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jul 31, 2017

Guariroba, the Brazilian fruit with medicinal properties

Rich in minerals, vitamins, niacin, proteins and carbohydrates, the guariroba fruit could be the latest superfood to surface from Brazil. Hailing from Brazil’s center-west and southern regions, it contains properties that make it a natural cure for many pesky ailments, including urinary inflammations, cystitis and diarrhea.

A 2013 study conducted by five Brazilian researchers and published by the peer-reviewed PLoS ONE journal (which publishes original research related to science and medicine) highlights the health benefits of guariroba and its potential to the food and pharmaceutical industry.

The name guariroba comes from the indigenous Guarani language. The plant is hardy and resistant to droughts, and its need for constant sunlight poses no problem in Brazil. Guabiroba can also flourish in tough soils and difficult climates, growing up to 20 meters tall.

This plant grows mainly in the cerrado, a Brazilian tropical savanna biome considered by the World Wide Fund for Nature as the “world’s most biologically rich savanna.” Cerrado is known for its unique array of droughts and harsh weather conditions. But these less-than-ideal conditions actually contribute to the healing properties of guariroba.

The more “aggressive” an environment is, the more fruit species develop bioactive compounds. Research shows that antioxidant substances are actually defense mechanisms. The Brazilian researchers who studied the properties of fruits from the Brazilian savanna say that “daily consumption may protect human tissues against oxidative stress, and thus, they may prevent chronic diseases and premature aging.”

This juicy, green fruit is produced between October and December, and typically grows in Brazil’s forests and river basins. Its presence suggests that the land is fertile. Guariroba leaves and seeds are also a great compliment to the diet of farm animals.

While doctors remind us that plants such as guabiroba should not replace actual medical monitoring, and affirm that high doses of anything can be harmful to one’s health, they praise the fruit´s natural properties for its huge potential.

With its high levels of vitamins B and C, plus useful minerals, guabiroba already provides ample health benefits. But besides its proteins, niacin and carbohydrate, the fruit develops properties that make it useful for combating diarrhea, the flu, and inflammation. Guariroba is also helpful in fighting dysentery and urinary infections, like cystitis.

And guabiroba is not simply used to treat infections. Its bark and leaves have been used for centuries in teas or immersion baths, as since they help to relieve body aches. But the tart, astringent palm heart is also delicious on its own, and can be enjoyed in juices, ice creams, and popsicles.