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Botanical Name: Persea americana
Species: P. americana
Other Names:Palta,Aguacate, Alligator pear
Habitat: Native to the Caribbean, Mexico, South America and Central America,
The tree grows to 20 metres (65 ft), with alternately arranged, evergreen leaves, 25 centimetres long. The flowers are inconspicuous, greenish-yellow, 10 millimetres wide. The pear-shaped fruit is botanically a berry, from 7 to 20 centimetres long, weighs between 100 and 1000 grams, and has a large central seed, 3 to 5 centimetres in diameter.
An average avocado tree produces about 120 avocados annually. Commercial orchards produce an average of 7 tonnes per hectare each year, with some orchards achieving 20 tonnes per hectare. Biennial bearing can be a problem, with heavy crops in one year being followed by poor yields the next. The fruit is sometimes called an avocado pear or alligator pear, due to its shape and rough green skin. The avocado tree does not tolerate freezing temperatures, and can be grown only in subtropical or tropical climates.
The name “avocado” also refers to the fruit (technically a large berry) of the tree that contains a pit (hard seed casing) which may be egg-shaped or spherical.
Avocados are a commercially valuable crop whose trees and fruit are cultivated in tropical climates throughout the world (and some temperate ones, such as California), producing a green-skinned, pear-shaped fruit that ripens after harvesting. Trees are partially self-pollinating and often are propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit.
The word “avocado” comes from the Spanish word aguacate, which derives in turn from the Nahuatl (Aztec) word ahuacatl, meaning “testicle”, because of its shape. In some countries of South America such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay, the avocado is known by its Quechua name, palta. In other Spanish-speaking countries it is called aguacate, and in Portuguese it is abacate. The name “avocado pear” is sometimes used in English, as are “alligator pear” and “butter pear”. The Nahuatl ahuacatl can be compounded with other words, as in ahuacamolli, meaning “avocado soup or sauce”, from which the Mexican Spanish word guacamole derives.
The subtropical species needs a climate without frost and little wind. When mild frost does occur, the fruit drops from the tree, reducing the yield, although the cultivar Hass can tolerate temperatures down to -1Â°C. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, avocado trees cannot sustain the frost. Avocado farmers in California lost hundreds of millions of dollars in 2006 due to a temperature drop. The trees also need well aerated soils, ideally more than 1 m deep. Yield is reduced when the irrigation water is highly saline. These soil and climate conditions are met only in a few areas of the world, particularly in southern Spain, the Levant, South Africa, Peru, parts of central and northern Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico and Central America, the center of origin and diversity of this species. Each region has different types of cultivars. Mexico is the largest producer of the Hass variety, with over 1 million tonnes produced annually.
Propagation and rootstocks
While an avocado propagated by seed can bear fruit, it takes 4â€“6 years to do so, and the offspring is unlikely to resemble the parent cultivar in fruit quality. Thus, commercial orchards are planted using grafted trees and rootstocks. Rootstocks are propagated by seed (seedling rootstocks) and also layering (clonal rootstocks). After about a year of growing the young plants in a greenhouse, they are ready to be grafted. Terminal and lateral grafting is normally used. The scion cultivar will then grow for another 6â€“12 months before the tree is ready to be sold. Clonal rootstocks have been selected for specific soil and disease conditions, such as poor soil aeration or resistance to the soil-borne disease caused by phytophthora, root rot.
A whole medium avocado contains approximately 15% of the United States FDA’s recommended daily amount of fat, though they are high in monounsaturated fat. Avocados also have 60% more potassium than bananas. They are rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin E and vitamin K.
A fatty triol (fatty alcohol) with one double bond, avocadene (16-heptadecene-1,2,4-triol) is found in avocado and has been tested for anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties are likely related with the curative effects of avocado described for a number of ailments (diarrhea, dysentery, abdominal pains and high blood pressure).
The vegetable of horticultural cultivars ranges from more or less round to egg- or pear-shaped, typically the size of a temperate-zone pear or larger, on the outside bright green to green-brown (or almost black) in color. The vegetable has a markedly higher fat content than most other vegetables, mostly monounsaturated fat. A ripe avocado will yield to a gentle pressure when held in the palm of the hand and squeezed. The flesh is typically greenish yellow to golden yellow when ripe. The flesh oxidizes and turns brown quickly after exposure to air. To prevent this, lime or lemon juice can be added to avocados after they are peeled.
The avocado is very popular in vegetarian cuisine, making an excellent substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content. The fruit is not sweet, but fatty, strongly flavored, and of smooth, almost creamy texture. It is used as the base for the Mexican dip known as guacamole, as well as a filling for several kinds of sushi, including California rolls. Avocado is popular in chicken dishes and as a spread on toast, served with salt and pepper. In Brazil and Vietnam, avocados are considered sweet vegetables, so are frequently used for milk-shakes and occasionally added to ice cream and other desserts. In Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, a dessert drink is made with sugar, milk, and pureed avocado.
In Central America, avocados are served mixed with white rice. In Chile its consumption is widespread and used as a puree in chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, and in slices for celery or lettuce salads. The Chilean version of caesar salad contains large slices of mature avocado.
Avocado flesh has also been used by some Native American tribes in the southwestern United States in the mixing and application of adobe.
Avocado is also thought to promote physical beauty and is used in cosmetics to this day. The Aztecs ate the vegetable as an aphrodisiac.
