What does science says about Avocado

health benefits of avocado

The scientific name of the avocado is Persea americana Mill.

Scientific names Common names
Persea gratissima Gaertn. Abukado (Tag.)
Persea americana Mill. Abokado (Ceb.) 
Laurus persea Linn. Aguacate (Span.) 
E li (Chin.) Alligator pear (Engl.) 
Avocado (Engl.) 
You li (Chin.)
Other vernacular names
BURMESE: Htaw bat.
CHINESE:Zhang li, Huang you li, Lao li, Xi yin du lao li.
CROATIAN : Americhki avokado.
DANISH: Avocado, Avogatpære.
DUTCH: Advocaat.
FRENCH: Avocat, Avocatier.
GERMAN: Alligatorbirne, Avocado, Avocadobaum, Avocadobirne, Avocato-Birne.
ITALIAN: Avocato.
JAPANESE: Abokado, Perusea.
KHMER: ‘avôkaa.
KOREAN: Ah bo k’a do .
MALAY: Adpukat, Avocad, Aviokad, Bash apukaod, Buah mantega, Buah apokat.
PORTUGUESE: Abacate, Abacateiro.
RUSSIAN: Avokado.
SPANISH: Aguacate, Cura, Cupandra, Devora, Okh, Palta, Sikia
THAI: Awokhado.

Avocado is a medium-sized tree reaching a height of up to 10 to 15 meters. Leaves are alternate, leathery, oblong to oval or obovate, about 20 centimeters long. Flowers are small, yellow, borne in naked, panicled hairy cymes. Stamens are 12, in groups of 3 in 4 whorls. Fruit is large, fleshy, elongated, of various sizes and shapes, often resembling a pear, 8 to 18 centimeters long, some weighing as much as two kilos, soft and edible, with a nutty flavor, color varying from yellow-green to purple.


– Introduced from tropical America before the end of the sixteenth century.

– Now extensively cultivated for its edible fruit.

– Usually grown from seeds, but may be propagated by budding, grafting, and marketing.


– Fruit: fixed oil, 6-10%; protein 1.3-6%.

– Leaves contain a volatile oil,, 0.5%, with methyl-chavicol, d-d-pinene and paraffin.

– Leaves yielde3d isorhamnetin, luteolin, rutin, quercetin and apigenin.

– Seed is rich in saponins, tannins, flavonoids and alkaloids.

Medicinal Properties 

– Digestive, emmenagogue, antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, pectoral, stomachic, anthelmintic, antiperiodic, antidiarrheal.

– Pulp considered to have aphrodisiac and emmenagogue properties.

Parts used

Bark, fruit, leaves and seeds.

Edibility / Nutritional

• Fruit eaten with a dressing as a salad.

• Makes an excellent ice cream and dessert.

• A good source of vitamins A, some B, C and E, potassium (higher than bananas) and fiber ; fair source of iron; low in calcium. A fruit with high-energy producing value, each edible pound allegedly provides an average of 1,000 calories.

• Fat content averages about 20 percent and increases with maturity of the fruit. The digestibility of the fat is comparable to that of butter fat.

• The caloric or energy-producing value of avocado is high. One pound of edible portion represents an average of 1,000 calories. The maximum yield is about twice that of lean meat.

• High in fat, about 25-35 gms on average. however, about 65% of it is health-promoting monosaturated fat, particularly oleic acid.

• Mineral content is considered greater than in any other fresh fruit. Salts of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium compose more than one-half of the ash. It yields an excess of base-forming elements, compared to nuts which furnish an excess of acid-forming elements.

• Protein content, which averages 2%, is higher than any other fresh fruit.

• Leaves used as a substitute for tea.

Folkloric traditional medicinal uses of avocado

• The pulp is thought to promote menstruation.

• The pulp is used to hasten the suppuration of wounds.

• The pulp is considered aphrodisiac and emmenagogue.

• Ointment from pulverized seeds sometimes employed as rubefacient.

• Decoction of pulverized seeds used as gargles for toothaches; also, a piece of the seed placed in the cavity of the tooth to relieve toothaches.

• The leaves and bark promote menstruation; the tea has been used to expel worms.

• Used for diarrhea and dysentery.

• Rheumatism and neuralgia: Pulverize seeds or bark, mix with oil and apply on affected area as counterirritant.

• Beverage: Take decoction of leaves as tea.

• Pulp is applied to shallow cuts, prevents infection.

