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The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree native to Puebla, Mexico, classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae. Avocados are a commercially valuable fruit and are cultivated in tropical climates throughout the world, producing a green-skinned, pear-r shaped fruit that ripens after harvesting.

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Botanical Names
Persea americana
Indian Names
Marathi : Alpukat Hindi : Makhanphal Tamil : vennaippazham Kannada : BenneHannu
Chemical Constituents
Volatile constituents of avocado meso carp are Hydrocarbons (mainly sesquiterpenes) and alkanals. In the extract of the avocado mesocarp, β-caryophyllene (60%) was the main sesquiterpene, followed by α-humulene (5.9%), caryophyllene oxide (4.8%), α-copaene (4.5%) and α-cubebene as the main hydrocarbons; alkanals were present, but only in low concentrations. In the extract prepared after storage (2h) of the mesocarp at room temperature, β-caryophylene (28.8%) was the main sesquiterpene, followed by β-copaene (10.7%), a cadinene isomer (8.5%), α- and β-cubebene (7.7%), α-farne-sene (5.3%) and octane (4.8%) as principal hydrocarbons; decenal (6.3%) and heptenal (3.2%) were the main aldehydes. Avocado’s contains about 75% of fats, most of which is monounsaturated fat. Avocados also have potassium. They are rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin E and vitamin K. Avocados have high fiber content among fruits including 75% insoluble and 25% soluble fiber. A fatty triol (fatty alcohol) with one double bond, avocadene (16-heptadecene-1, 2, 4-triol), is found in avocado. The volatile oil of avocado leaves contains Estragol (78.12%), α-cubebene (3.58%), methyl eugenol (3.37%) and β-caryophyllene (2.10%) are the major components representing more than 87%. Phytochemical studies on avocado seeds have identified various classes of natural products such as phytosterols, triterpenes, fatty acids, furanoic acids, flavonol dimers, proanthocyanidins and abscisic acid. Some of them are related to antifungal activity and larvicidal effect.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Various morphological parts of Persea americana (avocado) are widely used in traditional medicines for the treatment, management or control of a variety of human ailments. Avocado possesses anticonvulsant, anticancer, antibacterial, antifungal properties. Avocado fruits are recommended for anemia, exhaustion, hyper cholesterolemia, hypertension, and gastritis. Studies have shown that phyto chemicals extracted from the avocado fruit selectively induce cell cycle arrest, inhibit growth, and induce apoptosis in precancerous and cancer cell lines (2). Thus it possesses anticancer activity. Avocados are a rich food source of monounsaturated fatty acids. The high concentration of monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) in avocado suggests that a diet rich in avocado may have beneficial effects on blood lipids, and could play a significant role in protecting against the development of coronary heart disease (3). Avocado leaves also possess medicinal properties. The leaves have been reported as an effective antitussive, antidiabetic, and antiarthritic in action. Avocado leaf extract have antidiabetic activity, administration of aqueous extract to alloxan diabetic rats produced a significant reduction in blood glucose level. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of avocado leaves have been reported (4). Avocado leaf also possesses anticonvulsant effect. It provides its anticonvulsant effect by enhancing GABAergic neurotransmission and action in the brain. The studies indicate that Persea americana leaf extract possesses an anticonvulsant property, and thus it is effective in the management of childhood convulsions and epilepsy.
Health Benefits
Avocado is a nutritious fruit due to its high vitamin and nutrients content. It is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K and monounsaturated fatty acids. Vitamin E in the avocados is a good antioxidant and helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Carotenoid lutein in avocado helps in maintaining the health of the eyes. An avocado contains beta-sitosterol which is a natural plant sterol that helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Calcium and potassium in avocados are good for strengthening and maintaining the bones in the body (5). Phyto-chemicals are recognized as playing an important role in cancer prevention by fruits and vegetables. Recent studies indicate that phyto chemicals extracted from avocado fruits target multiple signaling pathways and increase intracellular reactive oxygen leading to apoptosis. β-sitosterol found in avocado seeds has been reported to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects (6). From the perspective of the use of avocado seeds as sources of phyto therapeutic agents, they have traditionally been used to treat mycoses and parasitic infections.
Application in Cosmetics
Skin care and hair care are the major health benefits of avocado. Topical application of Avocados is effective in case of skin rashes or rough skin to make the skin smooth and soft. Psoriasis can also be treated by including avocadoes in the diet. Avocado fruit also possesses sunscreen property and helps the skin to heal sunburn. Avocado oil is beneficial for skin nourishment, it strengthens the skin by stimulating collagen, thereby reducing wrinkles and improving skin texture. Avocados are also rich in vitamin E, a free radical scavenger that will assist in slowing the aging process. Avocado oil has better skin penetration compared to other oils and able to transport nutrients through the outer layer of the skin to the deeper layers.
Research References
1. David A. and Lafayette N. Biochemical Studies of the Fuerte Avocado Fruit—A Preliminary Report California Avocado Society 1941 Yearbook 26: 60-63 2. Qing- Y. L., James R. A., Qifeng Z., Sergio H., Vay Liang W. G., Inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth by an avocado extract: role of lipid-soluble bioactive substances Heber Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2005. 16:23–30 3. Zelda P., Johann J., Welma O. Avocados (monounsaturated fatty acids), weight loss and serum lipids South African Avocado Growers' Association Yearbook. 2003. 26:65-71 4. Bartholomew I.C. Brai, A.A. Odetola, P.U. Agomo. Hypoglycemic and Hypocholesterolemic Potential of Persea americana Leaf Extracts. Journal of Medicinal Food 2007, 10(2): 356-360 5. João J. G. L., Érika H. S. B., Rossana A. C., Raimunda S. N. B., José J. C. S., Luciana M. B., Selene M. M., and Marcos F. G. R. Chemical composition, toxicity and larvicidal and antifungal activities of Persea americana (avocado) seed extracts. Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical 2009, 42(2):110-113 6. Yasir M., Das S., and Kharya M. D. The phytochemical and pharmacological profile of Persea americana Mill. Phcog Rev 2010. 4:77-84 7. Nagaraj M., Sandhya V., Supriya G., Maju R., Pranitha K., Bole S., Lalitha V., and Kiran B. Antioxidant and ANTIBACTERIAL Activity of Avocado (Persea gratissima Gaertner.) Seed Extract 2010 World Applied Sciences Journal 9(6):695-698. 8. I. NEEMAN, A. LIFSHITZ, AND Y. KASHMAN New Antibacterial Agent Isolated from the Avocado Pear APPLIED MICROBIOLOGY, 1970. 19(3):470-473