|Annatto uses and benefits Quick Facts|
|Name:||Annatto uses and benefits|
|Scientific Name:||Bixa orellana|
|Origin||Indigeneous to Brazil, South and Central America. It is also widely cultivated in Tropical countries such as Mexico, Peru, Indonesia, Ecuador, Kenya, India and East Africa.|
|Shapes||Ovate to broad, Length: 2.5-5 cm|
|Health benefits||Healthy eyes, Antioxidants, Digestive health, Bone health, Prevent chances of birth defects|
The color of Annatto is due to the presence of norbixin and bixin which is found in reddish waxy coating of the seeds. The seeds are grinded in the form of powder or paste to prepare the condiment. It is used as a dye and food color and also used as a flavor enhancer. It also possesses antidiarrheal, antipyretic, antidiabetic and insect repellent properties. The extracts of Annatto is used as a coloring agent in food products such as butter, margarine, dairy spreads, cheeses, cakes, custards, snack foods, potatoes, snack foods, sausages and smoked fish.
Indigeneous to Brazil, South and Central America. It is also widely cultivated in Tropical countries such as Mexico, Peru, Indonesia, Ecuador, Kenya, India and East Africa.
The tree of annatto was originated from Brazil. It was used for ritual as well as decorative body painting, insect repellent, sunscreen and medical purposes. In 16th century, it is used for Mexican manuscript painting.
Traditionally, Annatto is used as a flavoring and coloring agent in Caribbean, Latin America and other countries in 16th centuries which are taken by Portuguese and Spanish explorers. Locally it is known as bija, achiote, rocou, kusuwe, koesoewe, atusuete, onoto and colorau.
Health Benefits of Annatto
Achiote tree is grown in Central and South America which is scientifically named as Bixa Orellana. It has white to bright pink flowers. Fruits are grown in clusters. The seeds are used to extract annatto that is used as a coloring agent or condiment. Annatto possess various health benefits which is used to promote healthy digestion, prevent neural tube defects, strengthen bones, lower fevers, promote healing, eliminate headaches, protect respiratory stress and lower nausea.
- Healthy eyes
The carotenoid content found in the seeds of Annatto is the reason for the pigment extraction. The high content of carotenoid acts as antioxidants in ocular system and prevents cataract development. It also prevents the chances of macular degeneration by making the strong vision. (1)
Annatto has organic compounds such as tocotrienols that acts as antioxidants for the body. It is also used as a treatment for skin health and anti-aging solution. Annatto paste which is made from seeds is applied topically to lower the signs of wrinkles, imperfections and blemishes. It is used to make the skin look young and tighten the skin. (2)
- Digestive health
Annatto seeds have high content of fiber and the leaves of Achiote plant are helpful for human digestion as it promotes smooth passage of food. It helps to reduce cholesterol and manage diabetes. It optimizes the level of insulin and glucose in blood. It has been used as a diabetic management for generations. (3)
- Bone health
Annatto has high content of calcium that provides mineral density and also promotes strength and durability. It prevents the chances of osteoporosis with the essential minerals such as calcium. (4)
- Prevent chances of birth defects
Annatto has high content of folate which helps to prevent neural tube defects in new born children. Pregnant women should increase the intake of folic acid that helps to prevent these conditions. (5)
- Heal wounds
The wounds, burns and skin irritation could be healed fast by applying the paste of Annatto seed. It speeds up the healing process and lowers the appearance of scars. It also prevents the chances of infections. (6)
- Treat stomach discomfort
Annatto is used to calm upset stomach and treats discomfort and heartburn. It is used for viral infections.
- Treat cancer
Annatto seeds have norbixin which acts as a powerful antioxidant. It has anti-mutagenic effect. (7)
- Treat gonorrhea
- It is used to treat bronchitis and heal wounds.
- The infusion made from leaves helps to treat sore throat, bronchitis and eye inflammation.
- It is used to treat tonsilitis, sunstroke, leprosy, burns, apnoea, pleurisy, recta discomfort, apnoea and headaches.
- It is used as a wash for skin infections and cure for stomach adn liver disorders.
- It is used as a repellant for flies and mosquitoes.
- Shoots and leaves possess febrifugal, astringent and aphrodisiac properties.
- It is used as a treatment for rashes, diarrhea, dysentery, sores and swellings.
- The decoction made from leaves is used as a gargle for throat and mouth infections.
- Annatto is used for fluid retention, malaria and hepatitis.
- It is also used as a bowel cleanser.
- It is used to treat vaginal infections.
- It is used to treat skin problems, dysentery, fevers and hepatitis.
- Roots are used as an aid for digestive health and cough suppressant.
- It is used to treat rashes, cuts and other ailments.
- The infusion made from bark and leaves are useful for stomachache, dysentery, nausea, vomiting, stomach problems and acid reflux.
- Apply the boiled leaved to the body and head for the treatment fever.
- For sore throat, use boiled leaves as a gargle.
- Mix the coconut oil and pounded leaves and apply it to forehead for the treatment of headaches.
