Originally published January 4 2011
Camu Camu - Defend yourself with the superfood from Peru
by Alex Malinsky aka RawGuru
(NaturalNews) The Peruvian Amazon rainforest is home to a shrub that, when it matures into a bush around four or five years old, sprouts a berry called camu camu. The reddish and purplish fruit are approximately the size of a cherry, look like a cranberry and have a tart taste. Rarely eaten plain and usually added as a supplement to other foods, the camu camu berry is the superfood with the highest known level of vitamin C on the planet. One teaspoonful of its powder form in a glass of liquid twice a day is enough to give the user an immediate energy boost and to strengthen the immune system in defense against many ailments.
The camu camu berry is a storehouse of a rich amount of vitamins, amino acids and bioflavonoids. Its high vitamin C content makes it one of the latest of the Amazon's vast natural wonders to achieve growing popularity. The berry also contains minerals such as calcium, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, phosphorous, iron and beta carotene. More study is needed to give a full breakdown of its content, but amino acids like serine, necessary for overall mental and nervous system health, is found in the berry. Camu camu also contains 30 to 60 percent more vitamin C than an orange.
Herbalists of the Amazon have traditionally lauded its medicinal ability to increase vitality, fight off colds, herpes and other viruses, detoxify the liver, grow white blood cells and support the circulatory, among other things as well. In its powdered form, where it is usually mixed in a base of sweet tapioca starch for taste and easy digestion, the berry is accessible to a larger population of people. Those who use synthetic forms of vitamin C, known to cause upset stomachs and even allergic reactions due to the large quantity ingested for medicinal needs, will find the camu camu powder a much better choice. Strangely, although the camu camu cannot compete with synthetic C in milligrams per teaspoon of vitamin C, the berry's total mixture of natural ingredients make it the winner in effectiveness.
Camu camu is not very picky about where it calls home. It is a rather easily grown plant. Though traditionally it has been wild harvested for centuries by the indigenous peoples of Peru where the climate is hot and humid, it is now being commercially grown by farming companies outside of the rainforest. Camu camu can be successfully grown in cold, rainy and subtropical climes. This varied harvesting of course produces fruit of different qualities so the consumer would want to read labels to find the efficacy of any particular brand. For instance, in the dried powder form some varieties amazingly increase their concentration of vitamin C content over what is found in the full berry state.
How is it used? Well, in the Amazon the wild berry is crushed and the acrid juice is separated and added to desserts like ice creams, pies and candies. Camu camu berry powder is mostly mixed into water or juice as a supplement. It can be added to blended drinks like smoothies. With the market expanding Amazonians have taken to marketing it as an additive in cosmetics and hair products. It is said to be useful as a hair straightener. Its uses are only beginning to be tapped by the foreign markets. With no known drug contraindications or side effects save for those associated with high vitamin C usage camu camu berry powder shows potential of becoming more and more of a household name.
About the authorAlex Malinsky aka RawGuru is an award winning chef and one of the leading experts in the field of raw food. He started to learn about raw foods at the early at of 15. After 10 years on the raw food diet he continues to be on the cutting edge of nutritional research and product development. Visit Alex's website at: www.RawGuru.com for more information.
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