What is it?
Acai, pronounced AH-sigh-EE, is a palm tree that is widely distributed in the northern area of South America. Its berries are used to make medicine.
People use acai for osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction (ED), weight loss and obesity, “detoxification,” and for improving general health. Acai gained popularity in North America after being promoted by Dr. Nicholas Perricone as a "Superfood for Age-Defying Beauty" on the Oprah Winfrey show.
As a food, the acai berry is eaten raw and as a juice. The juice is also used commercially as a beverage and in ice cream, jelly, and liqueurs.
In manufacturing, acai berry is used as a natural purple food colorant.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for ACAI are as follows:
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- High cholesterol.
- Improving general health.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of acai.
Acai contains chemicals that are antioxidants. Antioxidants are thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of chemical reactions with oxygen (oxidation). According to some research, acai has more antioxidant content than cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry.
There is not enough information to know if acai is safe. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, it’s best to stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Drinking raw acai juice has been linked to outbreaks of a disease called American trypanosomiasis or Chagas Disease.
It is not known if this product interacts with any medicines.
Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.
There are no known interactions with foods.
The appropriate dose of acai depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time, there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for acai. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Açaï, Acai Berry, Açaï d'Amazonie, Acai Extract, Acai Fruit, Acai Palm, Amazon Acai, Amazon Acai Berry, Assai, Assai Palm, Baie d'Açaï, Baie de Palmier Pinot, Cabbage Palm, Chou Palmiste, Euterpe badiocarpa, Euterpe oleracea, Extrait d'Açaï, Fruit d'Açaï, Palmier d'Açaï.
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.methodology (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/methodology.html).
To see all references for the Acai page, please go to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/1109.html.
- Smith RE, Eaker J Tran K Goergerb M Wycoff W Sabaa-srurd AUO da Silva Menezes EM. Insoluble Solids in Brazilian and Floridian Açaí (Euterpe oleraceae Mart.). The Natural Products Journal 2012;2:95-98.
- Luo R, Tran K Levine RA Nickols SM Monroe DM Sabaa-Srur AUO Smith RE. Distinguishing Components in Brazilian Açaí (Euterpe oleraceae Mart.) and in Products Obtained in the USA by Using NMR. The Natural Products Journal 2012;2:86-94.
- Lubrano, C., Robin, J. R., and Khaiat, A. Fatty acid, sterol and tocopherol composition of oil form the fruit mesocarp of six palm species in French Guiana. Oleagineux 1994;49:59-65.
- Dupureur CM, Sabaa-Srur AUO Tran K Shejwalker PS Smith RE. ORAC Values and Anthocyanin content of Brazilian and Floridian Acia (Euterpe oleraceae Mart). Nat.Prod.J. 2012;2:99.
- Smith RE, Eaker J Tran K Smith C Monroe DM da Silva Menezes EM Sabaa-Srur AUO Luo R. Wycoff W Fales WH. Proposed Benchmark Methods for Analyzing Açaí (Euterpe oleraceae Mart.). The Natural Products Journal 2012;2:276-285.
- Noratto, G. D., Angel-Morales, G., Talcott, S. T., and Mertens-Talcott, S. U. Polyphenolics from acai ( Euterpe oleracea Mart.) and red muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia ) protect human umbilical vascular Endothelial cells (HUVEC) from glucose- and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation and target microRNA-126. J Agric.Food Chem. 7-27-2011;59:7999-8012. View abstract.
- Holderness, J., Schepetkin, I. A., Freedman, B., Kirpotina, L. N., Quinn, M. T., Hedges, J. F., and Jutila, M. A. Polysaccharides isolated from Acai fruit induce innate immune responses. PLoS.One. 2011;6:e17301. View abstract.
- Kinghorn, A. D., Chai, H. B., Sung, C. K., and Keller, W. J. The classical drug discovery approach to defining bioactive constituents of botanicals. Fitoterapia 2011;82:71-79. View abstract.
- Stoner, G. D., Wang, L. S., Seguin, C., Rocha, C., Stoner, K., Chiu, S., and Kinghorn, A. D. Multiple berry types prevent N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine-induced esophageal cancer in rats. Pharm.Res 2010;27:1138-1145. View abstract.
- Schreckinger, M. E., Lotton, J., Lila, M. A., and de Mejia, E. G. Berries from South America: a comprehensive review on chemistry, health potential, and commercialization. J Med Food 2010;13:233-246. View abstract.
Pereira, K. S., Schmidt, F. L., Guaraldo, A. M., Franco, R. M., Dias, V. L., and Passos, L. A. Chagas' disease as a foodborne illness. J.Food Prot. 2009;72:441-446. View abstract.
- Jensen, G. S., Wu, X., Patterson, K. M., Barnes, J., Carter, S. G., Scherwitz, L., Beaman, R., Endres, J. R., and Schauss, A. G. In vitro and in vivo antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacities of an antioxidant-rich fruit and berry juice blend. Results of a pilot and randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover study. J.Agric.Food Chem. 9-24-2008;56:8326-8333. View abstract.
- Mertens-Talcott, S. U., Rios, J., Jilma-Stohlawetz, P., Pacheco-Palencia, L. A., Meibohm, B., Talcott, S. T., and Derendorf, H. Pharmacokinetics of anthocyanins and antioxidant effects after the consumption of anthocyanin-rich acai juice and pulp (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) in human healthy volunteers. J.Agric.Food Chem. 9-10-2008;56:7796-7802. View abstract.
- Sangronis, E., Teixeira, P., Otero, M., Guerra, M., and Hidalgo, G. [Manaca, sweet potato and yam: possible substitutes of wheat in foods for two ethnic population in Venezuelan Amazon]. Arch Latinoam.Nutr 2006;56:77-82. View abstract.
- Rodrigues, R. B., Lichtenthaler, R., Zimmermann, B. F., Papagiannopoulos, M., Fabricius, H., Marx, F., Maia, J. G., and Almeida, O. Total oxidant scavenging capacity of Euterpe oleracea Mart. (acai) seeds and identification of their polyphenolic compounds. J.Agric.Food Chem. 6-14-2006;54:4162-4167. View abstract.
- Pozo-Insfran, D., Percival, S. S., and Talcott, S. T. Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) polyphenolics in their glycoside and aglycone forms induce apoptosis of HL-60 leukemia cells. J Agric.Food Chem 2-22-2006;54:1222-1229. View abstract.
- Udani JK, Singh BB, Singh VJ, Barrett ML. Effects of acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: a pilot study. Nutr J 2011;10:45. View abstract.
- Nóbrega AA, Garcia MH, Tatto E, et al. Oral transmission of Chagas disease by consumption of açaí palm fruit, Brazil. Emerg Infect Dis 2009;15:653-5. View abstract.
- Schauss AG, Wu X, Prior RL, et al. Antioxidant capacity and other bioactivities of the freeze-dried Amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae mart. (acai). J Agric Food Chem 2006;54:8604-10. View abstract.
- Schauss AG, Wu X, Prior RL, et al. Phytochemical and nutrient composition of the freeze-dried Amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae mart. (acai). J Agric Food Chem 2006;54:8598-603. View abstract.
- Cordova-Fraga T, de Araujo DB, Sanchez TA, et al. Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) as an alternative oral contrast agent in MRI of the gastrointestinal system: preliminary results. Magn Reson Imaging 2004;22:389-93. View abstract.
- Del Pozo-Insfran D, Brenes CH, Talcott ST. Phytochemical composition and pigment stability of Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.). J Agric Food Chem 2004;52:1539-45. View abstract.
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Last reviewed - 07/02/2014
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