Camu-Camu (Myrciaria dubia)

Camu-Camu (Myrciaria dubia) is the name of a bush which grows in the Amazonian rain forest of Peru. The Camu-Camu bush produces a fruit with the same name which contains powerful phytochemicals with health benefits, including the amino acids serine, valine, and leucine, and more Vitamin C than any other known plant in the world. The camu-camu fruit has a surprising range of therapeutic effects. Many people have stopped using large dosages of synthetic Vitamin C because they find that Camu-Camu is energizing, mood-lifting and highly effective in strengthening the immune system.*

The Camu-Camu fruit is about the size of a large grape and has a purplish red skin with a yellow pulp. It grows wild, is harvested directly into a freezer boat, which travels down the river ways of the Amazon where the fruit is picked at the height of its ripeness and flash-frozen. It is then taken to a processing plant where it is thawed, peeled, liquefied and spray dried. The resulting powder is a pale pink to yellow beige with very potent effects.

Although the number of milligrams of Vitamin C, which Camu-Camu contains, is low compared to the milligrams in synthetically derived Vitamin C tablets, it has more natural Vitamin C than any known botanical on the planet, the effects on the human body are incomparable. Because of its food form, with bioflavanoids and other phytochemicals, clinical evidence suggests that it is far more effective, milligram for milligram, than synthetic Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Many people report that just two capsules daily (1/3 tsp.) is sufficient to significantly increase their wellness.

Camu-Camu is very well known and prized in Japan but is almost unknown in the U.S. Nevertheless, the Peruvian government expects that it will become a major export when its amazing properties are discovered in the United States. It is preparing for the expected large increase in demand by making Camu-Camu seedlings available free of charge to communities of native people who are rain-forest dwellers for them to plant and to tend. It takes four to five years for the Camu-Camu bush to bear fruit. The growing popularity of this wild rainforest fruit is contributing to the sustainable development of the Amazon River basin and helping the forest dwellers to maintain their traditional way of life.

Some of the extraordinary medicinal properties of this Amazon rain forest fruit are described by Gary Null, Ph.D., a nationally known nutritionist and researcher, (1996). The camu-camu fruit has a surprising range of health-promoting effects. Camu-Camu helps to strengthen the immune system, maintain healthy gums, eyes and skin. Some extraordinary properties of this Amazon rainforest fruit are described by Gary Null, Ph.D., a nationally known nutritionist and researcher. In his Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Healing, (1998), Null lists disease conditions and the herbs that have been found effective for their health promoting properties in reference to specific organ/system weaknesses and problems. In discussing the holistic treatment of mood-support, he lists 19 plants containing chemical compounds with mood-balancing properties, in order of potency. Camu-Camu is no. two on his list.* Anecdotally and in clinical experience, Null’s assessment of Camu-Camu has proven to be correct although the Camu-Camu fruit as such has hardly been studied at all, apart from clinical experience there is only indirect inferential evidence from scientific studies on the effect of Vitamin C. it appears to provide nutritional support for the brain to optimize its own mood balancing chemistry. Additionally, published research suggests that Vitamin C supports an increased serotonin level in the brain. Some health care practitioners have reported that Camu-Camu has same day mood-balancing effects. There are no side effects, such as photo-sensitivity or gastrointestinal problems, and it can be used safely in combination with pharmaceutical antidepressants.* There have been no reports of its interference with the effectiveness of any pharmaceutical drugs.

The Camu-Camu fruit has a surprising range of medicinal effects as measured both by traditional use and by quantity of a variety of phytochemical compounds which experimentally

have demonstrated therapeutic effects. Dr. James Duke retired chief botanist for the U.S.Dept.of Agriculture, pre-eminent New World tropical botanist, and author of many botanical books, including the popular Green Pharmacy, lists some of these effects in his Ethnobotanical website, based on amounts of various phytochemicals which Myrciaria dubia contains.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and the information given here is for educational purposes only. This product is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

Chemical Analysis of Camu-Camu

In an analysis performed by an independent laboratory, the following amounts per 100 grams of chemical compounds were found in an analysis of 430 grams of spray-dried Camu-Camu powder (Royal Camu Powder):

Moisture 2.41 g.
Ash 1.01 g.
Fat 2.62 g.
Protein 1.55 g.
Fiber 0.76 g.
Total Carbohydrate 92.71 g.
Reducing Sugars 70.84 g.
Non-reducing Sugars 18.47 g.
Glucose 18.33 g.
Lactose 0.47 g.
Maltose 22.27 g.
Sucrose 18.00 g.
Starch 58.01 g.
Potassium 9.71 g.
Calcium 4.27 mg.
Phosphorus 35.14 mg.
Iron 0.94 mg.
Vitamin C 10.20 g. *
Vitamin B2 0.16 mg.
Vitamin B1 0.07 mg.
Niacin 8.25 mg.

References:

Dr. James Duke’s Ethnobotanical database: www.ars-grin.gov/duke/

Null, Gary. A Woman’s Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Seven Stories Press, New York, N.Y., 1997.

The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Healing,. Kensington Press, New York, N.Y., 1998

by Viana Muller, Ph.D. This article may not be reprinted without permission from the author.