Health Benefits of Kakadu Plum

Kakadu plums are an Australian fruit rich in vitamin C and other minerals that have many health benefits.

What Is the Kakadu Plum?

It’s a fruit from the kakadu plum tree. The tree is native to Australia and is commonly found in tropical woodlands. It is sometimes also called:

  • Billy goat plum
  • Green plum
  • Wild plum
  • Murunga
  • Marnybi
  • Salty plum
  • Gubinge
  • Kullari plum

The kakadu plum tree loses its leaves in the dry season. It is small with large, round leaves and cream-colored flowers that bloom from August to October.

The plums are smooth, fleshy, and egg-shaped with a single seed inside, and they range from yellow to green in color. Some people make them into jam, but most folks eat them raw.

The Indigenous peoples of Australia have been eating kakadu plums and using them as medicine for centuries. They used the fruit and parts of the tree to try to treat different problems, including:

Today, you can buy kakadu plum to eat, but you can also find it in products. These include:

  • Extracts
  • Supplements
  • Hair products
  • Fatty seed oil
  • Lip balms
  • Face washes
  • Lotions

Benefits of Kakadu Plum

The kakadu plum is a nutritious fruit. It has lots of vitamin C, which makes it a powerful antioxidant. It also has a bunch of other nutrients, like:

  • Fiber
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin E

It’s also high in other plant compounds like gallic acid, ellagic acid, and flavonoids.

Research on kakadu plum is lacking, but it might be linked to benefits like:

Eye health. The kakadu plum has high amounts of lutein. This substance can help lower your risk for chronic eye disease and cataracts. The vitamin C and E in kakadu plums can also help lower your risk of cataracts, vision problems, age-related macular degeneration, and loss of healthy tissue.

Oxidative stress. Your body naturally makes free radicals. These are unstable compounds that can damage your DNA and healthy cells and cause diseases. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and lower your chances of getting chronic diseases. The high amounts of vitamin C in kakadu plums are a strong antioxidant.

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Kakadu plums also have lots of ellagic acid. This is another antioxidant commonly found in strawberries, almonds, and walnuts. Ellagic acid might help damage or kill cancer cells and block tumor growth. More studies are needed, though.

Blood pressure. The kakadu plum has a high potassium to sodium ratio. This might help lower high blood pressure. 

Emollient. Kakadu plum seeds can be pressed into seed oil. The kakadu plum oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids as well as saturated fatty acids called palmitic acid and stearic acid.

Fatty seed oils rich in omegas can help promote wound healing and moisturize the skin.

Other skin care. Kakadu plum is added to lots of different lotions and facial washes because of its vitamin C content. Vitamin C can help brighten the skin, protect against signs of aging, and lower patches of darker skin (hyperpigmentation) and dark spots.

Antibacterial. Kakadu plum fruit and leaf extracts are naturally antibacterial. Research shows that water-based and methanol kakadu plum extracts can stop food-borne bacteria growth like antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus bacteria and Listeria monocytogenes.

Some Australian companies use kakadu plum extract on prawns as a natural preservative.

Side Effects of Kakadu Plum

Kakadu plum seeds can be toxic. Don’t eat too many seeds because they can make you sick.

The kakadu plum is also very high in vitamin C and another compound called oxalic acid, or oxalates. While some people can have lots of these substances, they can cause health problems for others.

Regularly eating high-oxalate foods can interfere with how you absorb calcium. This can lead to kidney stones. Oxalates also form as your body breaks down vitamin C, and eating high vitamin C foods might lead to kidney stones, too.

Some people might be more likely to have problems with oxalates. These include people who have:

  • Kidney disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Renal tubular acidosis

Tips for Safely Eating Kakadu Plum

To help kidney stones pass, drink plenty of water and talk to your doctor. If you’re likely to get kidney stones, make sure to limit kakadu plums.

While some people shouldn’t eat too many kakadu plums, this fruit is nutritious and packed with some possible health benefits.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Australian Native Food and Botanicals: “Kakadu Plum,” “Rural Industries R&D Corporation Factsheet: Kakadu Plum.”

American Optometric Association: “Diet and Nutrition.”

Clinics in Dermatology: “Healing fats of the skin: the structural and immunologic roles of the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.”

Clinical Nutrition Research: “Nutritional Management of Kidney Stones (Nephrolithiasis).”

Foods: “Antioxidant Rich Extracts of Terminalia ferdinandiana Inhibit the Growth of Foodborne Bacteria,” “Chemical and Nutritional Composition of Terminalia ferdinandiana (Kakadu Plum) Kernels: A Novel Nutrition Source,” “Buchanania obovata: Functionality and Phytochemical Profiling of the Australian Native Green Plum.”

Food Research International: “Organic acids in Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana): The good (ellagic), the bad (oxalic) and the uncertain (ascorbic).”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Understanding antioxidants.”

Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology: “Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications.

Kakadu National Park: “Kakadu plum.”

Pharmacognosy Review: “The chemotherapeutic potential of Terminalia ferdinandiana: Phytochemistry and bioactivity.”

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