Scientists Find New Health Benefits in Avocado Waste

New research finds that the husk surrounding an avocado pit might halt the growth of tumors, treat heart disease, and be used as a plant-based additive in cosmetics.

During this week’s American Chemical Society conference, researchers from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley presented new findings surrounding the health benefits and industrial applications of avocados—particularly the wasted husk that surrounds the fruit’s pit. “It could very well be that avocado-seed husks, which most people consider as the waste of wastes, are actually the gem of gems because the medicinal compounds within them could eventually be used to treat cancer, heart disease, and other conditions," researcher Debasish Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D, said. "Our results also suggest that the seed husks are a potential source of chemicals used in plastics and other industrial products.” Researchers studied the powder created from 300 ground husks using the non-animal method of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis and found 116 chemical compounds, including docosanol (an antiviral compound), heptacosane (which might inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors), and dodecanoic acid (which can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.) Additionally, scientists discovered that additionally processing the powder yielded a wax that contained benzyl butyl phthalate (that can be used to add plasticity to industrial materials such as shower curtains) and phthalate (a compound that could be used to make cosmetics).

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