Açaí Berry is a small, round, black-purple fruit about 1 inch in circumference, similar in appearance to a grape, but smaller and with less pulp and produced in branched clusters of 500 to 900 fruits.
Acai palms are found throughout the Amazon basin and are particularly abundant in the eastern region. It is one of the most common palms of the state of Pará, and dominates the landscape, sometimes in almost pure stands. Açaí prefers flooded and wetland areas and easily regenerates. Acai also needs a second canopy that provides shade, preventing people from cutting the taller trees in the region.
The local and indigenous river people in the Amazon forest have been consuming acai berries for hundreds of years and it can make up to 80% of their diet. With the flourishing popularity, the commerce of the fruit has become the main source of income for many families and most of the acai that comes from Brazil is wildharvested and fair traded.
Acai Berry Oil is expensive, part because of its popularity and also because the extraction of the açaí oil corresponds to only 1% of the volume of the fruits, which is very low.
By consuming Rainforest Chica Acai Berry Oil, not only you are doing a favor to your skin and hair, you are also helping the Amazon forest to survive, you are helping river communities to stay in the forest and work not in it, but with it.
Find Our Acai Berry Oil HERE!
Andiroba -Crabwood (Carapa guianensis, Meliáceae)
Andiroba is a tree that belongs to the same family as mahogany and cedar trees. It can be found Southern Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay, and the Caribbean islands.
In Brazil, it is found from sea level to 350 m elevation, throughout the Amazon basin, both in terra firme forests (dry land) and on land that is temporarily flooded, along rivers and streams and near the mangroves. The seeds float and can be dispersed by water. However, in forests, most fruits and seeds are found under the parent tree. The seeds are eaten by rodents, armadillos, peccaries, pacas, deer, cotias, etc.
The andiroba tree can reach 30 meters (98') in height and grow well to different environments, such as flooded areas and terra firme.
The oil is produced from the seeds. The name andiroba is from Nheengatu nhandi rob, meaning "bitter oil". Andiroba oil similar to neem oil.
Andiroba oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids, including oleic, palmitic, myristic and linoleic acids, and contains no fatty components such as triterpenes, tannins, and alkaloids, which are isolated as Andirobina and Carapina. The bitter taste of the oil is attributed to a group of terpene chemicals called meliacins, recently, one of these meliacins, called gedunin, was documented to have pest control properties and antimalarial effects equal to that of quinine. A chemical analysis of andiroba oil identified the anti-inflammatory named andirobina, which has healing and insect repelling properties that are attributed to the presence of limonoids. The interest in using andiroba oil in cosmetics has increased significantly, especially after the patenting of a cream by Yves Rocher, from France, that has moisturizing and anticellulite properties based on this oil.
Andiroba candles are used as an effective mosquitop repellent. When burned the candles release an agent that inhibits the hunger of the mosquitoes, therefore reducing its need to bite. In addition to this property, the candle is completely non-toxic, produces no smoke, and does not contain perfume.
The harvest of the Andiroba seeds cause no damage to the tree, the seeds are found on the ground, and by consuming Andiroba Oil, you give incentive to local Amazon communities to make their living harvesting the seeds not from the timber industry.
You can find Rainforest Chica's Andiroba Oil HERE!
Brazil Nut (Bertholletia excelsa, Lecythidaceae)
Castanha do Pará, more recently renamed the Brazil nut, is one of the most important species of Amazonian trees that produces a commodity. This tree plays a key role in the socio-economic organization of large forested regions. It is a very large tree, leafy and majestic, often reaching a height of 50 meters (165') and can be more than 2 meters in diameter. The fruit of the Brazil nut is a large capsule containing 10 to 25 seeds (nuts). To remove the seeds the capsule needs to be broken, which has a very hard and woody shell that has an opening (when mature) that is small and does not allow the seeds to fall out.
The wood is of excellent quality for construction and shipbuilding. Currently, it is prohibited by law to log native Brazil-nut trees, and even the exportation of the oil is allowed but under heavy scrutiny.
A mature tree produces an average 125 liters of seeds (at an average 45 seeds per liter). The peeled seed is approximately 70% oil. An oil press can extract (without the use of solvents) 40% of the oil, which means each tree can produce up to 50 liters of oil per year.
Local river women use this oil for cooking, baking, hair and skin care.
As a curiosity: despite the name Brazil-Nut is not a nut but rather a seed.
You can find our sustainable, fair traded Brazil Nut Oil HERE!
Buriti (Mauritia Flexuosa, Arecaceae)
Buriti is a palm tree (Mauritia vinifera and M. flexuosa), which dominates expansive areas and covers nearly all of central Brazil and the lowlands of southern Amazonia, where there are streams. It can reach 35 meters and forms large leaves with a rounded crown, their leaves and stalks are used for basket weaving and other crafts.The flowers are yellowish, and appear from December to April. Its fruits are chestnut colored, and have a surface coated with shiny scales. The fruits have a yellow flesh and the juice and sweets made from it are very popular in the northern part of Brazil.
Buriti Oil is the richest natural source of beta-carotene and used for sun burn care, anti-aging formulas and deep treatments for hair. In the amazon Buriti oil is used for frying and taken internally on the treatment of asthma. (my oil is for external use though)
You can find this gorgeous oil HERE!
