Persea americana

scientific name: 
Persea americana Mill.
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Tree 14-40 m high. Leaves alternate, simple, entire, elliptic to obovate, acute or acuminate at the tip, cuneate or rounded at the base, penninerved, 6-30 cm x 3.5-19 cm. upper surface glabrescent, lower surface glaucose; inflorescence axilary, compact or loose panicles; flowers perfect, greenish-yellowish, perianth segments 4-6 mm long; fruit a pear-shaped drupe, shiny, green or purplish, up to ca.15 cm long; seed fleshy, loose in the pericarp at maturity.






(and/or abortifacient) : leaf or fruit, decoction, orally1


  leaf, decoction, orally4


  leaf, decoction, orally2

bronchitis with expectoration:

  leaf, decoction, orally2

urinary infection:

  leaf, decoction, orally2


  leaf, decoction, orally3

The fruit of Persea americana is widely used for human consumption.

For amenorrhea, asthma, bronchitis, flatulence, urinary infection and cough:

Prepare a decoction with 20 grams (3 spoonfuls) of ground leaf in 1 liter (4 cups) of water, boil for at least 10 minutes in a covered pot.  Filter, allow to cool and drink 1/2-1 cup 3-4 times a day26.

Any medicinal preparation must be preserved cold and used within the 24 hours.

According to published and other information:

Use for amenorrhea is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, toxicity studies, scientific validation and available published scientific information.

Use for asthma, bronchitis, flatulence, urinary infection and cough is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys and toxicity studies.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should asthma, bronchitis or cough last more than 5 days, or should urinary infection persist for more than 3 days, seek medical attention.

Due to the risks of documented interactions with warfarin and monoamine-oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), ingestion of the fruit decoction should be avoided by persons taking these medicines5.

Not for use during lactation or by children under 3 years old.


Not for use during pregnancy because it may have abortifacient effect.

TRAMIL Research22

The aqueous extract from the fruit and leaf, administered orally to mice (12.5 g/kg), did not cause any signs of toxicity during 10 days of observation.  The LD50 of the extract by intraperitoneal administration was 8.8 ± 3.7 g/kg.

The aqueous extract from the fresh leaf (500 mg/mL) administered orally to mice (18.7, 12.5 and 6.25 mL/kg of mouse weight per day) during 30 days did not cause any evident signs of toxicity during 40 days of observation22.

TRAMIL Research23

The aqueous extract (decoction) from the fresh leaf, lyophilized, administered orally to 20 mice (10 males and 10 females) of NGP strain (5 g/kg/day) for 5 days caused neither mortality nor evident signs of toxicity, during a seven-day observation period following treatment.

Trabajo TRAMIL27 (will be translated in 3rd Ed.)

La hoja fresca machacada, se aplicó tópicamente en parche sobre la piel (0,6 g de material vegetal, en un área de aproximadamente 6 cm2), en conejo macho Nueva Zelanda. A las 4 horas se retiró el parche y se hicieron observaciones para las lecturas de eritema y edema a las 24, 48 y 72 horas, no evidenciándose ningún signo clínico, por lo que se encuentra en la categoría no irritante.

The aqueous extract from the fresh leaf administered orally and intraperitoneally to mice (1-10 g/kg) caused neither mortality nor evident signs of toxicity during 24 hours of observation20.

The fresh leaf administered to a lactating goat at a dose over 20g/kg caused damage in mammary glands and reduction in milk production24.

The fresh leaf included as part of the feed of 21 sheep caused respiratory and heart conditions; autopsy evidenced cardiomyopathy injuries25.

Ingestion of the fruit by patients under warfarin-based anti-coagulant therapy has been reported as provoking a diminishment of the effects of this drug.  Additionally, a hypertensive crisis has been reported when associating the ingestion of the fruit with the ingestion of monoamine-oxidase inhibiting (MAOI) medicines5.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or in pregnant or lactating women.

The leaf has been extensively studied and contains, among other components, essential oil: estragole (80%)6, camphene, carvone, eugenol methyl ether, limonene, b-myrcene, b-cimene, a-and b-pinene, among others7; flavonoids: afzelin, guaijaverin, hyperoside, juglanina, quercetin, quericitrin, iso-quercitrin8, apigenin, astragalin9, proanthocyanidin derivatives10; coumarins: scopoletin9; alkanes11.

The fruit pulp contains sesquiterpenes: dihydrophaseic acid and derivatives12; carbohydrates: glucose, fructose, perseitol and mannoheptulose13.

