The berries of the camu camu tree have been used by Amazonian Indians for hundreds of years. A highly nutritious food source rich in phytochemicals. Traditional uses, besides food, include use as a pain reliever, treatment for infection, and to promote long life. Poultices were also made from the bark of the tree to treat rheumatism or as a topical treatment for wounds.
Camu-camu fruits are small, about the size of a cherry or large grape. They are green when unripe, turning a reddish purple and eventually red when mature. The camu-camu tree, which could be described as a large bush, grows from about 6-25 feet in height and is found on flood plain or swamps. Originally wild camu-camu trees were most plentiful near the drainage areas of the Xingu River (an Amazon tributary in Northern Brazil) and the Napo River in Ecuador. The Peruvian Amazon now has the largest variety of species due to propagation.
Harvesting camu-camu, which takes place between November and March in the wild, is a slow and difficult process because the terrain is flooded and often a good percent of the fruit trees are underwater. Farmers use canoes to access and harvest the fruit trees in the swamps.
In the above picture we see two young people gather camu camu in a flooded grove. These fruits are used by Amazon Herb Company to make nutritional supplements, thereby providing a local income while also promoting sustainable harvesting of the botanical treasures of the rainforest.
Camu-camu fruit has the highest recorded amount of natural vitamin C known on the planet. Oranges provide 500-4,000 ppm of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid; acerola has tested in the range of 16,000 to 172,000 ppm. Camu-camu provides up to 500,000 ppm, or about 2 grams of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit. In comparison to oranges, camu-camu provides thirty times more vitamin C, ten times more iron, three times more niacin, twice as much riboflavin and 50% more phosphorus. Camu-camu is also a significant source of potassium, providing 711 mg per kg of fruit. It also has a full complement of minerals and amino acids that can aid in the absorption of vitamin C. Alpha-pinene and d-limonene (compounds known as terpenes) predominate as the volatile compounds in this fruit.
As with any vitamin C-rich fruit, however, the time between harvesting and consumption is crucial; the fruit may lose up to a quarter of its vitamin C content in less than a month (even if frozen). Even with this loss, camu-camu still has a dramatic edge over its next challenger, acerola, for vitamin C content.
In addition to the chemicals mentioned above, camu-camu contains beta-carotene, calcium, leucine, protein, serine, thiamin, and valine.
Traditionally, native medicine practitioners and herbalists have recommended camu-camu to:
- Detoxifying the body, especially the liver
- Helps improve your eye sight considerably
- Helps in keeping organs like eyes, brain, heart, skin and liver healthy
- Keeps away colds and other viral infections
- Keeps your tendons, collagen and ligaments strong
- Promotes health of upper respiratory organs, including lungs, sinuses, nasal passages
- Promotes a healthy heart and circulatory system
- Reduces inflammation
- Strengthen the immune system
- Supports healthy red and white blood cell formation
Enjoy Camu-Camu in sorbets, yogurts, or mixed with other fruits.
The Camu Camu berry is available as a dried powder which can be used in various ways. You can mix it with water to make an instant health drink or add it to juices and smoothies. The powder is tangy and flavorful so it’s a pleasure to consume.
NOTE: Please be aware that excessive consumption could lead to diarrhea.
Where can you buy Raw Camu Camu Powder?
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