, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Iron , Niacin, Phosphorus, Protein, Riboflavin, Thiamin

Camu-camu is a low growing shrub found throughout the Amazon Rainforest, mainly in swampy or flooded areas. It grows to a height of about 2 to 3 meters and has large feathery leaves and bears round light orange colored fruits which has recently come to world-wide attention. Camu-camu fruit is one of the newest discoveries of the Rainforest and is now the highest recorded source of Vitamin C known on the planet. Oranges provide 500 to 4,000 parts per million Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, while Acerola has assayed in a range of 16,000 to 172,000 parts per million ascorbic acid. Camu-Camu is the highest source of Vitamin C, providing 21,000 to 500,000 parts per million ascorbic acid or 2-3 grams per kilogram.(1) In comparison to oranges, camu-camu provides 30 times more vitamin C, 10 times more iron, 3 times more niacin, twice as much riboflavin, and fifty percent more phosphorus.(2)

Because of its high vitamin C content, a market has been created for camu camu fruit. It is still wild harvested throughout the Amazon region and some groups are now begining to determine cultivation methods for this important new rainforest resouce. Ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin notes that "a forest stand of camu-camu is worth twice the amount to be gained from cutting down the forest and replacing it with cattle." and believes that it holds real economic promise for local economies.(3) Usually camu camu fruit is wild-harvested in the rainforest in canoes because the fruits mature at high water or flooding seasons in the Amazon. The fruits are popular in Peru where they are made into drinks and ice creams.

HERBAL DEFINITION:
Hepatic:
Any herb which is used to treat liver dysfunctions.

Footnotes:
  1. Duke, J.A., Vasquez, R., 1994. Amazonian Ethnobotanical Dictionary, CRC Press.
  2. Duke, J.A., Phytochemical Database, Agricultural Research Service, USDA
  3. Plotkin, Mark, 1993, Tales of a Shaman's Appretice, Peguin Books.
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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace the advice of a qualified physician.