Who doesn’t want beautiful looking skin? Most people want skin that is free of wrinkles, abnormal pigmentation and perhaps most of all, free of cancer. One of the promising herbs that may provide this is Acai berry.
Acai berry (Euterpe olercea) is about the size of grape and native to the region of the Amazon rain forest. It comes from the Acai Palm tree, the same tree that gives the delicious “Hearts of Palm”. The berries can be taken internally and the oil of the seeds within the berry can be applied topically. One of the exciting findings about acai berries is that they are a whole food rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants have numerous benefits in the body. One of them is to protect the cells of the body from damage, particularly damage to the DNA.
The acai berry has very large seed content. These seeds are gathered and then pressed into natural green oil. The cold pressed oil has a very high antioxidant value and can be applied topically to the skin. Applied topically, acai prevent the skin from being damaged.
There are a few major causes of skin damage. The key players are sunlight, cigarette smoking, polluted air and the intake of pesticides. These substances damage the skin cells creating what is called “free radicals.” Free radicals are rogue cells that then go on to damage other cells creating more free radicals. Some of the cells however with damaged DNA go on to become cancerous cells.
Free radicals are normally kept in check by antioxidants in the body. The goal of super-nutrition and the use of topical products are to prevent the formation of free radicals and to destroy the free radicals that are formed. The chemicals that destroy free radicals are called antioxidants. Antioxidants are found throughout nature in our fruits and vegetables. They help to combat the effects of environmental toxins. However, as environmental stress rises, so too does the need for the use of those substances that have a high concentration of antioxidants. Acai berry appears to be one of those substances. The Acai berry has high levels of vitamin C, poly phenols and anthocyanins (flavonoids) each of which are powerful antioxidants. In fact, the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value of Acai berries is extraordinary. The ORAC value is a system of rating the antioxidant benefits of various substances. The ORAC value of Acai berries are one of the highest among all fruits!
There is not much that is known about the ayurvedic energetic of Acai at this time. Neither the fruit nor oil are used in India. I’ll continue to experiment with the oil and write about its ayurvedic energetic at a later date.
The pure science supports the benefits of Acai berry however it is important to note that human studies have not been performed and thus it cannot be stated with certainty that Acai offer miraculous benefits. However, there is enough evidence to suggest that it is beneficial and there is no evidence to suggest that it is harmful. For these reasons, I highly recommend the use of acai berries internally and its oil topically.
1. J Drugs Dermatol. 2010 Jun; 9(6 Suppl):S72-81; quiz s82-3.Innovations in natural ingredients and their use in skin care. Fowler, Woolery-Lloyd H, Waldorf H, Saini R. Source University of Louisville, Division of Dermatology, Louisville, KY 40202, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. ORAC Values: http://www.oracvalues.com/sort/orac-value
by Dr. Marc Halpern, Cal College of Ayurveda