Plant Profiler

Acerola (Malpighia glabra)

Malpighia glabra
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Acerola fruits, Antilles cherry, Barbados cherry, cerea-do-para, cereja-das-antillhas, cereso, Malpighia emarginata DC, Malpighia glabra L., Malpighia punicifolia, Malpighia punicifolia L., Puerto Rican cherry, West Indian cherry, wild crapemyrtle.

Mechanism of Action


  • Constituents: The average content of vitamin C is about 1,790mg per 100g of acerola pulp4, with a range of 1,000-2,330mg. The main constituents of green or ripe acerola (Malpighia punicifolia) include ascorbic acid, dehydroascorbic acid, and diketogulonic acids5. Acerola fruit also contains vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. In some cases, acerola also has shown significant amounts of yeast growing on the surface of the berry.6
  • Malpighia glabra L. contains the enzyme pectin methylesterase identified during purification and filtration.3
  • Two anthocyanins, cyanidin-3-alpha-O-rhamnoside (C3R) and pelargonidin-3-alpha-O-rhamnoside (P3R), and quercitrin (quercetin-3-alpha-O-rhamnoside), were isolated from acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) fruit. These polyphenols are determined to act as radical scavengers and possess inhibitory activity on alpha-glucosidase and an advanced glycation end product, which are functional properties associated with diabetes mellitus or its complications.1
  • Antioxidant effects: As an antioxidant, acerola cherry extract acts synergistically with other antioxidants. This synergism is due to the "peroxidolitic" action of ascorbic acid, which facilitates the copper-dependent decomposition of LDL peroxides to non-radical products.2


  • Insufficient available evidence.

  1. Hanamura, T., Hagiwara, T., and Kawagishi, H. Structural and functional characterization of polyphenols isolated from acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) fruit. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem  2005;69(2):280-286. 15725651
  2. Hwang, J., Hodis, H. N., and Sevanian, A. Soy and alfalfa phytoestrogen extracts become potent low-density lipoprotein antioxidants in the presence of acerola cherry extract. J Agric Food Chem  2001;49(1):308-314. 11170593
  3. de Assis, S. A., Martins, A. B., Guaglianoni, D. G., and Faria Oliveira, O. M. Partial purification and characterization of pectin methylesterase from acerola (Malpighia glabra L.). J Agric Food Chem  7-3-2002;50(14):4103-4107. 12083891
  4. Visentainer, J. V., Vieira, O. A., Matsushita, M., and de Souza, N. E. [Physico-chemical characterization of acerola (Malpighia glabra L.) produced in Maringa, Parana State, Brazil]. Arch Latinoam Nutr  1997;47(1):70-72. 9429646
  5. de Medeiros, R. B. [Proportion of ascorbic, dehydroascorbic and diketogulonic acids in green or ripe acerola(Malpighia punicifolia)]. Rev Bras Med  1969;26(7):398-400. 5347015
  6. Trindade, R. C., Resende, M. A., Silva, C. M., and Rosa, C. A. Yeasts associated with fresh and frozen pulps of Brazilian tropical fruits.
    Syst Appl Microbiol  2002;25(2):294-300. 12353886

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