Camu-camu

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Camu-camu

Common Names

  • Camu-camu
  • Cacari
  • Camu Berry
  • Zamu

For Patients & Caregivers

How It Works

Camu-camu has not been shown to prevent or treat cancer in humans.

Camu-camu is a small plant that grows in South America. Laboratory studies and a small study in humans have shown that the fruits have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. More research is needed. Because camu-camu has high amounts of vitamin C, it may interfere with certain chemotherapy drugs.

Purported Uses
  • Cancer
    Camu-camu has not been shown to prevent or treat cancer in humans.
  • Immune support
    There is no scientific evidence to support this use.
  • Atherosclerosis
    A small study in smokers showed that camu-camu may protect again atherosclerosis. More studies are needed.
  • Arthritis
    This claim is not backed by scientific research.
Do Not Take If

You are taking chemotherapy drugs: Camu-camu has high amounts of vitamin C, which may interfere with their activity.

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For Healthcare Professionals

Scientific Name
Myrciaria dubia
Clinical Summary

Camu-camu is a shrub native to the Amazon region of South America. Due to its sour taste, it is not generally consumed as food. However because of the fruit’s high vitamin C content, camu-camu has been marketed as a dietary supplement with superfruit and immune boosting properties, and as having benefit for various conditions including diabetes and cancer.

Camu-camu fruits have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (5) (6) (7). Pharmacological activity is exhibited by the leaves as well (4). Large-scale clinical trials have not been conducted to study these effects in humans.

Due to its high vitamin C content, camu-camu may interfere with certain chemotherapy drugs. However, vitamin C content in frozen camu-camu pulp was shown to decrease progressively (1).

Purported Uses
  • Cancer
  • Immune system
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Arthritis
Mechanism of Action

The compounds isolated from the leaves of camu-camu, ellagic acid, 4-O-methylellagic acid and 4-(alpha-rhamnopyranosyl) ellagic acid, were found to exhibit noncompetitive inhibition of aldose-reductase, a possible target for diabetes mellitus (4). Camu-camu juice decreases inflammatory and oxidative stress markers such as 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine, total reactive oxygen species, C reactive protein, IL-6, and IL-8 in smokers (5).

Herb-Drug Interactions
  • Camu-camu has a high amount of Vitamin C which is an antioxidant. It may interact with certain chemotherapy drugs that rely on the generation of free radicals for their cytotoxic effects.
References
  1. Justi KC, Visentainer JV, Evelazio de Souza N, Matsushita M. Nutritional composition and vitamin C stability in stored camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) pulp. Arch Latinoam Nutr. Dec 2000;50(4):405-408.

  2. Bradfield RB, Roca A. Camu-Camu—A Fruit High in Ascorbic Acid.J Am Diet Assoc. Jan 1964;44:28-30.

  3. Zanatta CF, Cuevas E, Bobbio FO, et al. Determination of anthocyanins from camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) by HPLC-PDA, HPLC-MS, and NMR. J Agric Food Chem. Nov 30 2005;53(24):9531-9535.

  4. Ueda H, Kuroiwa E, Tachibana Y, et al. Aldose reductase inhibitors from the leaves of Myrciaria dubia (H. B. & K.) McVaugh. Phytomedicine. Nov 2004;11(7-8):652-656.

  5. Inoue T, Komoda H, Uchida T, Node K. Tropical fruit camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. J Cardiol. Oct 2008;52(2):127-132.

  6. Yazawa K, Suga K, Honma A, Shirosaki M, Koyama T. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Seeds of the Tropical Fruit Camu-Camu (Myrciaria dubia). J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2011;57(1):104-7.

  7. Langley PC, Pergolizzi JV Jr, Taylor R Jr, Ridgway C. Antioxidant and associated capacities of Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia): a systematic review. J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Jan;21(1):8-14.

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