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Medicinal Plant: Avocado

By goGreen | April 15, 2012
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Family • Lauraceae
Persea americana
You li

Scientific names

Common names

Persea gratissima Gaertn.Abokado (Ceb.)
Persea americana Mill.Aguacate (Span.)
Laurus persea Linn.Alligator pear (Engl.)
Avocado (Engl.)
You li (Chin.)

Abukado is a medium-sized tree reaching a height of up to 10 to 15 meters. Leaves are alternate, leathery, obolong to oval or obovate, about 20 centimeters long. Flowers are small, yellow, borne in naked, panicled hairy cymes. Stamens are 12, in groups of 3 in 4 whorls. Fruit is large, fleshy, elongated, of various shapes but often resembling a pear, 8 to 18 centimeters long, soft and edible, with a nutty flavor, color varying from yellow-green to purple.

- Introduced from tropical America before the end f the sixteeth century.
- Now extensively cultivated in the Philippines.
- Usually grown from seeds, but may be propagated by budding, grafting, and marcotting.

- Fruit: fixed oil, 6-10%; protein 1.3-6%.
- Leaves contain a volatile oil,, 0.5%, with methyl-chavicol, d-d-pinene and paraffin.
- Leaves yielde3d isorhamnetin, luteolin, rutin, quercetin and apigenin.
- Seed is rich in saponins, tannins, flavonoids and alkaloids.

- Digestive, emmenagogue, antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, pectoral, stomachic, anthelmintic, antiperiodic, antidiarrheal.
- Pulp considered to have aphrodisiac and emmenagogue properties.

Parts used
Bark, fruit, leaves and seeds.

Edibility / Nutritional

• Fruit eaten with a dressing as a salad.

• Makes an excellent ice cream and dessert.

• A good source of vitamins A, some B, C and E, potassium (higher than bananas) and fiber ; fair source of iron; low in calcium. A fruit with high-energy producing value, each edible pound allegedly provides an average of 1,000 calories.

• High in fat, about 25-35 gms on average. however, about 65% of it is health-promoting monosaturated fat, particularly oleic acid.

- Fat content increases with maturity of the fruit.
- Protein content, which averages 2%, is higher than any other fresh fruit.

• The pulp is thought to promote menstruation.

• The pulp is used to hasten the suppuration of wounds.

• Ointment from pulverized seeds sometimes employed as rubefacient.

• Decoction of pulverized seeds used as gargles for toothaches; also, a piece of the seed placed in the cavity of the tooth to relieve toothaches.

• The leaves and bark promote menstruation; the tea has been used to expel worms.

• Used for diarrhea and dysentery.

• Rheumatism and neuralgia: Pulverize seeds or bark, mix with oil and apply on affected area as counterirritant.

• Beverage: Take decoction of leaves as tea.

• Pulp is applied to shallow cuts, prevents infection.

• Flesh of ripe fruit is soothing to sunburned skin.

• In different parts of the world, has been recommended for anemia, exhaustion, high cholesterol, hypertension, gastritis and duodenal ulcers. The leaves have been reported effective as antitussive, antidiabetic, antiarthritic and antiinflammatory.

• In Mexico, rind of the fruit used as anthelmintic. In the form of a liniment, used in intercostal neuralgia.

• Ink: Juice from seeds yields a milky juice which turns red on exposure; used to make permanent ink for fabric lettering.

• Lactating livestock eating avocado leaves may develop non-infectious mastitis and agalactia.

• Anticonvulsant: Anticonvulsant effect of Persea americana Mill (Lauraceae) (Avocado) leaf aqueous extract in mice: In African traditional medicine, Persiana americana has been used in various human ailments including childhood convulsions and epilepsy. A study showed that avocado leaf aqueous extract (PAE) produces anticonvulsant effect by the enhancement of GABAergic neurotransmission and/or action in the brain.

• Hypoglycemic: Hypoglycemic activity of aqueous leaf extract of Persea americana: A Nigerian study revealed that the leaf extract contained various pharmacologically active compounds such as saponins, tannins, phlobatannins, flavanoids, alkaloids and polysaccharides. Although the results were incomparable to the reference drug (chlorpropamide), it confirms the ethnomedical use of the plant for diabetes management. More studies are needed to identify the hypoglycemic principles and its mechanism of action.

• Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic: Hypoglycemic and Hypocholesterolemic Potential of Persea americana Leaf Extracts: A effect of aqueous and methanol extracts of Persea americana on plasma glucose, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-CHOL), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-CHOL) in rats was investigated. Results suggested lowering effects on glucose and lipid metabolism influences with lowering of Total and LDL cholesterols, an effect of HDL-chol and a potential protective mechanism against atherosclerosis.

• Antiobesity / Hypolipidemic: Effects of Persea Americana leaf extracts on body weight and liver lipids in rats fed hyperlipidimic diet: The study results hypothesize that P. americana leaf extract increases catabolism of lipids accumulated in adipose tissue causing a decrease in mean body weight gain and raises the question if higher concentrations of the leaf extract would reduce liver levels in obesity and fatty liver conditions.

• Hypotensive: Leaf constituents of Persea americana given intravenously induced a marked fall in mean arterial blood pressure lasting 2-3 mins. The short duration was assumed due to rapid metabolism.

• Toxicity / Persin: Study of avocado leaves isolated an active principle, persin. Previously shown to have antifungal properties and to be toxic to silkworms. At high doses, persin can induce mammary gland necrosis and myocardial fiber necrosis, the mechanism for which still remain to be resolved.

• Cytotoxic/ Antitumor / Pesticidal: (1) Study of unripe avocado fruit isolated three major bioactive constutuents which showed activity agaiinst six human tumor cell lines with selectivity for human prostate adenocarcinoma, with one compound being as potent as adriamycin. also, one compound was shown to be more effective than rotenone, a natural botanical insectiside, against yellow fever mosquito larva.

• Toxicity / Larvicidal / Antifungal: Study of extracts of avocado seeds showed toxicity towards Artemia salina, activity against Aedes aegypti. Extracts were also active against all yeast strains, Candida spp, Cryptococcus neoformans and Malassezia pachydermis.

• Vasorelaxant: Study of aqueous leaves extract on isolated rat aorta produced significant vasorelaxation, an effect attributed to the synthesis or release of endothelium-derived relaxing factors and/or release of prostanoids. Extract also reduced vasocontstriction probably through inhibition of Ca influx through calcium channels.

• Antimicrobial / Antimycobacterial: Study demonstrated antimycobacterial activity and suggests a potential source for antituberculosis drugs.

• Persealide / Cytotoxicity: Study of ETOH extract isolated 'persealide' which showed moderate cytotoxicity against three solid tumor cell lines: human lung carcinoma, human breast carcinoma and human colon adenocarcinoma.

• Anti-Viral : Study showed infusion of P. americana leaves strongly inhibited herpes simplex virus type 1, Adenovirus type 3 and Aujeszky's disease virus.

• Acute and Subacute Toxicity Studies: Acute toxicity study showed a relatively low LD50 for the seed extract. Treatment for 14 days decreased food consumption, body weight, blood glucose, Hb and hepatic cholesterol levels.

• Hypoglycemic / Pancreatic Protective: Study showed restorative effect of the ethanolic extract on pancreatic islet cells. Results suggest a potential for the management of diabetes.

• Immunomodulating / Anti-Adhesion Property: Study showed that P americana has the potential to interefere with the adhesion of all the oral bacteria in host epithelial surfaces. Its significant inhibition property suggests that like cranberry juice, avocado juice can also be consumed to avoid urinary tract infections with E coli.

• Hypolipemic Effcts: (1) Study showed treatment with various doses of a methanolic extract of Persea americana seeds caused a significant reduction in the levels of TC, TG, LDLC, and VLDLC while the levels of HDLC increased significantly. (2)

• Antioxidant / Leaves Phytoconstituents: Study of leaves isolated isorhamnetin, luteolin, rutin, quercetin and apigenin. On free radical scavenging testing using the DPPH and H2O2 assays, quercetin showed the highest scavening activity.
Seasonal fruiting and ubiquitoous market produce.

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Source: Philippine Medicinal Plants


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