Other Name(s):

Acérola, Acerola Cherry, Barbados Cherry, Cerise des Antilles, Cerise de la Barbade, Puerto Rican Cherry, West Indian Cherry. Malpighia glabra, Malpighia punicifolia.


Acerola is a fruit. It is rich in vitamin C, and also contains vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. People use it for medicine.

Acerola is used to treat or prevent scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. Acerola is also used for preventing heart disease, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), blood clots, and cancer.

Some people use it to treat the common cold, pressure sores, bleeding in the eye (retinal hemorrhages), tooth decay, gum infections, depression, hay fever, and collagen disorders. Athletes use acerola for improving physical endurance.

How does it work?

The health benefits of acerola are due to its vitamin C content.

Uses & Effectiveness

Likely Effective for...

  • As a source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of acerola for these conditions.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

Side Effects

Acerola is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults. It can cause some side effects including nausea, stomach cramps, sleepiness, and insomnia. Doses that are too high can cause diarrhea.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of acerola during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Gout: The vitamin C in acerola might increase uric acid levels and make gout worse.

Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis): In large doses, acerola might increase the chance of getting kidney stones. That's because of the vitamin C in acerola.


Fluphenazine (Prolixin)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Acerola contains vitamin C. Large amounts of vitamin C might decrease how much fluphenazine (Prolixin) is in the body. This might decrease how well fluphenazine works.

Warfarin (Coumadin)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Acerola contains vitamin C. Large amounts of vitamin C might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Decreasing the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the risk of clotting. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

EstrogensInteraction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Acerola contains a large amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C can increase how much estrogen the body absorbs. Increasing the absorption of estrogen can increase the effects and side effects of estrogens.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.


The appropriate dose of acerola depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for acerola. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Reviewed on 6/14/2021

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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. View abstract.

Back DJ, Breckenridge AM, MacIver M, et al. Interaction of ethinyloestradiol with ascorbic acid in man. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:1516. View abstract.

Bowry VW, Ingold KU, Stocker R. Vitamin E in human density lipoprotein. When and how this antioxidant becomes a pro-oxidant. Biochem J 1992;288:341-4. View abstract.

Burnham TH, ed. Drug Facts and Comparisons, Updated Monthly. Facts and Comparisons, St. Louis, MO.

Kagan VE, Serbinova EA, Forte T, et al. Recycling of vitamin E in human low density lipoproteins. J Lipid Res 1992;33:385-97. View abstract.

Morris JC, Beeley L, Ballantine N. Interaction of ethinyloestradiol with ascorbic acid in man [letter]. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;283:503. View abstract.

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