Euterpe oleracea Mart.

Last updated: 07 Sept 2016

Scientific Name

Euterpe oleracea Mart.


Catis martiana O.F.Cook, Euterpe badiocarpa Barb.Rodr., Euterpe beardii L.H.Bailey, Euterpe brasiliana Oken, Euterpe cuatrecasana Gugand. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Assai palm [2]
Brazil Acaí-do-baixo Amazonas, acaí-do-Pará, acaízairo, palmiteiro, palmito acaí, uacaí [2]
Venezuela Assai, manaca, moru, palmito, wahu [2]

Geographical Distributions

Euterpe oleracea is origin in eastern parts of the Amazon basin in South America. Occasionally this plant is cultivated in botanical gardens in South-East Asia. [3]

Botanical Description

E. oleracea is a species of palm of the family Arecaceae. [1]

It is a monoecious plant that most often growing to height of measuring 4-30 m, the slender palm has a trunk roughly measures 20-30 cm in diameter. [3]

The leaves are arranged pinnately, few, often in a spreading crown, sheath forming a prominent crownshaft. [3]

The infructescences are below the crownshaft which are panicle-like spikes measuring of ca. 60 cm long. [3]

The fruits are consists of globose drupe that measure of ca. 1.5 cm in diameter, darkish purple in colour and is single-seeded. The exocarp is smooth, mesocarp rather thin with radially arranged scleroid bundles and an inner layer of thin flat fibres, endocarp thin, crustaceous, tanniniferous. [3]

The seed is globose, accounting for most of the volume of the fruit. [3]


This plant occur common, wild and cultivated, in the tidal plains of the Amazon estuary. It is possibly an interesting potential crop for South-East Asia. [3]

Chemical Constituent

Fruit pulp of E. oleracea has been reported to contain two anthocyanin compounds named cyanidin-3-glucoside [4] and cyanidin-3-rutinoside [5].

Methanol-soluble of E. oleracea fruits extract has been reported to contain dihydroconiferyl alcohol (e.g. (+)-lariciresinol, (+)-pinoresinol, (+)-syringaresinol, and protocatechuic acid methyl ester), and lignan compounds (e.g. aryltetrahydronaphthalene, dihydrobenzofuran, furofuran, 8-O-4'-neolignan, and tetrahydrofuran). [6]

Crude oil extract of E. oleracea fruit has been reported to contain phenolic compounds (e.g. vanillic acid, syringic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, protocatechuic acid, and ferulic acid). [7]

Fruit of E. oleracea has been reported to contain lipid, proteins, dietary fiber, polyphenols, tannins, and anthocyanins. [8]

Plant Part Used

Fruits (berry), roots, and seeds. [9]

Traditional Use

E. oleracea is a staple in the diet of people of Brazil where it has been used to create beverages.  The   medicinal uses range from treating diarrhea, jaundice, antifebrile, diabetes, hemorrhage, hepatosis, nephrosis, malaria, and myalgia. [9]

Preclinical Data


Antioxidant activity

E. oleracea fruit has been demonstrated antioxidant activity by showed a significant contribution of vitamin C, total caratenoids, total phenolics [10] and total anthocyanin compounds [11].

Methanol seed extract of E. oleracea has been demonstrated a higher antioxidant activity against the reactive oxygen species (ROS), peroxyl radicals, peroxynitrite, and hydroxyl radicals. [12]

Another laboratory study found that fractions from E. oleracea fruit contribute to antioxidant potential by inhibiting nitric oxide (NO) production through reduction of the levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase expression. [13]

Freeze-dried E. olercaea fruit extract has been demonstrated to exhibit significanmyly high antioxidant capacity in vitro by inhibition of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in freshly purified human neutrophils. Results found that compounds in E. oleracea are able to enter human cells in a fully functional form and to perform an oxygen quenching function at very low doses. [14]

Anti-inflammatory activity

The study also found that the freeze-dried E. oleracea fruit extract had cyclooxygenase COX -1 and COX-2 inhibiting properties, supporting its traditional uses in inflammatory conditions. E. oleracea extract also reported a weak effect on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced nitric oxide but no effect on either lymphocyte proliferation or phagocytic capacity. [14]

Antiproliferative activity

Polyphenolic mixtures of E. oleracea pulp and  E. oleracea oil has been reported to inhibit cell proliferation in human colon adenocarcinoma cells by up to 90.7%, which was accompanied by an increase of up to 2.1-fold in reactive oxygen species. [15]

An in vitro laboratory study also found that extracts of E. oleracea reduced cell proliferation of leukemic cells from 56 to 86% likely due to caspase-3 activation (apoptosis). The antiproliferative effects were contributed to the anthocyanin and polyphenolic fractions in the E. oleracea extract. [16]

Vasodilatory activity

E. oleracea extract has been demonstrated to exhibit vasodilator effect dependent on activation of NO-cGMP pathway and may also involve endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF) release. The vasodilator effect of E. oleracea is suggested to has a potential use in the managements of cardiovascular diseases. [17]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