• Flesh of ripe fruit is soothing to sunburned skin.

• In different parts of the world, has been recommended for anemia, exhaustion, high cholesterol, hypertension, gastritis and duodenal ulcers. The leaves have been reported effective as antitussive, antidiabetic, antiarthritic and antiinflammatory.

• In Mexico, rind of the fruit used as anthelmintic. In the form of a liniment, used in intercostal neuralgia. Seeds, crude or toasted, are used to treat skin rashes, diarrhea, asthma, hypertension, rheumatism, and dysentery caused by helminths and ameobas,

• In many African countries used in traditional medicine for gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcers, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, anemia.

• In Nigeria, seed extracts used for hypertension.

Other uses

• Ink: Juice from seeds yields a milky juice which turns red on exposure; used to make permanent ink for fabric lettering.


• Lactating livestock eating avocado leaves may develop non-infectious mastitis and agalactia.

Scientific proven health and beauty benefits of avocado


Anticonvulsant effect of Persea americana Mill (Lauraceae) (Avocado) leaf aqueous extract in mice: In African traditional medicine, Persea americana has been used in various human ailments including childhood convulsions and epilepsy. A study showed that avocado leaf aqueous extract (PAE) produces anticonvulsant effect by the enhancement of GABAergic neurotransmission and/or action in the brain. (1)


Hypoglycemic activity of aqueous leaf extract of Persea americana: A Nigerian study revealed that the leaf extract contained various pharmacologically active compounds such as saponins, tannins, phlobatannins, flavonoids, alkaloids and polysaccharides. Although the results were incomparable to the reference drug (chlorpropamide), it confirms the ethnomedical use of the plant for diabetes management. More studies are needed to identify the hypoglycemic principles and its mechanism of action. (2)

Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic:

Hypoglycemic and Hypocholesterolemic Potential of Persea americana Leaf Extracts: A effect of aqueous and methanol extracts of Persea americana on plasma glucose, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-CHOL), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-CHOL) in rats was investigated. Results suggested lowering effects on glucose and lipid metabolism influences with lowering of Total and LDL cholesterols, an effect of HDL-cholesterol and a potential protective mechanism against atherosclerosis. (3)

Antiobesity / Hypolipidemic:

Effects of Persea Americana leaf extracts on body weight and liver lipids in rats fed hyperlipidemic diet: The study results hypothesize that P. americana leaf extract increases catabolism of lipids accumulated in adipose tissue causing a decrease in mean body weight gain and raises the question if higher concentrations of the leaf extract would reduce liver levels in obesity and fatty liver conditions. (4)


Leaf constituents of Persea americana given intravenously induced a marked fall in mean arterial blood pressure lasting 2-3 mins. The short duration was assumed due to rapid metabolism. (6)

Toxicity / Persin:

Study of avocado leaves isolated an active principle, persin. Previously shown to have antifungal properties and to be toxic to silkworms. At high doses, persin can induce mammary gland necrosis and myocardial fiber necrosis, the mechanism for which still remain to be resolved.

Cytotoxic/ Antitumor / Pesticidal:

Study of unripe avocado fruit isolated three major bioactive constituents which showed activity against six human tumor cell lines with selectivity for human prostate adenocarcinoma, with one compound being as potent as adriamycin. also, one compound was shown to be more effective than rotenone, a natural botanical insecticide, against yellow fever mosquito larva.

Toxicity / Larvicidal / Antifungal:

Study of extracts of avocado seeds showed toxicity towards Artemia salina, activity against Aedes aegypti. Extracts were also active against all yeast strains, Candida spp, Cryptococcus neoformans and Malassezia pachydermis. (8)


Study of aqueous leaves extract on isolated rat aorta produced significant vasorelaxation, an effect attributed to the synthesis or release of endothelium-derived relaxing factors and/or release of prostanoids. Extract also reduced vasoconstriction probably through inhibition of Ca influx through calcium channels. (9)

Antimicrobial / Antimycobacterial:

Study demonstrated antimycobacterial activity and suggests a potential source for antituberculosis drugs. (10)

Persealide / Cytotoxicity:

Study of ETOH extract isolated ‘persealide’ which showed moderate cytotoxicity against three solid tumor cell lines: human lung carcinoma, human breast carcinoma and human colon adenocarcinoma. (11)

Anti-Viral :

Study showed infusion of P. americana leaves strongly inhibited herpes simplex virus type 1, Adenovirus type 3 and Aujeszky’s disease virus. (12)