The seed contains fixed oil, whose main constituents are: vitamin A, D-3, a-tocopherol, cholesterol14.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of fruit15: calories: 167; water: 74%; proteins: 2.1%; fat: 16.4%; carbohydrates: 6.3%; fiber: 1.6%; ash: 1.2%; calcium: 10 mg; phosphorus: 42 mg; iron: 0.6 mg; sodium: 4 mg; potassium: 604 mg; carotene: 174 µg; thiamine: 0.11 mg; riboflavin: 0.20 mg; niacin: 1.60 mg; ascorbic acid: 14 mg.


TRAMIL Research16

The decoction of the dried leaf in vitro (2 mg/mL) did not inhibit the microorganisms causing urinary infection: Escherichia coli 25922, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC27853,Salmonella typhi ATCC14028 and Staphylococcus aureus ATCC6558, Candida albicans 10231 or Cryptococcus neoformans C13.

TRAMIL Research17

The aqueous extract (decoction for 10 minutes, chemically neutralized to pH7) from the entire fruit and leaf, in vitro (16.7 mg/mL), in a mouse uterus on estrus test with non-cumulative doses, caused a significant uterotonic response (p<0.01).

TRAMIL Research18

The aqueous extract (decoction) from the fresh leaf, lyophilized, in vitro (14.3 mg/mL), on isolated tracheal rings of guinea pig contracted with potassium chloride (80 mmol) did not have any relaxant effects.

TRAMIL Research19

The aqueous extract (decoction) from the fresh leaf, lyophilized, at a concentration of 66.7 mg/mL, administered orally (1 g/kg) to 20 mice, Hsd:ICR(CD-1) strain (10 males and 10 females), did not change the speed of intestinal motility compared to the vehicle control with distilled and de-ionized water (0.5 mL).

TRAMIL Research28(will be translated in 3rd Ed.)

La decocción 30% de hoja fresca, vía oral (dosis 1, 5 y 10 g de material vegetal/kg), modelos de contorciones inducidas por ácido acético (0.75%, 0.1 mL/10 g) intraperitoneal y retirada de la cola provocada por inmersión en agua caliente (55oC), ratones OF-1 machos (20-25 g), 10 animales/grupo. La decocción (1, 5 y 10 g/kg) mostró actividad analgésica significativa en el modelo de contorciones y solamente en dosis de 5 g/kg en el modelo de retirada de la cola.

The aqueous extract (decoction of the leaf for 1 hour, 470 g/2 L of distilled water, filtered and evaporated at 40°C, with a yield of 7% weight /weight) from the fresh leaf reconstituted in distilled water (400 mg/mL) and orally administered to mice (200–1600 mg/kg) had analgesic effects.  In the inflammation test of carrageenan-induced pedal edema (1% p/v, 0.l mL) in rat, a dose-dependent anti-inflammatory response was obtained20.

The fruit pulp oil and its aqueous extract (2 mg/mL) are claimed to be phagocytosis stimulants21.




1 GERMOSEN-ROBINEAU L, GERONIMO M, AMPARO C, 1984 Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

2 GIRON L, 1988 Encuesta TRAMIL (Costa atlántica). Centro Mesoamericano de Tecnología CEMAT, Guatemala, Guatemala.

3 LONGUEFOSSE JL, NOSSIN E, 1990-95 Enquête TRAMIL. Association pour la valorisation des plantes médicinales de la Caraïbe AVPMC, Fort de France, Martinique.

4 MENDEZ M, MEDINA ML, DURAN R, 1996 Encuesta TRAMIL. Unidad de recursos naturales, Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán CICY, Mérida, México.

5 CANIGUERAL S, VILA R, RISCO E, PEREZ F, PORTILLO A, FREIXA B, MILO B, VANACLOCHA B, RIOS JL, MORALES MA, ALONSO JR, BACHILLER LI, PERIS JB, STUBING G, 2002 Persea americana. Vademecum de Fitoterapia, Editorial Masson, Barcelona, España, Feb. 26, 2003. URL:

6 BERGH BO, SCORA RW, STOREY WB, 1973 Comparison of leaf terpenes in Persea subgenus persea. Bot Gaz (Chicago) 134:130-134.

7 KING JR, KNIGHT RJ, 1992 Volatile components of the leaves of various avocado cultivars. J Agric Food Chem 40(7):1182-1185.

