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Acerola

Malpighia species

Herbs gallery - acerola.jpg

Common names

  • Acerola
  • Antilles Cherry
  • Barbados Cherry
  • Cereso

The tree known as the acerola reaches a height of ten to fifteen feet when fully grown - it is a bushy tree with abundant foliage. The acerola is endemic to parts of the West Indies and it also grows in areas around Southern Texas within the United States, substantial populations of the plant can also be found all the way south to areas along the northern regions of South America. The main cultivation of the acerola occurs because of its value as an ornamental shrub, this form of cultivation is particularly extensive in areas around the southeastern regions of the United States. Acerola produces fleshy red fruits which can be about the size of a cherry and these are usually eaten fresh or used in the manufacture of assorted jams and jellies in regions where the herb grows. The fruits of the acerola are also very highly regarded for their commercial value, they are an important source of the natural vitamin C, and the vitamin is extracted from the fruits of the acerola by many commercial companies.

The fruits of the acerola tree are prized for their nutritive value, and they are generally regarded as being one of the richest organic sources for the vitamin C in the world. The vitamin value of the acerola fruits is substantial and on an average, just 100 grams or about 3.5 ounces of the ripened acerola fruits can contain 17,000 milligrams of the vitamin C - this is very substantial for any fruit including citruses. At the same time, differences in the vitamin C content of acerola fruits exists, and this factor depends on the season of harvesting, the climate in which the trees are grown, and the location of the trees. The ripeness of the fruit used for extraction of vitamin C also dictates the amount of vitamin actually extracted to a very large extent. The value of the acerola as a source for vitamin C can be seen in comparison to a familiar citrus fruit - the orange, for example, hundred grams of oranges will usually contain only about 50 milligrams of vitamin C, and this is very low compared to the acerola. Some other benefits of the acerola fruits include a very high carotene content, which is favorably comparable to the content of carotene in carrots. The acerola fruits are also good sources for the essential minerals magnesium, the vitamin niacin, the vitamin pantothenic acid, and the mineral potassium, the fruits of the acerola also contains substantial amounts of the vitamin B1-thiamine, and it also has the vitamin B2-riboflavin, for this reason the fruits of the acerola can be used as herbal supplements. The fruit of the acerola is best eaten when it is green, as the vitamin content is highest before it fully ripens. The major part of the vitamins is lost as the fruit begins to ripen, for this reason, the acerola fruits are always harvested while they are unripe.

As a herbal remedy, the acerola based preparations are primarily utilized as a source for the vitamin C and for their ability to beat back free-radicals-that is for their role as free radical scavengers. The herbal remedies made from the acerola herb are also used as a source for many of the other essential vitamins and vital minerals necessary for the functioning of the body. In addition, fruits of the acerola also have a high content of other bio-chemically active substances, such as the provitamin A, which can bolster and promote the anti-oxidative-or cell-protective- effects of the vitamin C within the body.

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All humans require the essential nutrient vitamin C for many vital processes occurring within the body and this vitamin must be sourced through dietary substances. The vitamin C performs many essential duties and actions within the human body, and the vitamin has been identified as possessing natural detoxification properties, it also works as an antioxidant, and has an anti-histamine action in the body. Another useful property of the vitamin C is its role as a natural chelating agent, in this role the vitamin indirectly protects the body from the adverse effects of pollutants and also acts as a safeguard for the body during chance exposure to heavy metals in the environment. The vitamin C is also very important and necessary for the formation and for the proper maintenance of the protein known as collagen. Collagen is a essential necessity and is the primary protein used in the skin and in all the connective tissues, as such, proper levels of collagen in the body are required for the functioning of a healthy liver and in maintenance of normal functions in the adrenal gland at all times - and particularly during period of stress.

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The role of the vitamin C in the body also includes another vital element, in that, the vitamin helps fight stress and has a relaxing action over the body. Additional supplements of the vitamin may be required by individuals who normally experience a lot of stress, especially those who live in polluted cities, in addition, individuals who smoke, and those prone to repeated infection also need large amounts of the vitamin C either as supplements or through their diet.