Avocado plants and trees are used for making 1.Skin Care Products 2. Hair Care 3.Perfume and Cologne 4. Vitamins & Nutrition
Avocado is considered the most nutritious fruit in the world. Avocado provides more than 25 essential nutrients such as protein, potassium, vitamin E, C, B-vitamins, folic acid, iron, copper, phosphorus and magnesium. Avocado also provides calories for energy and beneficial phytochemicals such as beta-sitosterol, glutathione and lutein (necessary to protect us from the damage of ultraviolet radiation from many sources -computers and environment).
Some believe that the fat content of avocado is damaging but the fat in avocado is mostly monounsaturated. What should be avoided or reduced is saturated fat that is present in most dairy and animal products. In fact, avocado helps in the absorption of nutrients that are fat-soluble such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, when food containing these nutrients are eaten with avocado. Avocado is also high in fiber that is good for the digestive system and the heart.
Overall, avocado is considered a complete food. With vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, calories and fiber with no cholesterol and is sodium free. Avocado is ideal for growing up children, adults and even for babies, especially when blended with other fruits. For athletes, avocado is a nutritious energy booster to rev up the body’s strength.
Avocado (in slices) can be eaten as is or with a dash of salt. It can be mixed with other fruits, as salad, a shake, baked in breads and even made into a dip. In the Philippines, ripe avocado is often eaten as a snack by scooping from flesh from the skin then mixed with a some sugar and milk or cream.
A documentation of avocado’s cholesterol lowering effect was studied in in Brisbane, Australia. The researchers reported that eating avocados daily for three weeks improved blood cholesterol in middle-aged women better than a low-fat diet did. The avocado diet reduced total cholesterol by 8 percent compared with 5 percent for the low-fat diet. Another important observation was that it improved the good cholesterol (HDL or high density lipoprotein) by 15 percent. The daily amount of avocado ranged from 1/2 avocado for small women to 1 1/2 for large women. With this study we expect that the myth that avocados can worsen cholesterol can be dispelled. So by eating avocados, heart patients could cut their risk of heart attack 10-20 percent and death rates 4-8 percent in 3-5 years. Don’t hold your cravings for avocados, indulge, it is good for our heart!
Why avocado fat lowers cholesterol?
Avocado fat content is the reason to lower cholesterol since it is monounsaturated fat. Another reason is that avocado packs more of the cholesterol-smashing beta-sitosterol (a beneficial plant-based fat) than any other fruit. Beta-sitosterol reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. So the combination of beta-sitosterol and monounsaturated fat makes the avocado an excellent cholesterol buster.
Beta-Sitosterol has an apparent ability to block the bad LDL cholesterol absorption from the intestine, resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels. The Australian study not only reported that eating either half or a whole avocado fruit per day for a month succeeded in lowering cholesterol levels, but at the same time most people in the study lost weight.
Sid Information on beta-sitosterol
It is a phytosterol or plant alcohol that is literally in every vegetable we eat. We already eat this every day but we just donâ€™t get enough of it. The typical American is estimated to eat only 200-400 mg a day while vegetarians probably eat about twice this much. This is surely one of the many reasons vegetarians are healthier and live longer.
Actually the term â€œbeta-sitosterolâ€ in commerce refers to the natural combination of beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol and brassicasterol as this is how they are made by nature in plants. There are no magic foods with high levels of phytosterols, but they can be inexpensively extracted from sugar cane pulp, soybeans and pine oil.
The Aztec’s would use Aguacate(Avocado) as an
Aphrodisiac, against Dandruff, Scabs, Menstrual Cramps and Hemorrhage, Cough, Dysentery, Gout, Peritonitis (An inflammation of the peritoneum, the membrane that lines the wall of the abdomen and covers the organs.), Intestinal Worms and for Lice and Nits.
How the Aztecs would use the Avocado as an Aphrodisiac:
The Pulp of the Avocado is a magnificent aphrodisiac as it enhances the tone of the sexual organs which in turn enhances sexual appetite.
For Dandruff and Scabs:
Grind the Avocado seed and mix with Castor Oil, then with the paste rub well on the skin likewise for the head but cover with plastic( Do Not Cover Nose or Mouth) or flannel and leave on overnight and wash off the following morning.
For Menstrual cramps, Hemorrhage and Cough:
Drink one cup of 2 Avocado leaves boiled in 1/4 liter of water.
Grind Avocado seed into powder then roast the powder then take 1 gram of powder on an empty stomach.
For Rheumatic Pains and Gout: Rub the affected part with a dry towel to activate circulation then rub a little Avocado seed extract and cover with a flannel cloth. The Extract is made by slicing 4 Avocado seeds into small pieces and let macerate in alcohol for several days.
Boil for 5 minutes in 2 liters of water, 1 Avocado seed cut into tiny pieces, 2 branches of Chamomile and 1 Prickly Pear Cheese; strain, and use as enema as hot as can be tolerated.
To get Rid of Intestinal Worms and Parasites:
Drink a 1 cup infusion made of the skin or rind of the Avocado that has been left to soak in hot water for several minutes
To get rid of Lice and Nits:
Boil 5 Avocado seeds in 1/4 liter of water that have been minced with 2 Rue branches, wash hair with the liquid rubbing well then cover head with towel and the lice will be removed.
Toxicity to animals
There is documented evidence that animals such as cats, dogs, cattle, goats, rabbits, birds, fish and particularly, horses can be severely harmed or even killed when they consume the avocado leaves, bark, skin, or pit. The avocado vegetable is poisonous to birds in some cases, so on a practical level feeding the vegetable to birds should be avoided. Avocado leaves contain a toxic fatty acid derivative known as persin, which in sufficient quantity can cause equine colic and with lack of veterinary treatment–death. The symptoms include gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the tissues of the heart and even death. Birds also seem to be particularly sensitive to this toxic compound.
Negative effects in humans seem to be primarily in allergic individuals.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider
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