Passion Fruit - Maracuja - (Passiflora edulis, Passifloraceae)
Passiflora edulis is native to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina.The passion fruit is round to oval, either yellow or dark purple at maturity, with a soft to firm, juicy interior filled with numerous seeds. Passion fruit, or Maracuja, is very popular in Brazil and primarily used for food, in the form of juices, jams, jellies, ice cream and liqueurs. Maracuja Cipirinhas are almost as popular as the original lime one. The leaves and juice contain passiflorin, a natural sedative, used to lower blood pressure and against anxiety, and tea prepared with leaves has a diuretic effect. The oil is extracted from the seeds, has a high content of unsaturated fats and lots of vitamin A and C.
Find our amazing maracuja oil HERE!
Pracaxi - Pracachy (Pentaclethra macroloba, Leguminosae-Mimosoideae)
This species is distributed throughout northern Brazil, Guyana, Trinidad, and some regions of Central America. The tree is medium in size (8–14 m), found in flooded areas, and forms half-moon shaped fruit pods, 20 to 25 cm long, containing 4 to 8 seeds. Approximately 35 fruits are needed to obtain one kilo of seeds, which contain approximately 30% oil (when the seeds are dry). Seed germination takes 30 to 40 days and the germination rate is relatively high; the plants grow fast in floodplains. On terra firme the plants tolerate selective pruning and are nitrogen-fixing pioneer species that show great potential for forest regeneration and restoration of degraded areas.
The inhabitants of the Amazon region use the bark of the stem to combat the effects of poison from snake and scorpion bites. The seeds for the oil are collected (along rivers, streams, and beaches), dried in the sun, and stored for selling. The oils is used by river people for hair, skin care and for its insecticidal ability.
Bacuri (Platonia insignis, Clusiaceae)
Bacuri is native to the state of Pará (eastern amazon forest). This tree can reach 25 m (82') in height and 1.5 m in diameter. It grows on terra firme (dry land) and the timber is yellow, compact, resistant to rotting, and therefore is used in the construction of boats. The fruit of this species, which weighs 250 g on average, is oval and covered by a shell, which is 0.7 to 1.6 cm thick and 75% of the weight of the fruit. The edible part of the fruit is the endocarp, and represents 13% of the weight of the fruit. It is white, with a strong aroma and sweet taste, it is very popular in the prepation of sweets, ice cream and juices.
The fruit usually has 4 oily seeds, and when dried they contain 72% fat, which is resinous and dark brown to almost black. It is estimated that an average tree will produce 400 fruits per year. The number of fruits produced per year varies. A year of high fruit production is succeeded by one, two, or three years of low production.
The grease of the bacuri oil has a high absorption rate, due to its high level of tripalmitin (50% to 55%), which penetrates the skin quickly. The high amount of fatty palmitoleic acid (5%), compared to other oils (less than or equal to 0.5 to 1.5%), makes the bacuri oil a fantastic emollient, which can also be used as a moisturizing agent. Locally in Para it is known to be a miraculous remedy against rheumatism and arthritis. The butter of bacuri gives a golden tone to the skin. It is absorbed a few minutes after it is applied and the skin becomes velvety to the touch; it also removes spots and reduces scarring.
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Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum, Malvaceae)
Cupuaçu, a native of Amazonia forest, is a small tree that is 4 to 8 meters (when cultivated) or up to 18 m high (in growing in the wild). It belongs to the same family as cacao. The butter of cupuaçu is similar to the "butter" of cacao but superior in quality and is extracted from the seeds.
Locally in the north of Brazil for the most part, only the fruit pulp of cupuaçu is commonly consumed, in the form of juices, ice creams, creams, and sweets. The removal of the pulp from the seeds is rather laborious and performed with scissors. In some regions the seeds are fermented, dried in the sun, roasted, ground in a mortar, and used as chocolate (also called cupulate). In general, seeds are a byproduct of processing the pulp and are underutilized and thrown away. However, because there is a growing interest of the pharmaceutical industry to acquire the butter of cupuaçu, the fruit pulp industries and cooperatives are beginning to separate and process the seeds in larger quantities. Lucky us!
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Murumuru (Astrocaryum murumuru)
The murumuru palm is abundant in the Brazilian Amazon, extending to the borders of Bolivia and Peru. It prefers to grow in periodically flooded areas, especially on islands and in lowlands along the rivers, in dense or semi-open forests. It is also frequently found in the lowlands of Marajo Island. The stem, leaves and stalk of fruits are covered with black, hard and tough spines that can reach over 20 cm in length, which makes harvesting the fruits difficult.
When the fruit is ripe, the inflorescence falls to the ground. The fruit contains a yellow flesh that is highly appreciated by rodents as food, which leave the seeds clean. The seed has a hard shell and only in its dry state is it possible to separate the shell from the kernel of the seed.
Murumuru butter is rich in lauric, myristic and oleic acid. The fruit contains a white butter that is odorless and tasteless and has the advantage of not becoming rancid easily, because it is rich in saturated short-chain fatty acids such as lauric and myristic acid. The quality of murumuru butter is similar to the seed fat of the tucumã palm and coconut palm, but it has the advantage of providing greater consistency because of its melting point (33 C), which is superior to that of the tucumã palm (30 ºC) and coconut palm (22.7 ºC). The quality of murumuru butter makes it possible to mix it with other vegetable butters that have a lower melting point. It can also be used to partially substitute cocoa butter in chocolate, providing a firmer consistency in environments where the temperature is higher. YES! Chocolate!
Local people use murumuru butter on skin and hair. Murumuru butter is a highly nourishing emollient and moisturizer for hair, and helps the skin recover to its natural moisture content and elasticity.
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