Cupuacu - "Pharmacy in a Fruit"

What is Cupuacu?

Cupuacu friut on the treeCupuacu (pronounced coo-poo-ah-sue) is a small to medium tree in the Rainforest canopy which belongs to the Chocolate family. Cupuacu fruit has been a primary food source in the Rainforest for both indigenous tribes and animals alike.

The fruit are about the size of a cantaloupe and is highly prized for its creamy exotic tasting pulp and makes up approximately one-third of the fruit and is used throughout Brazil and Peru to make fresh juice, ice cream, jam and tarts. Like chocolate, the fruit has a large center seed pod filled with "beans", which the Tikuna tribe utilize for abdominal pains.

Cupuacu is found throughout the Rainforest regions with it seeds being dispersed by birds and monkeys which feast on the tasty fruit pulp. Indigenous tribes as well as local communities along the Amazon have cultivated Cupuacu as a primary food source for generations. In remote times, Cupuacu seeds were traded along the Rio Negro and Upper Orinoco rivers where river tribes drink Cupuacu juice after it has been blessed by a shaman to facilitate difficult births.

Health Benefits and Uses

With a taste that is often compared to already very popular foods, such as chocolate, banana, melon, or bubble gum, the cupuacu fruit is served in a wide variety of ways. When the seeds are processed using a method like that used to refine cacao seeds into chocolate, you get the base flavor for cupulate, a hot drink that is very much like hot chocolate. From the sweetened pulp of the cupuacu fruit comes a variety of desserts, including candy, jelly, ice cream, and juice. In addition to the sought-after taste, cupuacu is often harvested and sold as a health supplement.

On the Today Show, Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel described cupuacu as "the pharmacy of the Amazon". According to him, the populations that have been eating and cultivating cupuacu for generations look to the plant for a variety of treatments. Cupuacu is often used as a pain killer. It provides antioxidants and other benefits to the digestive system. In addition, the theobromides in cupuacu act like caffeine to provide energy and alertness. Finally, cupuacu is often sold as a lotion or cream because it has rejuvenating effects on skin.


When scientist started breaking down the Cupuacu fruit to determine the nutritional value, they found it to be rich in antioxidant phytonutrients called polyphenols. When the scientist compared the cupuacu to other plants that provide polyphenols (most colorful fruits and vegetables) they found that those found in the cupuacu were unique among all others. So, as scientist often do - they named this new category of polyphenols after the plants botanical name - Theobroma Grandiflorum - and came up with theograndins.

When studied, they found that theograndins have a potent antioxidant activity and therefore provide cardiovascular protection and immune supportive benefits. In part of extensive ongoing research it has been found that Cupuacu not only produces antioxidants that are important in preventing free radical damage and cancer cell formation, but it can also kill cancer cells that have advanced beyond the Initiation Stage. Further studies will determine the extent of Cupuacu's ability to aid the human body to fight of disease.

Cupuacu provides a well rounded source of antioxidants all by itself. This is particular important because no single antioxidant can neutralize all types of free radicals. It takes variety.

Cupuacu is often used as a pain killer. It provides antioxidants and other benefits to the digestive system. In addition, the theobromides in cupuacu act like caffeine to provide energy and alertness. - Today Show, Andrew Zimmern


Did you know that 70% of the plants found to be active against cancer cells are found in the rainforest?

Dr. Jeffrey Klein, Ph.D -The Cupuacu has many health benefits, including; Increased ability to fight disease and cancer,
More youthful and healthier looking skin and hair,
Lower cholesterol levels,
Increased libido and stamina as well as an all around cell-protective antioxidant cocktail.