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Acerola Extract Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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Acerola Extract

Acerola is the name of a tropical shrub or small tree which is a part of Malpighiaceae family and usually grows in Southern Mexico, South America or Central America. However, there are also areas in the subtropical region of Asia or Northern America in which this herb can grow if proper conditions for its habitat exist. It’s scientifically known as Malpighia emarginata and other common names are Wild Crepemyrtle, Barbados cherry, and West Indian Cherry.

The reason for its popularity is the fact that it is rich in vitamin C, having approximately the same quantity as Camu Camu. Furthermore, it features a variety of vitamins like A, B2, or B3, and bioflavonoids that offer proper bodily nourishment as well as antioxidant qualities. In comparison to synthetic ascorbic acid, the one found in Malphigia’s fruits is better absorbed by the organism, thus facilitating its intake.

Acerola Functions & Benefits

Over the centuries, people have utilized acerola for treatment or prevention of scurvy, a disease determined by vitamin C deficiencies. Other qualities of this herb were later discovered, and they positively affect almost all bodily functions with either small or big impact. For example, some medical uses include prevention of cardiovascular illnesses, blood clots, cancer, and atherosclerosis which is the medical term of arteries hardening. From a particular point of view, there are people who use treatment based on acerola for tooth decay, common cold, collagen disorders, depression, retinal hemorrhages, or pressure sores.

In addition, thanks to the fact that it increases physical endurance, athletes all over the world take it in a supplementation form before competitions or during intense training periods. Even though this practice is pretty common, there is insufficient evidence when it comes to the beneficial effects of the herb on the physical strength and more research is needed in order to conclude its general efficacy.

Proliferation is thought to be cured or prevented by this herbal extract as well as unrelenting cellular division. Furthermore, the formation of oncogenes or cancer cells should also be demoted. Some nutritional companies have even developed a series of natural remedies which target treatment of hair due to the enhancement of hair structure provided by this ingredient. People over 70 years old can benefit from its usage because it is thought to reduce gaining pace by speeding up cellular regeneration, thus reducing signs of aging like fine lines, patchy skin, uneven skin tone, or wrinkles.

Additionally, because it enhances the red blood cell count, it can treat people with anemia. Diabetics are also among potential beneficiaries of acerola because it lowers sugar levels in the body while also providing proper oxygen distribution and nourishment.

Another quality of this ingredient is promotion of blood clotting that determines faster wound and bruise healing, while also providing help when it comes to formation of collagen. Therefore, it targets skin quality and also underlines connective tissues so that people with infections can heal in shorter periods. Furthermore, it represents a natural chelating agent, which means that it provides protection from adverse effects that environmental irritants and pollutants may determine. Because of this, people exposed to heavy metals or radiation can be somehow protected. Another particular property of acerola is maintenance of water balance in the body, hence a hemostatic state is maintained and hemorrhage is prevented.

Due to its high vitamin C composition, children can strongly benefit from its usage because it has a role in strengthening the immune system while eradicating oral problems. Support offered to proper bodily development, as well as stimulation of skeletal system are two other reasons for regarding this ingredient as a possible natural approach for children. On the other hand, the dosage found in dietary products should be carefully chosen in order to avoid affecting the child in a negative way.

Even though there isn’t sufficient evidence on this matter, people with melisma may also take advantage of this ingredient because it lowers melanin production.


Although generally viewed as safe when taken by adults or children, there are a series of unwanted effects that may occur and include nausea, sleepiness, stomach cramps or insomnia. When the dosage normally supported by the body has been exceeded, diarrhea follows and if the intake is continued on longer periods, nephrolithiasis may be experienced, the scientific name for kidney stones which is a result of too much Vitamin C.

Because it can have a negative impact on unborn babies, acerola is one of those ingredients that should be avoided during pregnancy. In addition, its content rich in Vitamin may adversely affect nursing mothers. However, if the woman strongly desires to take this herb, she should first consult her personal healthcare practitioner prior to beginning the treatment because a proper dosage has to be established so there is no further medical issue. Particularly, people that have latex allergy are among those who should think of approaching a different ingredient for treating their problems.

It is important to closely watch people that suffer from gout if they decide to take supplementation based on acerol because it increases uric acid levels which in some cases can worsen this condition. There can also be moderate interactions with prescribed medication like Warfarine or Fluphenazine that may end up with a decrease in efficacy levels.

Best Acerola Sources

People consume acerola either as a fruit by making juices or pulps or in a form of herbal extract featured in an herbal medicine. There is usually 1677.6 mg of vitamin C in 100 g acerola fruit. People who live in areas in which the shrub grows wildly prefer to consume it in a natural way. However, if this possibility is excluded, they tend to appeal to dietary approaches in which the effectiveness levels may be lowered due to manufacturing processes.

Nutritional businesses use this ingredient either for a series of medical conditions of which the majority was mentioned above or beauty treatments. People may purchase it in a form of an extract or powder. However, it should be kept in mind that the recommended intake varies depending on the sex, age, health or other factors and in order to determine the appropriate dosage for optimal result, a personal healthcare should be consulted prior to buying any type of remedy.