AVOCADO

OTHER NAME(S):

Abokado, Aguacate, Ahuacate, Alligator Pear, Avocat, Avocato, Beurre du Marin, Laurus persea, Palto, Persea americana, Persea gratissima, Persea leiogyna, Persea persea, Poire Alligator.<br/><br/>

Overview

Overview Information

Avocado is a tree. The fruit, a popular food, is a good source of potassium and vitamin D. The fruit, leaves, and seeds are used to make medicine.

Avocado fruit is used to lower cholesterol levels, to increase sexual desire, and to stimulate menstrual flow. Some of the oils in avocado (chemists call these oils the “unsaponifiable fractions”) are used to treat osteoarthritis. The seeds, leaves, and bark are used for dysentery and diarrhea.

Avocado oil is applied directly to the skin to soothe and heal skin and to treat thickening (sclerosis) of the skin, gum infections (pyorrhea), and arthritis. Avocado oil is used in combination with vitamin B12 for a skin condition called psoriasis. The fruit pulp is used topically to promote hair growth and speed wound healing. The seeds, leaves, and bark are used to relieve toothache.

How does it work?

Avocado contains a lot of fiber, and this may explain its ability to lower cholesterol. Avocado also contains chemicals that might repair cartilage in joints damaged by osteoarthritis.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • High cholesterol. Eating a diet enriched with avocado seems to lower "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increase "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
  • Osteoarthritis. Certain extracts made from avocado and soybean oils are called avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU). Taking ASU by mouth for several months seems to reduce pain and overall disability in people with hip or kneeosteoarthritis. However, the long-term effects of ASU are unclear. Some research shows that taking ASU for 2 years does not reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis in most people. However, it may prevent joints from becoming worse in people with severe osteoarthritis.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • A skin condition called psoriasis. Early research shows that applying a specific cream containing avocado oil and vitamin B12 (Regividerm, Regeneratio Pharma AG, Wuppertal, Germany) to the skin for 12 weeks reduces symptoms of psoriasis as effectively as a conventional medication called calcipotriol ointment (Psorcutan). The avocado combination cream also causes less irritation than calcipotriol.
  • Healing wounds.
  • Sclerosis.
  • Promoting hair growth.
  • Stimulating menstrual flow.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Toothache.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of avocado for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Avocado is LIKELY SAFE for most people when the fruit is eaten in food amounts. Avocado also seems to be POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as a medicine for up to 2 years or when applied to the skin for up to 3 months. It generally has few side effects, although one person who used a specific avocado oil plus vitamin B12 cream for psoriasis reported mild itching.

Keep in mind that avocado has a lot of calories because of its fat content.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking avocado as medicine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Latex allergy: People who are sensitive to latex can have an allergic reaction to avocado.

Interactions

Interactions?

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

!
  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with AVOCADO

    Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Avocado has been reported to decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Decreasing the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the risk of clotting. It is unclear why this interaction might occur. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Dosing

