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Acerola Berry (Malpighia glabra), also known as Barbados cherry or wild crape myrtle, is a tropical
fruit-bearing shrub or small tree in the family Malpighiaceae, native to
the West Indies and northern South America and also cultivated in
India. It grows to 3 m tall, with a dense, thorny crown. The leaves are
evergreen, simple ovate-lanceolate, 5-10 cm long, with an entire margin.
The flowers are produced in umbels of 2-5 together, each flower 1-1.5
cm diameter, with five pink or red petals.
The fruit is bright red, 1.5-2 cm diameter, containing 2-3 hard
seeds. It is juicy, often as much sour as sweet in flavor, and one of
the highest concentrations in vitamin C and other nutrients. Although
resembling a cherry, it is unrelated to the true cherry.
Acerola is used in skin care products for its vitamin C related to connective tissue formation and the collagen-elastin network.
Some of the newest cosmetics on the market now or soon heading to
market are also incorporating Acerola berry extract. These products are
skin whiteners or bleach products.
The high amount of Vitamin C in the
extract inhibits the tyrosinase which is needed for the production of
melanin. Without sufficient melanin, the skin is going to get lighter. Acerola cherries contain vitamin A, iron, calcium and niacin. These nutrients can help encourage healthy skin. Additionally, acerola cherries contain mineral salts that can improve stressed skin.
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