Myrciaria dubia, commonly known as camu camu, is a riverside shrub native to the Amazon region. Its cherry-like fruit is believed to have the highest known vitamin C content of any food.
The fruit has a very sour taste, so it is commonly consumed locally in jams, jellies or ice creams. Rich in phytochemicals, the berries have been used for thousands of years by native peoples to treat a variety of ailments.
Chemically speaking, camu camu is rich in anthocyanins, catechins, flavonols, ellagic acids and rutin. It also contains fibre, protein, calcium, potassium, B vitamins and beta-carotene, so it has some stromg potential health benefits.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and so camu camu is helpful in the fight against free radicals, and can also boost the immune system. Vitamin C is also linked to the production of serotonin, so with such high levels in camu camu, the fruit is thought to help boost mood.
The anti-inflammatory compounds in camu camu are thought to help relieve pain, and indeed this has always been one of the fruit's primary native uses. Meanwhile, the carotenoids in camu camu, including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, are powerful aids to healthy vision.