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Health benefits of Pitangas



Eugenia uniflora (Pitangas), most commonly known as Pitanga cherry shrub, is largely distributed in tropical and subtropical America. But in spite Pitangas is distributed in America, it is not only present there, Pitangas is also cultivated in many other countries, where it is used in the production of juice, frozen pulp, and tea. Pitangas has been traditionally used in some of these countries as a remedy in the treatment of inflammatory diseases [1].

Pitangas has been traditionally used in some of these countries as a remedy in the treatment of inflammatory diseases [1]. Image left: Athome@Gaspar by Vitor Pamplona under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0).


Family: Myrtaceae

Genus: Eugenia

Common name: Brazil cherry, Brazilian cherry, Pitanga, Pitangas, Cayenne cherry, Surinam cherry [3]



Pitangas is popular in many countries. In Brazil Pitangas is consider a fruity tree with many popular medicine uses, as for example to treat:

  • inflammations,
  • rheumatic pain
  • fever,
  • as hypoglycemic,
  • diuretic
  • and also widely used in the cosmetics industry [6] as well as many others, but let's see some of these other uses.



Among the active constituents found in Pitangas essential oil we can mention two:

  1. Atractylone (26.78%)
  2. Curzerene (17.96%)

Pitangas essential oil was found to be active towards two gram-positive bacteria:

  • Streptococcus equi and 
  • Staphylococcus epidermis, pathogenic yeasts of the genus Candida and Cryptococcus [2].  

Additionally, a Pitangas lectin strongly inhibited the growth of:

  • Staphylococcus aureus,
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa and 
  • Klebsiella.

The strong anti-bacterial activity of the studied Pitangas lectin indicates a high potential for clinical microbiology and therapeutic applications [9].



PITANGASAs one of the properties exerted by Pitangas we can mention its potential antidiarrhoeic property. The brute aqueous extract of the leaves of Psidium Investigations on Pitangas showed that a flavonoid-rich fraction of Pitangas leaves contained Myricetin and quercetin rhamnosides, being those ones the major components of this fraction.

The results of a study showed that the extract of Pitangas leaves protected mice from sepsis and indicated that this edible plant produces compounds that could be considered as potential adjuvants for sepsis treatment [1]. Image right: Pitanga by Paulo Godoy under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0).



In another study performed on Pitangas, the infusion of fresh Pitangas leaves showed a highly significant anti-inflammatory effect when administered to rats [15].



If we were already surprised by the many health benefits of Pitangas, the Pitangas juice will surprise you even more. Pitangas juice has been used in folk medicine as a:

  • diuretic,
  • anti-rheumatic, 
  • antipyretic,
  • antidiarrheic and 
  • antidiabetic [16]. 

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not intended to prescribe or give in any way or form medical advice, recommend or diagnose. Please read the disclaimer at the button of this page for more info.