Antioxidant activity

E. oleracea pulp extract that has been given orally to 12 healthy individuals, at a dosage of 7 mL/kg of body weight was significantly improved plasma antioxidant capacity in the subjects. [18]

Contrast agent for MRI activity

E. oleracea pulp that has given orally to individuals as a contrast agent for MRI of the gastrointestinal tract showed an increase in T1-weighted MRI signal, equivalent to that of gadolinium-diethyltriamine pentacetic acid, and a decrease in T2-weighted images. The first measurements in vivo demonstrate a clear increase of contrast, in T1-weighted images, after administration of E. oleracea. Also, the opacification in a T2-weighted acquisition revealed a good contrast on bowel walls of gastric tissues. [19]


No documentation.

Side effects

E. oleracea has been used as an oral contrast agent for MRI of the gastrointestinal tract and therefore it should be avoided in patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or using oral contrast agents for MRI. [19]

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation.

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation.


No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver11. Euterpe oleracea Mart. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mac 23, cited 2016 Sept 07]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 199.
  3. Jansen PCM, Jukema J, Oyen LPA, van Lingen TG. Euterpe oleracea Martius In: Verheij EWM, Coronel RE, editors. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 2: Edible fruits and nuts. The Netherlands: Pudoc, Wageningen; 1991, p. 333-334.
  4. Pozo Insfran DD, Brenes CH, Talcott ST. Phytochemical composition and pigment stability of Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.). J Agric Food Chem. 2004;52(6):1539-1545.
  5. Lichtenthäler R, Rodriques RB, Maia JG, Papagiannopoulos M, Fabricius H, Marx F. Total oxidant scavenging capacities of Euterpe oleracea Mart. (Acaí) fruits. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2005;56(1):53-64.
  6. Chin YW, Chai HB, Keller WJ, Kinghorn AD. Lignans and other constituents of the fruits of Euterpe oleracea (Acai) with antioxidant and cytoprotective activities. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(17):7756-7764.
  7. Pacheco Palencia LA, Mertens Talcott S, Talcott ST. Chemical composition, antioxidant properties, and thermal stability of a phytochemical enriched oil from Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.). J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(12):4631-4636.
  8. Neida S, Elba S. [Characterization of the acai or manaca (Euterpe oleracea Mart.): A fruit of the Amazon. Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2007;57(1):94-98.
  9. Duke JA. Duke’s handbook of medicinal plants of Latin America. CRC Press; 2008, p. 314-315.
  10. Pompau DR, Silva EM, Rogez H. Optimization of the solvent extraction of phenolic antioxidants from fruits of Euterpe oleracea using response Surface Methodology. Bioresour Technol. 2009;100(23):6076-6082.
  11. Santos GM, Maia GA, Sousa PH, Costa JM< Fiqueiredo RW, Prado GM. [Correlation between antioxidant activity and bioactive compounds of acaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart) commercial pulps]. Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2008;58(2):187-192.
  12. Rodriques RB, Lichtenthäler R, Zimmermann BF, et al. Total oxidant scavenging capacity of Euterpe oleracea Mart. (acaí) seeds and identification of their polyphenolic compounds. J Agric Food Chem. 2006;54(12):4162-4167.
  13. Matheus ME, de Oliveira Fernandes SB, Silveira CS, Rodriques VP, de Sousa Menezes F, Fernandes PD. Inhibitory effects of Euterpe oleracea Mart. On nitric oxide production and iNOS expression. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;107(2):291-296.
  14. Achauss AG, Wu X, Prior RL, et al. Antioxidant capacity and other bioactivities of the freeze-dried Amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleracea Mart. (Acaí). J Agric Food Chem. 2006;54(22):8604-8610.
  15. Pacheco Palencia LA, Talcott ST, Mertens Talcott S. Absorption and biological activity of phytochemical-rich extracts from acaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) pilp and oil in vitro. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(10):3593-3600.
  16. Del Pozo-Insfran D, Percival SS, Talcott ST. Acaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) polyphenolics in their glycoside and aglycone forms induce apoptosis of HL-60 leukemia cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2006;54(4):1222-1229.
  17. Rocha AP, Carvalho LC, Sousa MA. Endothelium-dependent vasodilator effect of Euterpe oleracea Mart. (Acaí) extracts in mesenteric vascular bed of the rat. Vascul Pharmacol. 2006;46(2):97-104.
  18. Mertens-Talcott SU, Rios J, Jilma-Stohlawetz P, et al. Pharmacokinetics of anthocyanins and antioxidant effects after the consumption of anthocyanin-rich acaí juice and pulp (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) in human healthy volunteers. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(17):7796-7802.
  19. Córdova-Fraqa T, de Araujo DB, Sanchez TA, et al. Euterpe oleracea (Acaí) as an alternative oral contrast agent in MRI of the gastrointestinal system: Preliminary results. Magn Reson Imaging. 2004;22(3):389-393.