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For lowering cholesterol: The dose of avocado used varies, depending on the amount of other fats and calories in the diet.
  • For osteoarthritis: 300 mg daily of an specific extract made from the oils that are tightly bound to fibers in avocado and soybeans. These oils are called "unsaponifiables." The extract used for osteoarthritis is made up of one-third avocado and two-thirds soy bean unsaponifiables.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Appelboom, T., Schuermans, J., Verbruggen, G., Henrotin, Y., and Reginster, J. Y. Symptoms modifying effect of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) in knee osteoarthritis. A double blind, prospective, placebo-controlled study. Scand J Rheumatol 2001;30(4):242-247. View abstract.
  • Blanco, C., Carrillo, T., Castillo, R., Quiralte, J., and Cuevas, M. Avocado hypersensitivity. Allergy 1994;49(6):454-459. View abstract.
  • Blotman, F., Maheu, E., Wulwik, A., Caspard, H., and Lopez, A. Efficacy and safety of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables in the treatment of symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee and hip. A prospective, multicenter, three-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Rev Rhum Engl Ed 1997;64(12):825-834. View abstract.
  • Boumediene, K., Felisaz, N., Bogdanowicz, P., Galera, P., Guillou, G. B., and Pujol, J. P. Avocado/soya unsaponifiables enhance the expression of transforming growth factor beta1 and beta2 in cultured articular chondrocytes. Arthritis Rheum. 1999;42(1):148-156. View abstract.
  • Buoro, I. B., Nyamwange, S. B., Chai, D., and Munyua, S. M. Putative avocado toxicity in two dogs. Onderstepoort J.Vet.Res. 1994;61(1):107-109. View abstract.
  • Burger, W. P., Naude, T. W., van Rensburg, I. B., Botha, C. J., and Pienaar, A. C. Cardiomyopathy in ostriches (Struthio camelus) due to avocado (Persea americana var. guatemalensis) intoxication. J.S.Afr.Vet.Assoc. 1994;65(3):113-118. View abstract.
  • Carranza-Madrigal, J., Herrera-Abarca, J. E., Alvizouri-Munoz, M., Alvarado-Jimenez, M. R., and Chavez-Carbajal, F. Effects of a vegetarian diet vs. a vegetarian diet enriched with avocado in hypercholesterolemic patients. Arch.Med.Res. 1997;28(4):537-541. View abstract.
  • Craigmill, A. L., Eide, R. N., Shultz, T. A., and Hedrick, K. Toxicity of avocado (Persea americana (Guatamalan var)) leaves: review and preliminary report. Vet.Hum.Toxicol. 1984;26(5):381-383. View abstract.
  • Craigmill, A. L., Seawright, A. A., Mattila, T., and Frost, A. J. Pathological changes in the mammary gland and biochemical changes in milk of the goat following oral dosing with leaf of the avocado (Persea americana). Aust.Vet.J. 1989;66(7):206-211. View abstract.
  • Crisi, G. and Belsito, D. V. Contact urticaria from latex in a patient with immediate hypersensitivity to banana, avocado and peach. Contact Dermatitis 1993;28(4):247-248. View abstract.
  • de Groot, A. C., van der Meeren, H. L., and Weyland, J. W. Contact allergy to avocado oil in a sunscreen. Contact Dermatitis 1987;16(2):108-109. View abstract.
  • Ernst, E. Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) for osteoarthritis - a systematic review. Clin.Rheumatol. 2003;22(4-5):285-288. View abstract.
  • Henrotin, Y. E., Labasse, A. H., Jaspar, J. M., De Groote, D. D., Zheng, S. X., Guillou, G. B., and Reginster, J. Y. Effects of three avocado/soybean unsaponifiable mixtures on metalloproteinases, cytokines and prostaglandin E2 production by human articular chondrocytes. Clin.Rheumatol. 1998;17(1):31-39. View abstract.
  • Khayyal, M. T. and el Ghazaly, M. A. The possible "chondroprotective" effect of the unsaponifiable constituents of avocado and soya in vivo. Drugs Exp.Clin.Res. 1998;24(1):41-50. View abstract.
  • Kim, O. K., Murakami, A., Nakamura, Y., and Ohigashi, H. Screening of edible Japanese plants for nitric oxide generation inhibitory activities in RAW 264.7 cells. Cancer Lett. 3-13-1998;125(1-2):199-207. View abstract.
  • Kim, O. K., Murakami, A., Nakamura, Y., Takeda, N., Yoshizumi, H., and Ohigashi, H. Novel nitric oxide and superoxide generation inhibitors, persenone A and B, from avocado fruit. J.Agric.Food Chem. 2000;48(5):1557-1563. View abstract.
  • Kut, C., Assoumou, A., Dridi, M., Bonnefoix, M., Gogly, B., Pellat, B., Guillou, G. B., and Godeau, G. Morphometric analysis of human gingival elastic fibres degradation by human leukocyte elastase protective effect of avocado and soybean unsaponifiables (ASU). Pathol.Biol.(Paris) 1998;46(7):571-576. View abstract.
  • Kut-Lasserre, C., Miller, C. C., Ejeil, A. L., Gogly, B., Dridi, M., Piccardi, N., Guillou, B., Pellat, B., and Godeau, G. Effect of avocado and soybean unsaponifiables on gelatinase A (MMP-2), stromelysin 1 (MMP-3), and tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinase (. J.Periodontol. 2001;72(12):1685-1694. View abstract.
