|Origin||Camu-camu originated in the Amazonian lowlands of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.|
|Description||The camu-camu is a shrub or small tree, 4-8 m tall, without a detectable trunk, heavily branched from ground level, although each secondary branch has few tertiary branches. The bark on the secondary branches is a brownish-bronze color and that which is found on the tertiary branches is a greenish-brown to greenish gray. The bark is smooth and peels naturally.|
|Growth Habitat||It survives best in hot, damp, tropical climates, but will grow in the subtropics, surviving temperatures down to just above freezing. It requires copious water and will stand flooding.|
|Foliage||The leaves are entire, opposite, petioled; the petiole is 3-6 mm long by 1 mm in diameter; the leaf blade is lanceolate, occasionally oval, glabrous, 3-5 cm long by 1-2 cm wide, with 16-30 primary nerves united by a submarginal nerve.|
|Flowers||Camu-camu has small flowers with waxy white petals and a sweet-smelling aroma.
The inflorescences are axillary, with 1-12 subsessile flowers, arranged in pairs.
|Fruits||The spherical fruit is 2-3 cm in diameter, reddish-purple to purplish-black when mature, with a 10 mm or shorter peduncle. The pulp is acidic, edible, with an agreeable flavor. It contains 1-4 elliptical, flattened seeds, covered with short white fibers.|
|Harvest||The fruit are harvested directly into a freezer boat, which travels down the river ways of the Amazon where the fruit is picked at the height of its ripeness and flash-frozen. It is then taken to a processing plant where it is thawed, peeled, liquefied and spray dried.|
|Soil||Camu-camu is grown in rich fertile soil along the river banks of Peru which flood every year, therefore allowing the soil to be rich in minerals and resulting in nutrient dense fruit.|
|Propagation||Camu-camu is normally propagated from seed.|
|Per 100 g of fresh fruit:
- Protein 0.4 g
- Carbohydrates 5.9 g
- Starches 0.44 g
- Sugars 1.28 g
- Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
- Fat 0.2 g
- Calcium 15.7 mg
- Copper 0.2
- Iron 0.53
- Magnesium 12.4 mg
- Manganese 2.1
- Potassium 83.94
- Sodium 11.1 mg
- Zinc 0.2
Vitamin C: ranges from 1882–2280 mg depending on ripeness.
|Health Benefits||Strengthening the immune system.
Improving symptoms of herpes infections, including mouth blisters, genital blisters, shingles blisters and other viral infections.
Promoting energy and vitality of people with chronic immune dysfunction.
Strengthening the nervous system.
Supporting healthy level of white blood cell formation.
Detoxifying the body, especially the liver.
Promoting health of upper respiratory organs, including lungs, sinuses and nasal passages.
Promoting a healthy heart and circulatory system.
It has the additional benefit of being non-irritating to sensitive stomachs and bladders.
|Commercial Uses||Camu Camu Food and Beverage Uses
- Had a reddish color pigmentation which provides an attractive color in juices.
- Recently, camu camu has been used in preparation of ice-creams, candies and sweets.
- The bark and stem of the plant are used in tea which is said to provide relief for diabetes.
- The pulp of the camu camu berries are used to produce juice, jam, nectar, yogurt etc
- The fruit is eaten as food
Camu Camu Other Uses
- The shell of a ripe camu camu berry has a high concentration of anthocyanin pigment; they can be used for making dyes.
- Camu camu berries are grounded into a fine powder which has a light tan color.
- Camu-camu oil is extracted from the camu-camu fruit. This light weight oil is used for cosmetic purpose, especially as a leave on conditioner for hair.
|Food Suggestion||Camu Camu Powder Recipe - Camu Camu Cream
- 1 1/2 cups of cashew nuts (pre-soaked for 1-2 hours)
- 1/3 cup of agave nectar
- 1 tbsp. of camu-camu powder
- 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 mandarin oranges (or other fresh fruit of your choice)
This rich and creamy dessert is supremely easy to prepare – simply place all of the above ingredients (except for the mandarin oranges) into your blender and blitz until thick and creamy. Spoon into dessert glasses, top with mandarin orange segments or other seasonal fruits.