Purported Benefits, Side Effects & More


Purported Benefits, Side Effects & More

Common Names

  • Camu-camu
  • Cacari
  • Camu Berry
  • Zamu

For Patients & Caregivers

Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements you’re taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.

What is it?

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.

What are the potential uses and benefits?
  • 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

    There is no scientific evidence to support this use.
  • Arthritis

    This claim is not backed by scientific research.
What else do I need to know?

Do Not Take if:

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

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 is 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 showed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (5) (6) (7) with pharmacological activity exhibited by the leaves as well (4). In murine models, camu-camu fruits showed protective prebiotic effects against obesity (8); and shifted gut microbial composition that translated into antitumor activity along with a stronger anti-PD-1 response (9). A study is underway to determine if camu-camu can modulate gut microbiota in AIDS patients on antiretroviral therapy (10).

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 and Benefits
  • 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.
  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.
  8. Anhê FF, Nachbar RT, Varin TV, et al. Treatment with camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) prevents obesity by altering the gut microbiota and increasing energy expenditure in diet-induced obese mice. Gut. 2019 Mar;68(3):453-464.
  9. Messaoudene M, Pidgeon R, Richard C, et al. A Natural Polyphenol Exerts Antitumor Activity and Circumvents Anti-PD-1 Resistance through Effects on the Gut Microbiota. Cancer Discov. 2022 Apr 1;12(4):1070-1087.
  10. Isnard S, Fombuena B, Ouyang J, et al. Camu Camu effects on microbial translocation and systemic immune activation in ART-treated people living with HIV: protocol of the single-arm non-randomised Camu Camu prebiotic pilot study (CIHR/CTN PT032).  BMJ Open. 2022 Jan 17;12(1):e053081.
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