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What is Acerola Used for Today?
Acerola is primarily marketed as a source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Because of these constituents, it has substantial antioxidant properties. 1 One study found that acerola significantly increased the antioxidant activity of soy and alfalfa . 2 It is not clear, however, that this rather theoretical finding indicates anything of significance to human health. Other powerful antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene have proved disappointing when they were subjected to studies that could discern whether their actions as antioxidants translated into actual health benefits.
Like many plants, acerola has antibacterial and antifungal properties, at least in the test tube. 3 However, no studies in humans have been reported.
- Hassimotto NM, Genovese MI, Lajolo FM. Antioxidant activity of dietary fruits, vegetables, and commercial frozen fruit pulps. J Agric Food Chem. 53(8):2928-35.
- Hwang J, Hodis HN, Sevanian A. Soy and alfalfa phytoestrogen extracts become potent low-density lipoprotein antioxidants in the presence of acerola cherry extract. J Agric Food Chem. 49(1):308-14.
- Motohashi N, Wakabayashi H, Kurihara T, et al. Biological activity of barbados cherry (acerola fruits, fruit of Malpighia emarginata DC) extracts and fractions. Phytother Res. 2004;18:212–23.