When used as a herbal supplement, the acerola is best and easiest to utilize when taken in the form of a natural vitamin C tablet known as "vitamin CUSP with acerola" along with the diet or as daily supplements. At the same time, dosages of the tablets must be fine tuned to individual health factors and to avoid the metabolism changes which may cause the body to need large amounts of vitamin C for normal health; it is advisable to use no more than one or two tablets of the remedy, daily for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Additionally, during the treatment for herpes, the acerola tablets must be taken only when the physical lesions begin to break out on the body and become apparent. When taking supplements of acerola, make sure that you drink at least six to eight glasses of water during the course of the day.

Depleted levels of the vitamin C in the body as a result of treatment using tetracycline based antibiotics, and compounds such as the corticosteroids like the drug prednisone, and various oral contraceptives can be rectified using supplements of the acerola as a main source for the vitamin C. Some precautionary measure need to be understood when using acerola and other potent herbal sources of the vitamin C - the supplementation of such remedies must not be undertaken immediately following cancer surgery in the body. As a normal part of their bio-chemical process, the cancer cells normally require special transport molecules for the uptake of large amounts of the vitamin C from the vitamin pool in the tissues. Cancer cells begin to take up the vitamin C on their own, when they are "minced"-become separated from the tumor-and the vitamin C is utilized at this time to stimulate growth in the cancerous growth. For this reason, in the immediate period following any surgical procedure on cancer tissues, the acerola supplement must be strictly avoided, at least for two to three weeks in the immediate aftermath of the surgery. Supplements of the acerola must also be rigorously avoided during the period of chemotherapy involving chemical agents intended to deprive the cancer cells of the vitamin C - such as the compound melphalan-marketed as Alkeran. Avoiding the herbal supplement at this juncture will help in the recovery process.

Acerola and general vitamin C supplements must also be avoided by individuals suffering from long term hemachromatosis - known as the iron overload disease, this is because the rate of iron absorption in the body increases when an individual takes over 200 milligrams of vitamin C per day as a supplemental measure. However, if deferoxamine-marketed as Desferal, is being used in the treatment of the affected individual, then he or she may indeed benefit from taking supplements of the acerola, in this case, excess iron in the circulation being removed by the medication is aided by the additional load of vitamin C and the recovery rate is enhanced.

Acerola can also be used in the form of topical herbal creams; the use of acerola skin creams for the treatment of external problems does not carry a grave risk of suffering from an overdose. Ideally, you should check for the chances of allergic reactions before you use such a topical cream, test the cream, by initially applying it on a small area of the skin and watch out for any developing sign of an allergic reaction-if no signs are produced, then the cream can be used without fear of side effects. Generally, the cream must be applied only if there is no redness or swelling in the teat patch of skin, forty-eight hours following initial application of the cream.

The conversion of excess vitamin C into calcium oxalate within the body is supported by some scientific evidence, such situations can come about when the concentration of the vitamin C is high in the urine of an individual, during a condition called ascorbate-induced hyperoxaluria that can develop in some individuals. The physiological result can be the formation of kidney stones inside the kidneys in certain individuals. The situation is not very common in occurrence. There is some evidence to suggest that hereditary and hence genetic factors can be responsible for such a physiological response to presence of vitamin C in the body, for this reason individuals with a family history of kidney stones, must have themselves screened for ascorbate-induced hyperoxaluria and check possible signs to preclude the onset of the condition.

An important factor is the actual metabolic requirement of the vitamin C, indeed, just how much of the vitamin C is the ideal dose at any time, by the body? It was shown in a research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in the year 1999, that ordinary cells in the body do not seem to be capable of absorbing more vitamin C than about 200 milligrams of vitamin C, taken in doses twice or thrice in the course of any day. On the face of it, the situation may be deduced as consisting of a net wastage vitamin C provided to the body from high-potency sources of vitamin C such as the acerola. However, the ascorbic acid is never "wasted" in any sense even when all of it is not used to fight off infection or in treating degenerative diseases of many types. The vitamin C sourced from the acerola treats conditions in the body by acting on the external surface of cells rather than going inside them to be discarded. As a result, the acerola is beneficial as it actively prevents the outbreak of cell limited viruses to the general circulation, at the same time, the acerola also provides a high concentration of antioxidants essential for the proper transportation of many vital nutrients across the cell membrane. Acerola is beneficial in many ways, and the relatively high dosages of the vitamin C in any dose of acerola is utilized for the alleviation of many different disorders in the body.

