Abokado, Aguacate, Ahuacate, Alligator Pear, Avocat, Avocato, Beurre du Marin, Laurus persea, Palto, Persea americana, Persea gratissima, Persea leiogyna, Persea persea, Poire Alligator.
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.
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 knee osteoarthritis. 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 to Rate Effectiveness 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.
- Promoting hair growth.
- Stimulating menstrual flow.
- Other conditions.
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).
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.
Latex allergy: People who are sensitive to latex can have an allergic reaction to avocado.
Warfarin (Coumadin)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
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.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- 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.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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