The Acai (pronounced ah-sah-EE) berry comes from the Brazilian Acai (or Assai) palm, a tall slender clustering palm native to tropical Central and South America. It is very common in the Brazilian floodplains and swamps. The Yanomami Indians consider this to be a fruit with ‘unique power’ and a few years ago it was named the world’s number one super food.
Studies have confirmed that the Acai is indeed extraordinary, being rich in nutrients like essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins B1, B2, B3, E, and C, the minerals iron, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium and a range of polyphenols, anthocyanins and phytosterols. This combination makes an outstanding antioxidant profile and the Acai is believed to have the highest antioxidant value of any known edible fruit – 30% more than either blueberries or grapes.
Acai Oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of the dark purple Acai berries which are harvested by hand from bunches that hang from the palm like hundreds of little grapes. It has a mild and sweet fruity aroma with a deep golden to light brown colour and a similar fatty acid profile to olive oil.
Acai berry oil is highly moisturizing and quickly absorbed into the skin. Its natural emollient properties make it an effective carrier oil. The powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties protect the skin from free radical damage, aging and cancer cell formation. It adds suppleness to skin by restoring elasticity. The phytosterols found in Acai, sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol, promote skin repair and membrane stability by controlling the balance of lipids in the superficial layer of the skin. This is useful for the treatment of dermatitis and for stimulating the skin regeneration. Acai oil is also anti-bacterial and astringent and is great for the scalp and dry, damaged hair.
Acai berry oil is used in balms, lotions, moisturisers and anti-ageing serums, as well as in after-sun products, anti-wrinkle creams, facial and body products like masks and in shampoos and conditioners. On its own, a little goes a long way and it is great for a night time moisturiser. It can be used for acne, eczema, psoriasis, dry, cracked skin and for muscular aches and swelling or anywhere there is redness or inflammation. It softens and nourishes hair.