Origin and Types
The word acai taken from the Portuguese word “iwacai” means the fruit that cries or releases water. Euterpe edulis (jucara) is a closely related palm species, which is the primary source of hearts of palm.
Acai Palm Tree – Fact Sheet
|Scientific Name||Eutrepe oleracea|
|Country of Origin||Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay|
|Length of Leaves||Palm tree with many stems|
|Years Nurtured before Harvesting||3 years|
|Years of Mature|
|Parts of the Plant Used||Hearts of the palm, berries|
|Best Time to Grow||Onset of the monsoon season|
The tree grows in the damp shaded regions of the rainforest and reaches a height of 50 to 100 feet. The tree combines a single root system having 6 to 10 stems. It is renowned for the nutritious berries and resembles an elegant feather like a crown of green color. The berries are half inches, round in shape and contain a single seed in the center. When the berries are in the raw state, they are green in color, but when ripen, they become purple. Each adult tree contributes five to nine bunches of fruit every year and the weight of each cluster is approximately 6 kilograms.
Acai Palm Tree is found abundant in the southern and central parts of America. It is also the native tree of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Acai is the staple food for many poor people living in the lower parts of the Amazon region. Price is cheaper than other fruit juices, so it is also known as a poor man’s juice. The fruit is so popular that there is an establishment in single villages of Amazon basin towns known as Acailandia for setting up the Acai juice and sold in small plastic bags.
Vegetative Cultivation and Propagation
Proper sunlight and partially shaded areas are essential for cultivation. When the tree gets matured enough, it can resist temperature up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Water requirement is moderate and in the wild, it grows in floodplains and swamp regions.
For propagation, collect fresh seeds during the last part of the year. If the seeds are still retaining fruit pulp, soak them for some days and remove the loose flesh with the help of a kitchen strainer. Fill the moist mixture of half peat and perlite in a 1-gallon pot and then plant the seeds in the wet mix at a depth equal to half their diameter.
- Enclose the pot with a large bright plastic bag and place the pot on the seed at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The germination takes place by one to two months.
- At the time of sprouting, remove the pot from the plastic bag.
- Now put the pot on a partially shaded window sill during the daytime.
- Use damp soil for seedlings to sprout and transplant the seeds into 4 inches diameter tree pots when the seeds have attained 2 inches of height.
- Unless they reach the height of 20 inches, they need to be kept in containers for six months.
Dig holes up to 15 cm in diameter and place the acai plants about 15 feet apart. The area should not be waterlogged, but the soil must be damp.
Harvesting and Storage
Harvest by removing the top of the palm crown. As the palms are multistemmed, harvest without destroying the full plant and collect from single stemmed species. It takes one to two days for harvesting and processing so that the fruits do not get spoiled and maintain its nutritional potency. The harvesting process is done by hand only to protect the forest ecosystem. Harvest the crop from July till December.
Medicinal Uses and Health Benefits
- Use oil extract from the fruit juices for treatment of diarrhea
- Crush and roast the seeds for curing fever
- Acai roots helpful for treatment of liver problems, diabetes, muscle pain and therapy for hair loss
- Berries possess antiviral and anticancer properties
- Help in eliminating tumors and multiplication of cancer cells
- Berries help in stimulating the immune system and restore vitality and energy in our body
- Acts as a shield for cardiovascular diseases and have a positive impact on the heart. They are useful for combating high blood pressure, improve the flow of blood circulation and reduce palpitation in the heart.
- Berry is the best supplement for controlling the weight of the body and slows down the aging process
Possible side effects and Precautions
- Avoid the processed berry supplements as it leads to the growth of toxins and plaque in our body and various health problems like acne, fatigue occurs
- The supplements of these berries contain herbs like feverfew, gingko, garlic which results thinning of blood and severe bleeding. Avoid any health supplements containing the above ingredients at any cost
- Using the plant’s supplement leads to inflammation of the liver and in severe cases, there is damage to the liver
- There is suppression in the immune system if the supplement is taken in high doses
- High consumption of the berries leads to a reduction in the blood pressure and prove fatal for cardiac patients
Acai best grows in moist acidic and well-drained soil.
Health & Security
Use compost fertilizers regularly for proper nourishment and healthy growth. Wrap the plants for protecting against frost to prevent freezing from sticking around the plants. There should be adequate ventilation in the greenhouse to accommodate proper air circulation. If there are any pests, spray the field with a light horticultural oil solution.