In the first study of its kind, scientists have discovered that the seed husks – which are usually discarded along with the seed – are rich in medicinal compounds that could prevent the growth of malignant tumours and the build-up of fat inside our arteries.
These could be used to improve treatments for cancer, heart disease and a host of debilitating diseases.
Experts say the least appreciated part of the trendy fruit could soon undergo a ‘trash-to-treasure’ transformation and as well as being used in medicine could enhance cosmetics, perfumes and other consumer goods.
The seed husks of avocados have been found to contain compounds which could treat cancer and heart disease
The husk is the dry exterior of the seed found inside the fruit which has been found to have medicinal properties
Among the constituents in the oil was heptacosane, which might inhibit the growth of tumour cells, according to the team.
It also contains dodecanoic acid, which increases high density lipoprotein (known as HDL) and, as a result, could reduce the risk of atherosclerosis – the build-up of fatty material inside your arteries that can eventually cause life-threatening problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
Additionally, the team found behenyl alcohol – also known as docosanol – an important ingredient used in antiviral medications and treatments to cold sores/fever blisters.
In the wax, the researchers detected a range of compounds including butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), an antioxidant food additive and preservative in cosmetics.
Now Dr Bandyopadhyay says he and his colleagues will modify several of the natural compounds so that they can be used to create better medications with fewer side effects.
The findings were presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, DC.