Abukado is a medium-sized tree reaching a height of up to 10 to 15 meters. Leaves are alternate, leathery, oblong 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 sizes and shapes, often resembling a pear, 8 to 18 centimeters long, some weighing as much as two kilos, soft and edible, with a nutty
flavor, color varying from yellow-green to purple.
- Introduced from tropical America before the end of the sixteenth century.
Now extensively cultivated in the Philippines for its edible fruit.
- Usually grown from seeds, but may be propagated by budding, grafting,
- Fruit: fixed oil, 6-10%;
- Leaves contain a volatile oil,, 0.5%, with methyl-chavicol, d-d-pinene and paraffin.
- Leaves yielded isorhamnetin, luteolin, rutin, quercetin and apigenin.
- Seed is rich in saponins, tannins, flavonoids and alkaloids.
- Study of seed extract yielded
alkaloids, saponins, tannins, flavonoids, cyanogenic glycosides. Proximate analysis yielded moisture, 12.90± 1.57%; crude fat, 18.53 ±0.26%; crude protein, 18.55 ±1.26%; carbohydrate, 47.35±24%; ash, 2.6±0.63%; and crude fiber, 3.17 ±0.17%. Mineral content showed calcium 12.30±0.08 mg; iron 0.307±0.13 mg; magnesium 21.12 ±3.86 mg; phosphorus 46.00 ±1.72 mg; potassium 103.8±0.22 mg; sodium 0.302±0.02 mg; and zinc 0.087±0.01 mg per 100 gm weight. (34)
- Phytochemical constituent analysis of leaf, fruit, and seed (mg/100g) yielded: saponins 1.29±0.08 L, 0.14±0.01 F, 19.21±2.81 S; tannins 0.68±0.06 L, 0.12±0.03 F, 0.24±0.12 S; flavonoids 8.11±0.014 L, 4.25±0.16 F, 1.90±0.07 S; cyanogenic glycosides ND L & F, 0.06±0.02 S; alkaloids 0.51±0.21 L, 0.14 F, 0.72±0.12 S; phenols 3.41±0.64 L, 2.94±0.13 F, 6.14±1.28 S; steroids 1.21±0.14 L, 1.88±0.19 F, 0.09 S. (42)
- Leaf and bark extracts yielded
saponins, tannins, flavonoids, and terpenoids. (see study below) (42)
- The fruit yields a caloric density of 1.7 kcal per gram and a half unit (± 70 g)
yields 114 kcal, 4.6 g of fiber, 345 mg potassium, 19.5 mg of magnesium, 1.3 mg vitamin E and 57 mg of phytosterols. About 75% of fiber contents are insoluble, 25% are soluble. Lipids are 71% monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), 13% polyunsaturated (PUFA), and 16% saturated (SFA). (see study below) (49)
- Digestive, emmenagogue,
antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, pectoral, stomachic, anthelmintic,
- Pulp considered to have aphrodisiac and emmenagogue properties.
- Seed considered insecticidal, fungicidal, anti-microbial, hypocholesterolemic
Bark, fruit, leaves
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.
• Fat content averages about 20 percent and increases with maturity of the fruit. The digestibility of the fat is comparable to that of butter fat.
• The caloric or energy-producing value of avocado is high. One pound of edible portion represents an average of 1,000 calories. The maximum yield is about twice that of lean meat.
• High in fat, about 25-35 gms on average. however, about 65%
of it is health-promoting monounsaturated fat, particularly oleic acid.
• Mineral content is considered greater than in any other fresh fruit. Salts of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium compose more than one-half of the ash. It yields an excess of base-forming elements, compared to nuts which furnish an excess of acid-forming elements.
• Protein content, which averages 2%, is higher than any other fresh fruit.
• Leaves used as a substitute for tea.
• The pulp is thought
to promote menstruation.
• The pulp is used to hasten the suppuration of wounds.
• The pulp is considered aphrodisiac and emmenagogue.
• 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
• 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 anti-inflammatory.
• In Mexico, rind of the fruit used as anthelmintic. In the form of a liniment, used in intercostal neuralgia. Seeds, crude or toasted, are used to treat skin rashes, diarrhea, asthma, hypertension, rheumatism, and dysentery caused by helminths and amoebas,
• In many African countries used in traditional medicine for gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcers, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, anemia.
• In Nigeria, seed extracts used for hypertension.
