Cupuaçu fruit has long been a primary food source in the Amazonian rainforest for both indigenous tribes and animals alike but for dermatologists and cosmetic scientists it offers a highly effective ingredient for natural skin care and hair care.
The Cupuaçu tree is native to the Amazon, most notably to the northern region of Brazil. It is a small to medium sized tree – at least by rainforest standards.
A fully grown tree can reach up to 20 metres in height putting it at the lower levels of the rainforest canopy.
It belongs to the same family as Theobroma cacao – the source of Cocoa Butter.Unlike Cocoa the Cupuaçu does not contain caffeine – giving it definite advantages in certain applications.
The Cupuaçu fruit – which is variously known as Cupuasu, Copoasu or Cupuacu – is about the size of a Cantaloupe Melon and is by far the most popular fruit in Brazil. It is highly prized for its creamy, exotic tasting pulp and the beans are also crushed and used to make a special kind of chocolate called ‘cupulate’.
Cupuacu fruit ripens in the rainy months from January to April and is considered a culinary delicacy in South American cities where demand outstrips supply.
Like Theobroma cacao, the fruit has a large central seed pod filled with “beans”, which the Tikuna tribe use as a natural and effective remedy for abdominal pains.
It’s not just the human population that love the Cupuacu fruit – birds and monkeys feed on the pulp and have dispersed the seeds throughout the rainforest regions as a result.
Indigenous tribes and local communities along the Amazon have cultivated Cupuaçu as a primary food source for generations. Many hundreds of years ago Cupuaçu seeds were traded along the Rio Negro and Upper Orinoco rivers and the juice was used by native tribes to aid difficult births.
One of the strongest moisturizers for skincare, Cupuaçu Butter is cold-pressed, refined, and filtered from the seeds of the tree once the butter is produced in this way it has a shelf life of around two years. Cupuacu is a creamy and intensely emollient butter which melts easily into the skin and promotes a silky after feel.
In hair care products it restores the cutaneous barrier and promotes deep long lasting hydration making it a superb ingredient for use in natural hair care products intended to add lustre and shine and replenish moisture.
Cupuaçu Butter contains phytosterols – unsaponifiable components that act at the cellular level regulating the balance and activity of the lipids of the stratum corneum. The sterols give the butter a high capacity for water absorption and it can help stabilize emulsions.
For the same reasons Cupuacu butter is also a great natural alternative to lanolin with a much higher level of water absorption.Recent in vivo studies have been have demonstrated its excellent anti-inflammatory activity.This anti-inflammatory action – together with the high level of essential fatty acids and phytosterols – make it an exceptional natural treatment for dermatitis and eczema.
Cupuacu butter has been shown to offer broad spectrum UV protection and it is a wonderful ingredient in any formulation requiring protection against sun damage.
As a formidable and highly effective natural ingredient Cupuaçu butter offers a wealth of applications to the formulator of natural skin, hair or beauty products.Superb in natural body butters, moisturizing hair care ranges, softening face masks and in colour cosmetics – especially lipsticks – Cupuacu has so many advantages over cocoa butter.
Perhaps, above all the many advantages Cupuacu offers cosmetic scientists – its lack of familiarity to the consumer and an exotic story line – provide a marketing advantage which other more familiar ingredients have lost.