[1] Analysis of Flavonoids from Eugenia uniflora Leaves (Pitangas) and Its Protective Effect against Murine Sepsis. Rattmann YD, de Souza LM, Malquevicz-Paiva SM, Dartora N, Sassaki GL, Gorin PA, Iacomini M. Departamento de Bioquímica e Biologia Molecular, Universidade Federal do Paraná, CP 19046, 81531-980 Curitiba, PR, Brazil ; Departamento de Saúde Comunitária, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Rua Padre Camargo, 280, Alto da Glória, 80060-240 Curitiba, PR, Brazil.
[2] Chemical and biological evaluation of essential oils from two species of Myrtaceae - Eugenia uniflora (Pitangas) and Plinia trunciflora (O. Berg) Kausel. Lago JH, Souza ED, Mariane B, Pascon R, Vallim MA, Martins RC, Baroli AA, Carvalho BA, Soares MG, dos Santos RT, Sartorelli P. Instituto de Ciências Ambientais, Químicas e Farmacêuticas, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Campus Diadema 09972-270, SP, Brasil.
[3] Pitangas plant names: http://www.plantnames.unimelb.edu.au/Sorting/Eugenia.html#uniflora
[4] Activity of in vitro forms of dentifrices containing the hydroalcoholic extract of the ripe fruit of Eugenia uniflora L. (Surinam cherry / pitangas) on cariogenic bacteria. Jovito VC, Freires IA, Almeida LF, Moura D, Castro RD, Paulo MQ, Leite-Cavalcanti A. Department of Clinics and Social Dentistry, Federal University of Paraíba, João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil.
[5] Potentiation of antibiotic activity by Eugenia uniflora (Pitangas) and Eugenia jambolanum. Coutinho HD, Costa JG, Falcão-Silva VS, Siqueira-Júnior JP, Lima EO. Laboratory of Research in Natural Products, Center of Biological Sciences and Health, University of the Region of Cariri, Crato, Brazil.
[6] Antinociceptive and hypothermic evaluation of the leaf essential oil and isolated terpenoids from Eugenia uniflora L. (Brazilian Pitanga, pitangas). Amorim AC, Lima CK, Hovell AM, Miranda AL, Rezende CM. Instituto de Química, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Tecnologia, Bloco A, Sala 626-A, Cidade Universitária, Ilha do Fundão, 21945-970 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
[7] Photosynthesis and oxidative stress in the restinga plant species Eugenia uniflora L. (pitangas) exposed to simulated acid rain and iron ore dust deposition: potential use in environmental risk assessment. Neves NR, Oliva MA, da Cruz Centeno D, Costa AC, Ribas RF, Pereira EG. Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Av. PH Rolfs, Campus, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, 36570-000, Brazil.
[8] Comparison of the interfacial properties of Eugenia uniflora (pitangas) and Triticum vulgaris lectins. Andrade CA, Oliveira MD, Santos-Magalhães NS, Correia MT, de Melo CP. Centro Acadêmico de Vitória, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, 55608-680 Vitória de Santo Antão, PE, Brazil.
[9] Purification of a lectin from Eugenia uniflora L. (pitangas) seeds and its potential antibacterial activity. Oliveira MD, Andrade CA, Santos-Magalhães NS, Coelho LC, Teixeira JA, Carneiro-da-Cunha MG, Correia MT. Departamento de Bioquímica - Laboratório de Glicoproteínas, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, PE, Brazil.
[10] Pharmacological effects of Eugenia uniflora (Myrtaceae) aqueous crude extract on rat's heart. Consolini AE, Sarubbio MG. Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Cátedra de Farmacodinamia, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 47 y 115 (1900), La Plata, Argentina.
[11] Efficient, highly enantioselective synthesis of selina-1,3, 7(11)-trien-8-one, a major  component of the essential oil of Eugenia uniflora (pitangas). Kanazawa A, Patin A, Greene AE. Université Joseph Fourier de Grenoble Chimie Recherche (LEDSS), 38041 Grenoble Cedex, France. 
[12] Improving effects of the extracts from Eugenia uniflora (pitangas) on hyperglycemia and hypertriglyceridemia inmice. Arai I, Amagaya S, Komatsu Y, Okada M, Hayashi T, Kasai M, Arisawa M, Momose Y. Central Research Laboratories, Tsumura & Company, Ibaraki, Japan.
[13] Pharmacological basis for the empirical use of Eugenia uniflora L. (Myrtaceae) (Pitangas) as antihypertensive. Consolini AE, Baldini OA, Amat AG. Cátedra de Farmacodinamia, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina.
[14] Analysis of antidiarrhoeic effect of plants used in popular medicine. Almeida CE, Karnikowski MG, Foleto R, Baldisserotto B. Departamento de Fisiologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brasil. [15] Evaluation of some pharmacological activities of Eugenia uniflora L. Schapoval EE, Silveira SM, Miranda ML, Alice CB, Henriques AT. Graduate Course in Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, UFRGS, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
[16] Identification of MicroRNAs from Eugenia uniflora by High-Throughput Sequencing and Bioinformatics Analysis Frank Guzman,1,2 Mauricio P. Almerão,2 Ana P. Körbes,1 Guilherme Loss-Morais,2 and Rogerio Margis1,2,3.