8 DE ALMEIDA AP, MIRANDA MMFS, SIMONI IC, WIGG MD, LAGROTA MHC, COSTA SS, 1998 Flavonol monoglycosides isolated from the antiviral fractions of Persea americana (Lauraceae) leaf infusion. Phytother Res 12(8):562-567.

9 MERIÇLI F, MERIÇLI AH, YILMAZ F, YÜNCÜLER G, YÜNCÜLER O, 1992 Flavonoids of avocado (Persea americana) leaves. Acta Pharm Turc 34(2):61-63.

10 BATE-SMITH EC, 1975 Phytochemistry of proanthocyanidins. Phytochemistry 14(4):1107-1113.

11 MURAKOSHI S, ISOGAI A, CHANG CF, KAMIKADO T, SAKURAI A, TAMURA S, 1976 The effects of two components from avocado leaves (Persea americana) and related compounds on the growth of silkworm larvae, Bombyx mori. Nippon Oyo Dobutsu Konchu Gakkaishi 20:87-91.

12 HIRAI N, KOSHIMIZU K, 1983 A new conjugate of dihydrophaseic acid from avocado fruit. Agr Biol Chem 47(2):365-371.

13 WILSON C, WILSON III CW, SAW PE, NAGY S, 1979 Analysis of monosaccharides in avocado by HPLC. Liq Chromat Anal Food Beverages 1:225-236.

14 SARDI JC, TORRES OA, 1978 Study on avocado (Persea americana) oil. Arch Bioquim Quim Farm 20:45-49.

15 DUKE JA, ATCHLEY AA, 1986 Handbook of proximate analysis tables of higher plants. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press. p324.

16 CACERES A, GONZALEZ S, GIRON L, 1998 Demostración de la actividad antimicrobiana de plantas TRAMIL en base a los usos populares en la cuenca del Caribe. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de productos fitofarmacéuticos Farmaya y Facultad de ciencias químicas y farmacia, Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala, Guatemala.

17 HERRERA J, 1986 Determinación de actividades biológicas de vegetales utilizados en medicina tradicional. Informe TRAMIL. Dep. de Farmacología, Facultad de Salud, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia.

18 GarcIa GM, Coto MT, GonzAlez CS, Pazos L, 1999 Actividad bronquial del extracto acuoso de hoja fresca de Persea americana. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos LEBI, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

19 PAZOS L, COTO T, GONZALEZ S, QUIROS S, 2003 Tránsito intestinal, en ratones, del extracto acuoso de hojas frescas de Persea americana. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

20 ADEYEMI OO, OKPO SO, OGUNTI OO, 2002 Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of the aqueous extract of leaves of Persea americana Mill Lauraceae. Fitoterapia 73(5):375-380.

21 MIWA M, KONG ZL, SHINOHARA K, WATANABE M, 1990 Macrophage stimulating activity of foods. Agric Biol Chem 54(7):1863-1866.

22 HERRERA J, 1988 Determinación de actividades biológicas de vegetales utilizados en medicina tradicional. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de fitofarmacología, Dep. de Farmacología, Facultad de Salud, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia.

23 GarcIa GM, Coto MT, GonzAlez CS, Pazos L, 2000 Toxicidad aguda en ratones, del extracto acuoso de hojas frescas de Persea americana. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos LEBI, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

24 CRAIGMILL AL, SEAWRIGHT AA, MATTILA T, FROST AJ, 1989 Pathological changes in the mammary gland and biochemical changes in milk of the goat following oral dosing with leaf of the avocado (Persea americana). Aust Vet J 66(7):206-211.

25 GRANT R, BASSON PA, BOOKER HH, HOFHERR JB, ANTHONISSEN M, 1991 Cardiomyopathy caused by avocado (Persea americana Mill.) leaves. J S Afr Vet Assoc 62(1):21-22.

26 ALONSO J, 1998 Tratado de fitomedicina. Bases clínicas y farmacológicas. Buenos Aires, Argentina: ISIS ediciones SRL. p185.

27 LOPEZ M, MARTINEZ MJ, MOREJON Z, BOUCOURT E, FUENTES V, MORON F. 2005 Irritabilidad dérmica primaria de hoja fresca machacada de Persea americana Mill. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina “Dr. Salvador Allende”, Cerro, C. Habana, Cuba.

28 MORON FJ, GARCIA AI, VICTORIA MC, MOREJON Z, LOPEZ M, BACALLAO Y, FUENTES V, 2008 Acción analgésica de la decocción de hojas frescas de Persea americana Mill. (aguacate) en ratones. Trabajo TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología. Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana.


The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.