Acute and Subacute Toxicity Studies:

Acute toxicity study showed a relatively low LD50 for the seed extract. Treatment for 14 days decreased food consumption, body weight, blood glucose, Hb and hepatic cholesterol levels. (13)

Hypoglycemic / Pancreatic Protective:

Study showed restorative effect of the ethanolic extract on pancreatic islet cells. Results suggest a potential for the management of diabetes.(14)

Immunomodulating / Anti-Adhesion Property:

Study showed that P americana has the potential to interfere with the adhesion of all the oral bacteria in host epithelial surfaces. Its significant inhibition property suggests that like cranberry juice, avocado juice can also be consumed to avoid urinary tract infections with E coli. (16)

Hypolipemic Effects:

(1) Study showed treatment with various doses of a methanolic extract of Persea americana seeds caused a significant reduction in the levels of TC, TG, LDLC, and VLDLC while the levels of HDLC increased significantly. (17)

Antioxidant / Leaves Phytoconstituents:

Study of leaves isolated isorhamnetin, luteolin, rutin, quercetin and apigenin. On free radical scavenging testing using the DPPH and H2O2 assays, quercetin showed the highest scavenging activity.

Wound Healing:

Study evaluated the wound-healing activity of a fruit extract in rats. Results showed the rate of wound contraction, epithelialization time together with hydroxyproline content and histological findings support its use in the management of wound healing. (19)

Anti-Ulcer Activity:

Study in rats showed both aqueous and methanolic extracts of Persea americana were not potent enough to reduce gastric acid secretion in rats but inhibited histamine-stimulated acid secretion probably by inhibition of H2-receptors. (21)


Studies have shown phytochemicals extracted from avocado fruit selectively induce cell cycle arrest, inhibit growth, and induce apoptosis in precancerous and cancer cell lines. This study suggest phytochemicals from the fruit have a potential as a chemoprotective ingredient for lowering the side effect of chemotherapy like cyclophosphamide in cancer therapy. (22)

Antibacterial / Antimycobacterial:

Methanol extracts from both Persea americana and Gymnosperma glutinosum showed to possess antimycobacterial activity. Persea americana showed higher antimicrobial activity against the mycobacteria strains.

Liver-Kidney Effects:

Study evaluated the histopathologic effects of P. americana leaf extract on liver and kidneys of rabbits. Histopath of the liver and kidney of recommended and high dosage groups were not different from the control suggesting the plant extract to be beneficial, except for loose stool suggesting increased bowel emptying. (23)

Wound Healing Benefits / Oil:

Study showed avocado oil is rich in oleic acid and essential fatty acids. When used in natura or in pharmaceutical formulations for topical use, avocado oil can promote increased collagen synthesis and decrease the numbers of inflammatory cells during the wound healing process. (26)

Anti-Hyperlipidemic Activity / Leaf Extract:

Study evaluated the anti-hyperlipidemic activity of a methanol leaf extract in cholesterol-induced hyperlipidemic rats. Results showed a dose-dependent reversal of hyperlipidemic by the methanol extract of leaves. The MEPA also caused a dose-dependent reduction of plasma lipid peroxidation in rats. The anti-hyperlipidemic effect was comparable to standard drug cholestyramine. (27)

Anti-Ulcer / Leaves:

Study of an aqueous extract of leaves against ethanol/Hcl and indomethacin-induced gastric ulcer showed anti-ulcer effects, with significant reduction of ulcer index, possibly through a decrease in gastric secretion. (28)

Antiprotozoal / Antimycobacteria / Seeds:

Study of chloroformic and ethanolic extracts of seeds showed significant activity against E. histolytica, G. lamblia, and T. vaginalis. The chloroformic extract inhibited the growth of M. tuberculosis H37Rv. Results showed amoebicidal, giardicidal and antimycobacterial activities. (29)

Hypotensive / Seeds:

Study of aqueous seed extract showed reduction of blood pressure in normotensive Sprague-Dawley rats, possibly through reduction of heart rate. (30)

Cardiotoxicity of Acetogenins:

Study evaluated a new acetogenins-enriched extract from the seed of Persea americana to investigate its toxicity on cardiac tissue. Results showed the acetogenins-enriched extract could directly modulate permeability transition, resulting in cardiotoxicity. (31)

Seasonal fruiting and ubiquitous market produce.

References or scientific research links on avocado

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