  • Mauviel, A., Loyau, G., and Pujol, J. P. [Effect of unsaponifiable extracts of avocado and soybean (Piascledine) on the collagenolytic action of cultures of human rheumatoid synoviocytes and rabbit articular chondrocytes treated with interleukin-1]. Rev.Rhum.Mal Osteoartic. 1991;58(4):241-245. View abstract.
  • McKenzie, R. A. and Brown, O. P. Avocado (Persea americana) poisoning of horses. Aust.Vet.J. 1991;68(2):77-78. View abstract.
  • Sani, Y., Atwell, R. B., and Seawright, A. A. The cardiotoxicity of avocado leaves. Aust.Vet.J. 1991;68(4):150-151. View abstract.
  • Stadler, P., van Rensburg, I. B., and Naude, T. W. Suspected avocado (Persea americana) poisoning in goats. J.S.Afr.Vet.Assoc. 1991;62(4):186-188. View abstract.
  • Werman, M. J., Mokady, S., Neeman, I., Auslaender, L., and Zeidler, A. The effect of avocado oils on some liver characteristics in growing rats. Food Chem.Toxicol. 1989;27(5):279-282. View abstract.
  • Werman, M. J., Mokady, S., Nimni, M. E., and Neeman, I. The effect of various avocado oils on skin collagen metabolism. Connect.Tissue Res. 1991;26(1-2):1-10. View abstract.
  • Yaakobovich, Y. and Neeman, I. Partial isolation and characterisation of a hemagglutinating factor from avocado seed. Arch.Toxicol.Suppl 1983;6:52-57. View abstract.
  • Zusman, I., Gurevich, P., Madar, Z., Nyska, A., Korol, D., Timar, B., and Zuckerman, A. Tumor-promoting and tumor-protective effects of high-fat diets on chemically induced mammary cancer in rats. Anticancer Res. 1997;17(1A):349-356. View abstract.
  • Ahlroth, M., Alenius, H., Turjanmaa, K., Makinen-Kiljunen, S., Reunala, T., and Palosuo, T. Cross-reacting allergens in natural rubber latex and avocado. J.Allergy Clin.Immunol. 1995;96(2):167-173. View abstract.
  • Alvizouri-Munoz M, Carranza-Madrigal J, Herrera-Abarca JE, et al. Effects of avocado as a source of monounsaturated fatty acids on plasma lipid levels. Arch Med Res 1992;23:163-7. View abstract.
  • Andres A, Morales JM, Praga M, et al. L-arginine reverses the antinatriuretic effect of cyclosporin in renal transplant patients. Nephrol Dial Transplant 1997;12:1437-40. View abstract.
  • Blanco C, Diaz-Perales A, Collada C, et al. Class I chitinases as potential panallergens involved in the latex-fruit syndrome. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1999;103(3 Pt 1):507-13.
  • Blickstein D, Shaklai M, Inbal A. Warfarin antagonism by avocado. Lancet 1991;337:914-5.
  • Carranza J, Alvizouri M, Alvarado MR, et al. [Effects of avocado on the level of blood lipids in patients with phenotype II and IV dyslipidemias]. Arch Inst Cardiol Mex 1995;65:342-8. View abstract.
  • Colquhoun DM, Moores D, Somerset SM, Humphries JA. Comparison of the effects on lipoproteins and apolipoproteins of a diet high in monounsaturated fatty acids, enriched with avocado, and a high-carbohydrate diet. Am J Clin Nutr 1992;56:671-7. View abstract.
  • Diaz-Perales A, Collada C, Blanco C, et al. Cross-reactions in the latex-fruit syndrome: A relevant role of chitinases but not of complex asparagine-linked glycans. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1999;104:681-7. View abstract.
  • Henrotin YE, Sanchez C, Deberg MA, et al. Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables increase aggrecan synthesis and reduce catabolic and proinflammatory mediator production by human osteoarthritic chondrocytes. J Rheumatol 2003;30:1825-34. View abstract.
  • Lequesne M, Maheu E, Cadet C, Dreiser RL. Structural effect of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables on joint space loss in osteoarthritis of the hip. Arthritis Rheum 2002;47:50-8.. View abstract.
  • Lerman-Garber I, Ichazo-Cerro S, Zamora-Gonzalez J, et al. Effect of a high-monounsaturated fat diet enriched with avocado in NIDDM patients. Diabetes Care 1994;17:311-5. View abstract.
  • Lopez Ledesma R, Frati Munari AC, Hernandez Dominguez BC, et al. Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia. Arch Med Res 1996;27:519-23. View abstract.
  • Maheu E, Mazieres B, Valat JP, et al. Symptomatic efficacy of avocado/soybean unsaponifiables in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee and hip: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial with a six-month treatment period and a two-month followup demonstrating a persistent effect. Arthritis Rheum 1998;41:81-91. View abstract.
  • Naveh E, Werman MJ, Sabo E, Neeman I. Defatted avocado pulp reduces body weight and total hepatic fat but increases plasma cholesterol in male rats fed diets with cholesterol. J Nutr 2002;132:2015-8.. View abstract.
  • Stucker M, Memmel U, Hoffmann M, et al. Vitamin B(12) cream containing avocado oil in the therapy of plaque psoriasis. Dermatology 2001;203:141-7. View abstract.

More Resources for AVOCADO

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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