• 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 effect of Persea americana Mill (Lauraceae) (Avocado)
leaf aqueous extract in mice: In African traditional
medicine, Persea 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. (1)
• Hypoglycemic / Leaves:
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, flavonoids,
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. (2)
• 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-cholesterol and a potential protective mechanism
against atherosclerosis. (3)
• Antiobesity / Hypolipidemic: Effects
of Persea Americana leaf extracts on body weight and liver lipids in
rats fed hyperlipidemic 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 / Leaves: 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. (6)
• 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:
Study of unripe avocado fruit isolated three major bioactive constituents
which showed activity against 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 insecticide, against yellow fever mosquito
• 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. (8)
• 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
vasoconstriction probably through inhibition of Ca influx through calcium
• Antimicrobial / Antimycobacterial:
Study demonstrated antimycobacterial activity and suggests a potential
source for antituberculosis drugs. (10)
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. (11)
• Anti-Viral : Study showed
infusion of P. americana leaves strongly inhibited herpes simplex virus
type 1, Adenovirus type 3 and Aujeszky's disease virus. (12)
• 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.(14)
• Immunomodulating / Anti-Adhesion Property: Study showed that P americana has the potential to interfere 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. (16)
• Hypolipemic Effects: (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. (17)
• 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 scavenging activity.
• Wound Healing: Study evaluated the wound-healing activity of a fruit extract in rats. Results showed the rate of wound contraction, epithelialization time together with hydroxyproline content and histological findings support its use in the management of wound healing. (19)
• Anti-Ulcer Activity: Study in rats showed both aqueous and methanolic extracts of Persea americana were not potent enough to reduce gastric acid secretion in rats but inhibited histamine-stimulated acid secretion probably by inhibition of H2-receptors. (21)
• Chemo-Protective: Studies have shown phytochemicals extracted from avocado fruit selectively induce cell cycle arrest, inhibit growth, and induce apoptosis in precancerous and cancer cell lines. This study suggest phytochemicals from the fruit have a potential as a chemoprotective ingredient for lowering the side effect of chemotherapy like cyclophosphamide in cancer therapy. (22)
• Antibacterial / Antimycobacterial: Methanol extracts from both Persea americana and Gymnosperma glutinosum showed to possess antimycobacterial activity. Persea americana showed higher antimicrobial activity against the mycobacteria strains.
• Liver-Kidney Effects: Study evaluated the histopathologic effects of P. americana leaf extract on liver and kidneys of rabbits. Histopath of the liver and kidney of recommended and high dosage groups were not different from the control suggesting the plant extract to be beneficial, except for loose stool suggesting increased bowel emptying. (23)
• Wound Healing Benefits / Oil: Study showed avocado oil is rich in oleic acid and essential fatty acids. When used in natura or in pharmaceutical formulations for topical use, avocado oil can promote increased collagen synthesis and decrease the numbers of inflammatory cells during the wound healing process. (26)
• Anti-Hyperlipidemic Activity / Leaf Extract: Study evaluated the anti-hyperlipidemic activity of a methanol leaf extract in cholesterol-induced hyperlipidemic rats. Results showed a dose-dependent reversal of hyperlipidemic by the methanol extract of leaves. The MEPA also caused a dose-dependent reduction of plasma lipid peroxidation in rats. The anti-hyperlipidemic effect was comparable to standard drug cholestyramine. (27)
• Anti-Ulcer / Leaves: Study of an aqueous extract of leaves against ethanol/Hcl and indomethacin-induced gastric ulcer showed anti-ulcer effects, with significant reduction of ulcer index, possibly through a decrease in gastric secretion. (28)
• Antiprotozoal / Antimycobacteria / Seeds: Study of chloroformic and ethanolic extracts of seeds showed significant activity against E. histolytica, G. lamblia, and T. vaginalis. The chloroformic extract inhibited the growth of M. tuberculosis H37Rv. Results showed amoebicidal, giardicidal and antimycobacterial activities. (29)
• Hypotensive / Seeds: Study of aqueous seed extract showed reduction of blood pressure in normotensive Sprague-Dawley rats, possibly through reduction of heart rate. (30)
• Cardiotoxicity of Acetogenins: Study evaluated a new acetogenins-enriched extract from the seed of Persea americana to investigate its toxicity on cardiac tissue. Results showed the acetogenins-enriched extract could directly modulate permeability transition, resulting in cardiotoxicity. (31)
• Hypolipidemic / Seeds: Study evaluated the effect of avocado seed flour (ASF) on lipid levels of mice on a hyperlipidemic diet. Treatment with ASF significant reduced the levels of total cholesterol, LDL-C, and prediction of the atherogenic index. The effect was attributed to the antioxidant activity of phenolic compounds and dietary fiber in ASF. (33)
• Antidiabetic / PTP1B Inhibitory Effect: Study evaluated an aqueous extract of leaves and its fractions for inhibitory activity on protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) as target of type 2 diabetes. Results showed promising antidiabetic property with concentration dependent inhibition of the enzymatic activity of PTP1B. PTP1B (protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B) has been implicated in the negative regulation of insulin signaling by dephosphorylating the insulin receptor and its substrate. In addition to insulin sensitization, inhibition of of PTPB1 also has potential benefit for weight loss. (35)
• Antisickling Property: Study evaluated the antisickling properties of crude juice extracts of edible portions of three commonly consumed tropical fruits, viz., Persia americana, Citrus sinensis, and Carica papaya, alongside a new drug preparation Ciklavit which has antisickling activity. Results showed Ciklavit produced the highest level of antisickling effect, followed by the alkaline and alcoholic extracts of P. americana. (36)
• Antihepatotoxic: Study of methanolic extract showed antihepatotoxic activity in rats with acute paracetamol intoxication. The activity was attributed to the antioxidant action of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase, which are primary intracellular defense mechanisms to cope with increased oxidant stress. (Martins Ekor et al) (38)
• Acute Toxicity Study / Non-Genotoxic / Seed:The ethanolic extract of seed showed an acute toxic effect at concentration starting at 500 mg/kg.
