Malpighia emarginataÂ is aÂ tropicalÂ fruit-bearingÂ shrubÂ or smallÂ treeÂ in the familyÂ Malpighiaceae. Common names includeÂ acerola,Â Barbados cherry,Â West Indian cherryÂ andÂ wild crapemyrtle.Â Acerola is native from Southern Mexico, Central and South America, but now being also grown as far North as Texas and in subtropical areas â€“ Asia and India. It is known for being extremely rich inÂ vitamin CÂ although it also contains vitamins A, B1, B2 and B3 as well asÂ carotenoidsÂ andÂ bioflavonoidsÂ which provide very important nutritive value and have possible antioxidantÂ uses.Â This vitamin C produced by the fruit is better absorbed by human organisms than synthetic ascorbic acid.
M. emarginataÂ is originally fromÂ YucatÃ¡nÂ can be found in the southernmost parts of theÂ contiguous United StatesÂ (southernÂ FloridaÂ and the LowerÂ Rio Grande ValleyÂ ofÂ Texas),Â Mexico,Â Central America, theÂ Caribbean, andÂ South AmericaÂ as far south asÂ PeruÂ andÂ Minas GeraisÂ in Brazil.Â It is cultivated in theÂ tropicsÂ andÂ subtropicsÂ throughout the world, including theÂ Canary Islands,Â Ghana,Â Ethiopia,Â Madagascar,Â Zanzibar,Â Sri Lanka,Â Taiwan,Â India,Â Java,Â Hawaii, andÂ Australia.
Acerola can be propagated by seed, cutting and other methods. M. emarginata prefers dry sandy soil and full sun and itâ€™s very susceptible to cold (cannot endure temperature lower than 30Â°F). Because of its shallow roots, it has very low tolerance to winds.
Acerola is anÂ evergreenÂ shrubÂ or small tree with spreading branches on a shortÂ trunk. It is usually 2â€“3 m (6.6â€“9.8 ft) tall, but sometimes reaches 6Â m (20Â ft) in height.
TheÂ leavesÂ are simple ovate-lanceolate, 2â€“8 cm (0.79â€“3.1 in) long, 1â€“4 cm (0.39â€“1.6 in), and are attached to shortÂ petioles. They areÂ opposite,Â ovate to elliptic-lanceolate, and have entire or undulatingÂ margins withÂ small hairs, which can irritate skin.
FlowersÂ areÂ bisexualÂ and 1â€“2 cm (0.39â€“0.79 in) in diameter. They have fiveÂ pale to deep pink or redÂ fringedÂ petals, tenÂ stamens, and six to ten glands on theÂ calyx. There are three to five flowers perÂ inflorescence, which are sessile or short-peduncledÂ axillary cymes.
TheÂ fruitÂ is a bright redÂ drupeÂ 1â€“3 cm (0.39â€“1.2 in) in diameter with a mass of 3â€“5 g (0.11â€“0.18 oz). Drupes are in pairs or groups of three, and each contains three triangularÂ seeds. The drupes areÂ juicyÂ and very high inÂ vitamin C (3-46g kg-1)Â and otherÂ nutrients. They are divided into three obscure lobes and are usuallyÂ acidÂ to subacid, giving them aÂ sour taste,Â but may beÂ sweetÂ if grown well.Â While the nutrient composition depends on the species and environmental conditions, the most common components of acerola and their concentration range are as follow: proteins (2.1-8g), lipids (2.3-8g), carbohydrates (35.7-78g), calcium (117Â mg), phosphor (171Â mg), iron (2.4Â mg), pyridoxine (87Â mg), riboflavin (0.7Â mg), thiamine (0.2Â mg), water (906-920g) and dietic fibre (30g)
The fruit is edible and widely consumed in the species’ native area, and is cultivated elsewhere for its highÂ vitamin CÂ content. There are 1677.6Â mg of vitamin C in 100 g of fruit.
- Fruit can be used to make juices and pulps, both very rich in vitamin C and antioxidants;
- Acerola fruit can be used to produce vitamin C concentrate;
- Baby food and juice
A comparative analysis ofÂ antioxidantÂ potency among a variety of frozen juice pulps was carried out, including the acerola fruit. Among the eleven fruits’ pulps tested, acerola was the highest-scoring domestic fruit, meaning it had the most antioxidant potency, with a TEAC (TroloxÂ equivalent antioxidant activity) score of 53.2Â mmol g.
Absolut VodkaÂ released Absolut Los Angeles, a limited-edition spirit flavored with acerola,Â aÃ§ai,Â pomegranate, andÂ blueberry, in July 2008.
Chiquita’s Strawberry-Banana C-Optima drink, sold in 4-packs of 125ml apiece in Belgium and Germany, advertises on its lid that it contains 3 acerolas and 200Â mg of Vitamin C.
Acerola is a popularÂ bonsaiÂ subject because of its small leaf, fruit and fine ramification. It is also grown as anÂ ornamentalÂ and forÂ hedges.
Malpighia glabraÂ is one of three ingredients in a propriety herbal medicine forÂ allergic rhinitis.
Thanks to its extremely high vitamin C content, the cherry can help boost your immune system, strengthen yourÂ liver, improve your skin condition, and increases your bodyâ€™s ability to repair tissues quickly. It also helps you prevent colds, infections, hair loss, and dental problems.
The cherry contains anthocyanins â€“ substances which are highly anti-inflammatory in nature. So, it is very good at relieving headaches. Eating an acerola cherry can have the same effect as taking ibuprofen or aspirin for your headache.
The cherry is an excellent source of vitamin A, which is a known antioxidant. 100 grams of an acerola cherry contains up to 1017 IU of carotene. A regular intake of vitamin A tends to improve your vision and reduces the risk of cataracts and other such eye problems. Since it is a powerful antioxidant, it fights the free radicals which cause the maximum damage to your skin. As a result, you can stay away from skin problems.