In the medical literature, the term-body tolerance is used to describe the highest dose of vitamin C which can be taken by a person at any time-without experiencing any side effects such as excess abdominal gas, the loosening of stools, or short term diarrhea. The proper way to discover individual body tolerance to the vitamin C is by beginning dosages of the vitamin C at relatively low dose, the initial dose can be 500 to 1,000 milligrams of the vitamin, following every meal during the course of the day. This initial dosage level can be increased slowly over time, every day the dose can be hiked a little. Till some of the physical symptoms mentioned before become apparent. At this point, dosage of the vitamin C must be reduced slightly to the highest amount that you are able to tolerate - this is just below your body tolerance and the ideal dosage regimen for you make minor changes in individual doses as needed from time to time.

Individuals with no health issues are likely to find their body-tolerance for the vitamin C to be around 2,000 to 12,000 milligrams of vitamin C taken in regular doses daily. Contrast this with individuals having health problems, who are likely to discover their requirement for the vitamin is very high and that the body tolerance for the vitamin C has increased to 10,000 to 30,000 - or even more - milligrams of the vitamin every day. A gradual reduction in the amount of vitamin C required by the body is seen as the health condition of an individual improves over any given period of time.

Parts used

Fruits.

Uses

The herbal remedies made from acerola are utilized in the treatment of a variety of disorders including aging in different individuals. The main focus of the research on the affects of the herb on the aging process emphasized the action of the herb on free radicals and other chemical agents that are the main cause for major oxidative damage within the body and at the same time, the research also studied the process of gradual failure in the immune system during the aging process and the ability of acerola to rectify this condition in humans. These two phenomena are believed by many scientists to be the two major factors that are largely responsible for the aging process in human bodies. The high concentrations of vitamin C in the acerola herb is very effective at scavenging the free radicals inside the body, the direct result of this action is that it results in preventing damaging oxidation reactions from occurring freely within the body, the vitamin C also happens to stimulate the functioning of the immune system at the same time-the net result of all these factors is that the aging process is slowed down. The herbal remedies made from acerola have also been used in the treatment of various types of allergies. The beneficial effects of the acerola in this situation is also due to its high content of the vitamin C, the vitamin is a very powerful and effective natural antihistamine-capable of dealing with many different allergic reactions in the human body. Relatively fewer allergic reactions and disorders have been observed in individuals on supplements of vitamin C, this observation is based on the results obtained from studies on people who used supplements of vitamin C on a regular basis, in addition, vitamin C also aids in dealing with all types of respiratory infections, and helps ward off asthma attacks in different people.

The herbal remedies manufactured from the acerola have also been used in the treatment of angina. The acerola herbal remedies are generally considered to be an exceptionally rich source for the vitamin C. At the same time, the herbal remedies made from acerola also aids individuals using nitroglycerin tablets by preventing them from becoming habituated to the repeated doses of the medication-without the herbal remedy, such individuals normally tend to require larger and larger doses of the herbal remedy. Acerola remedies due to their high content of the vitamin C also prevent the occurrence of a condition known as orthostatic hypotension, individuals who suffer from this condition develop a sudden tendency to faint, this fainting spell tends to come on when the person moves from a seated position to an upright position. The treatment of atherosclerosis is also carried out using herbal remedies made from acerola. The high content of the vitamin C in the acerola herbal remedy is very beneficial as it aids in the normalization of blood fat levels within the body associated with atherosclerosis.

Moderate and severe cases of atherosclerosis have been effectively and successfully reversed through the use of high-dose acerola treatments in many patients. Disorders such as bronchitis can also be treated using the herbal remedies sourced from acerola. The high amount of vitamin C present in the acerola remedy, has very potent anti-infective properties and this enables the immune system of the person to regain balance over time-thus the body is able to fight the infection much more effectively and resolution of the disorder results. The aforementioned results were seen in studies conducted on hospital patients suffering from bronchitis, in this study the recovery rates of patients who used acerola were much faster compared to the other patients who did not make use of the supplemental vitamin C.

