Skip navigation

Acai


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...

  • Arthritis.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Improving general health.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of acai.

How does it work?

Return to top
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.

Are there safety concerns?

Return to top
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.

Are there interactions with medications?

Return to top
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.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Return to top
There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there interactions with foods?

Return to top
There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

Return to top
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.

Other names

Return to top
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.

Methodology

Return to top
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).

References

Return to top
To see all references for the Acai page, please go to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/1109.html.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
Last reviewed - 09/10/2012




Page last updated: 12 March 2014