- The poultice made from leaves is useful for the treatment of gonorrhea.
- Its leaves are useful for snake bites.
- The pulp of Annatto is useful to eliminate scars caused due to blisters and also stops bleeding.
- The seeds and bark are used for treating thinning hair.
- The branches and bark are used to promote menstrual flow and also alleviates menstrual pain.
- The decoction prepared from pulp of Annatto seeds are treatment for coughs.
- The decoction made from leaves is used to eliminate the symptoms of heat stroke.
- Sensitive people might get allergic reactions.
- Allergic people should avoid it.
- Pregnant and lactating women should consult the doctor for use.
- It might increase or decrease the level of blood sugar. People with diabetes should use it carefully.
How to Eat
- It is used as a food coloring for adding yellow or orange color to cheese, butter, cakes, sausages, baked goods, snack foods, potatoes, smoked fish, breakfast cereals and popcorn.
- It is used to form paste and powder used in Filipino, Chamorro, Jamaican and Latin American cuisines.
- It is used for sauce of pancit in Philippines.
- The seeds are grounded or used to make annatto oil.
- Grounded seeds are added to stews and soups.
- Meat is also marinated with annatto colored seasonings.
- Central America, Africa, Sri Lanka, South America, Caribbean and India are the main producers commercially.
- Annatto oil has high content of beta-carotene, tocotrienols, saturated, unsaturated fatty acids, essential oil, Vitamin C and flavonoids.
- Seeds were used by American natives to make lipstick and red body paint.
It is a small tree which is originated from tropical region of Americas. The name was derived from the word Nahuatl. This is also called Aploppas. It is widely cultivated for the natural source of pigment named annatto which is produced from fruit. Its plant has pink flowers and fruits that are red and spiny with red seeds. The fruit turns dry and hardens down to brown capsules. It is used in rice, cohinita pibil, calo de olla and chicken.
|Name||Annatto uses and benefits|
|Scientific Name||Bixa orellana|
|Native||Indigeneous to Brazil, South and Central America. It is also widely cultivated in Tropical countries such as Mexico, Peru, Indonesia, Ecuador, Kenya, India and East Africa.|
|Common/English Name||Achiote, Annatto, Urucum, Lipstick Plant, Colorau, Arnatto, Lipsticktree, Bija, Mugo-simu, Onotillo, Onoto, Orleansstrauch|
|Name in Other Languages||Swedish: annatto;
Bengali: Latka, latkan;
Bulgarian: Achiote (Ачиоте), Ačiote;
Chinese: Hóngmù (红木), Yānzhī mù (胭脂木);
Dutch: Achiote, Anatto, Annotto, Orleaan, Orleaanboom, Rocou;
Finnish: Annaatto, Annatto;
French: Achiote, Rocou, Rocouyer, roucou;
German: Annatto, Annattostrauch, Orleanstrauch;
Gujarati: Sinduri (सिंदूरी );
Hindi: induriya, latkan, Sinduri, inaduinaya (इनदुिनया), Latkan (लटकन), laalakan (लालकन);
Hungarian: Bjoul, Orleánfa, Ruku;
Italian: Annatto, Anotto;
Japanese: Beninoki (ベニノキ), okenoki, hiryu-sida;
Korean: a-ci-o-te, a-na-to, Achiote (아치오테), Anato (아나토);
Lao: Dok kham, Sa ti;
Malay: Jarak belanda;
Marathi: Sendri (सेंदरी);
Portuguese: Anato, Açafroa-do-Brasil, Urucum, Urucú;
Russian: Annato (Аннато), Biksa (Бикса), Pomadnoe derevo (Pomadnoye derevo);
Spanish: Achiote, Achote, Annato, roucou;
Tagalog: Achuete, Achwete, Atsuete;
Tamil: cappirā, Kongaram, kŏṅkāram (கொங்காரம்), Sappira, Sappiravirai, Cappirā (சப்பிரா);
Thai: Kam saed, Kam tai, Sati, Khảs̄æd (คำแสด);
Vietnamese: Hot dieu mau;
Chamorro: achoti, achiote;
Fijian: nggesa, qesa, nggisa;
Hawaiian: alaea, kūmauna, alaea la‘au;
Palauan: burk, búrek;
Pohnpeian: doaloa rais;
Samoan: loa, loa, loa
Wallisian: loa, lo‘a;
|Plant Growth Habit||Evergreen, tall shrub|
|Growing Climate||Sub-tropical to Tropical|
|Plant Size||Height: 6-10 m (20-33 ft)|
|Trunk||Diameter: 20-30 cm|
|Leaves||Ovate, round with heart shaped base and pointed tip, Length: 10-20 cm; Width: 5-10 cm|
|Flower||Bright, white to pink|
|Fruit shape & size||Ovate to broad, Length: 2.5-5 cm|
|Flavor/aroma||Slightly nutty, peppery, sweet|
|Seed||Reddish to orange, Length: 0.3-0.5 cm, Diameter: 0.2-0.3 cm; pyramidal to conical|