The herbal remedies made from the acerola have also been used in the treatment of cancer in different patients. The results from various scientific studies indicate that individuals consuming foods high in vitamin C seem to posses a much lower chance than average of developing different types of malignancies - this is especially true of cancer in the stomach and the esophagus. The herbal remedies made from the acerola have also been used in the treatment of commonly occurring colds and flu in different patients. The symptoms of colds and flu has been showed to be reduced substantially when affected patients were given 2,000 to 4,000 milligrams of vitamin C or equivalent doses of acerola, furthermore this dosage regimen tended to shorten the duration of the infection in different patients. In addition to these direct action properties, the herbal remedies made from the acerola also have supplementary abilities. Acerola is known to increase the effectiveness of acetaminophen - Tylenol - this medication is normally used to bring relief from various aches in the body and the pains induced by colds and flu. The herbal remedy manages to increase the effectiveness of the drug by slowing down the rate at which the pain reliever is metabolically eliminated from the bloodstream of the person using it, the medical compound stays longer and this benefits the person.

The various herbal remedies made from the acerola have also been utilized in the treatment of glaucoma in different persons. During the serious condition known as glaucoma, there is a massive spike in the intraocular pressure - this is the fluid pressure inside the eyeball - this increase in pressure occurs because the drainage mechanism for this contained fluid develops a malfunction. A number of scientific studies have proven that intake of the vitamin C can lead to lowering of the build up intraocular pressure in the affected eyeball of patients.

Herbal remedies made from the acerola have also been used in the successful treatment of herpes in many patients. The herpes virus multiplies in accumulated mucus produced by the body as a reaction to the infection, acerola breaks down this mucus and this leads to destruction of the viral particles. At the same time, acerola remedies also give the body vitamin C at very high concentrations in single doses, this vitamin complement of the remedy interacts with the micronutrient copper present in the body, and the combined action leads to the elimination of 99.994 percent of the viral particles in the body normally produced by the rupturing of cells infected by herpes. At the same time, research results from other clinical studies conducted on the herpes infected individuals shows that supplemental use of the vitamin C can greatly aid in bringing about a reduction in the pain and the swelling of the body, the supplemental measure of the vitamin also speeds up the healing of scabs by several days in most cases.

The herbal remedies based on the acerola are also used in the treatment of infertility in different individuals. Vitamin C supplementation can be used for the effective treatment of infertility, especially those brought on by the presence of certain abnormalities in the sperm of affected men, indeed, used in this role the effectiveness of the supplemental vitamin C was found to be equal and as effective as several other fertility boosting medications used in the conventional treatment of infertility in men.

The herbal remedies based on the acerola have also been used in the treatment of disorders such as Parkinson's disease in many patients. The benefit of the herbal remedies sourced from the acerola in this role is that they are an excellent source for many useful antioxidants compounds, these beneficial compounds are the agents responsible for the maintenance of proper mental functioning and can help prevent the onset of dementia in different individuals likely to be affected by Parkinson's disease. At the same time, further clinic based research points to the fact that the remedies based particularly on the acerola can be very helpful in maintaining the correct levels of all available vitamin C within brain tissues of individuals affected by Parkinson's disease, this result was found to be especially true of those using vitamin E supplements as a long term treatment strategy.

The herbal remedies based on the acerola have also been used in the treatment of wrinkles in different people affected by this sign of aging. Cellular aging can be slowed down using acerola extracts, these herbal extracts of the herb are used as active ingredients in a variety of antioxidant skincare products currently in the market. The acerola is very rich in important mineral salts, which aid the body by promoting the accumulation of minerals in tired, stressed and mineral depleted skin. This herb contains significant amounts of helpful herbal mucilage and many essential proteins that are important for the prevention of drying in the skin. Finally, the herbal remedies made from the acerola herb are very effective against fungal infections affecting the skin and remove such infections rapidly when used as topical herbal treatments.

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