July 30, 2016


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What other names is Annatto known by?

Achiote, Achiotillo, Annato, Annotta, Arbre Rouge à Lèvre, Arnotta, Bija, Bixa orellana, Latkan, Lipstick Tree, Rocou, Rocouyer, Roucou.

What is Annatto?

Annatto is a plant. The seed and leaf are used to make medicine.

People take annatto for diabetes, diarrhea, fevers, fluid retention, heartburn, malaria, and hepatitis. They also use it as an antioxidant and bowel cleanser.

Annatto is sometimes put directly on the affected area to treat burns and vaginal infections and to repel insects.

In foods, annatto is used as a coloring agent.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia; BPH). Early research suggests that taking annatto 250 mg three times daily for 12 months does not improve symptoms of BPH.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Diabetes.
  • Fevers.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Heartburn.
  • Malaria.
  • Hepatitis.
  • Burns, when applied directly.
  • Vaginal infections, when applied directly.
  • As an insect repellent, when applied directly.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of annatto for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Therapeutic Research Faculty copyright

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