Ackee

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What other names is Ackee known by?

Ackée, Akee, Akée, Aki, Akí, Anjye, Arbre Fricasse, Arbre à Fricassée, Blighia sapida, Cupania sapida, Daki, Ishin, Jakí, Kaha, Ris de Veau, Seso Vegetal.

What is Ackee?

Ackee is a plant that produces fruit. It is found in West Africa, the Caribbean, southern Florida, and Central America. Ripe ackee fruit is eaten as food and is considered a dietary staple in Jamaica. However, unripe ackee fruit is very poisonous. Unripe ackee is a frequent cause of poisoning in Africa and the Caribbean. Poisonings may occur as epidemics when the unripe fruit is eaten during times of food shortage. Children seem to be especially sensitive to the toxic effects of unripe ackee. Most ackee products have been banned from import into the US for the past 30 years because of concerns about poisoning from unripe fruit. The US has just recently begun to allow the import of canned ripe ackee on a limited basis.

Some people use ackee fruit to make medicine. It is used as a treatment for colds, fever, water retention (edema), and epilepsy.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Colds.
  • Fever.
  • Water retention (edema).
  • Epilepsy.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of ackee for these uses.

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).

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How does Ackee work?

There isn't enough information to know how ackee might work for medicinal purposes.

Are there safety concerns?

The ripe fruit of ackee is LIKELY SAFE when eaten as a food.

The unripe fruit of ackee is UNSAFE to eat, even if it has been cooked. Additionally, the water used to cook the unripe fruit can be poisonous. The unripe fruit contains poisonous chemicals that can harm the liver. The unripe fruit can also cause severely low blood sugar levels, convulsions, and death.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: It is UNSAFE to give unripe ackee fruit to children. Children are more sensitive to the toxic effects of ackee than adults. There isn't enough information to know whether the ripe fruit is safe for children to eat.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to eat unripe ackee fruit if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. There isn't enough information to know whether the ripe fruit is safe during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Dosing considerations for Ackee.

The appropriate dose of ackee 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 ackee. 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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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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