Study showed no genotoxic activity in the micronucleus test in rodents. Lack of in vivo genotoxic activity suggests potential of seed extract as possible food, cosmetic, or pharmaceutical material. (39)
• Hypocholesterolemic / Seeds and Leaves: Study evaluated the effects of aqueous extracts of leaves and seeds on cholesterol and various enzyme markers. Results showed a hypocholerolemic effect suggesting benefit in the treatment of hypertension and reduction of cardiovascular risks. Prolonged administration of aqueous extracts of leaves and seeds may cause inflammation or damage of liver cells. (40)
• Interactions with Coumadin: Avocado has been reported to decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Decreasing the effect of warfarin might increase the risk of clotting and might require an change in warfarin dose. (41)
• Antibacterial / Leaf and Bark: Study evaluated the antibacterial activities of methanolic extract of leaf and bark against S. pyogenes, P. mirabilis, S. typhi, K. pneumonia, E. coli, B. subtilis, S. aureus, and P. aeruginosa. The bark extract showed higher antibacterial activity compared to the leaf extract. (42)
Against Malaria Vector Anopheles gambiae / Seeds: Study evaluated the potential larvicidal activity of P. americana seed extracts against A. gambiae 3rd and 4th instar larvae. Results showed dose dependent mortalities after 24 hours at 40µg. LC50 value was lowest for the chloroform extract. (43)
• Effect on
Aminotransferase, Cholesterol and Bile Acids in Hypertensive Patients: Study evaluated the effect of liquid extract of leaf on plasma levels of aminotransferases, total bile acids, and total and LDL cholesterol in 50 anicteric newly diagnosed hypertensive patients. Results showed a significant increase in plasma ALT and AST which suggest a toxic liver effect with potential for liver damage. Evaluation of these biochemical parameters are suggest in the use of extract for hypertensive patients. (44)
• Hepatotoxic Effect / Seeds: Study evaluated the hepatotoxic effect of aqueous and phenolic extracts of Persia americana seed. Serum levels of AST, ALT, and ALP were significantly higher in extract groups. Liver biopsy of extract treated groups showed severe degeneration of hepatocytes. Study suggests seeds extracts may contribute significantly to liver damage at higher doses. (45)
• Antivirucidal / Virustatic Anti-HIV Effects / Leaves: Study evaluated aqueous and methanolic extracts of leaves for cellular toxicity and anti-HIV-1 activity both in virustatic and virucidal assays. Results showed moderate anti-HIV-1 activity in vitro. (46)
• Avocado Peel as Tea / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the chemical and mineral composition, total phenolic and flavonoid content and antioxidant activity by DPPH and FRAP assay. Dried avocado peel yielded major phenolic compounds (10,847.27±162.34 mg GAE/kg) and flavonoids (1,360±188.65 mg EQ/kg). Antioxidant activity by DPPH was 1,954 ± 87.92 µmol TE. Results showed good antioxidant activity and good sensory acceptability. (47)
• Antidiabetic / Seed: Study evaluated the effects of aqueous extract of seeds on alloxan induced diabetic rats. Results showed a significant decrease (p<0.001) in blood glucose. The results may be due to certain mineral elements and phytochemicals. (48)
• Avocado and Cardiovascular Health: Review summarizes the potential benefits of avocado consumption in the prevention of cardiovascular risk factors. Studies suggest avocado may improve hypercholesterolemia and be beneficial in the treatment of hypertension and T2DM. (see constituents above) (49)