- Najja Parker The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Avocados have lots of health benefits. They contain good carbohydrates and fats, but the smooth green portion of the fruit isn’t the best part. It’s actually what you’re likely throwing away: the pit.
Researchers from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley conducted a study, which they presented at a American Chemical Society meeting, to break down the components of the fruit.
To do so, they grounded about 300 dried avocado seeds into powder. This process resulted in three teaspoons of seed husk oil and about an ounce of seed husk wax. Using gas chromatography, a process that analyzes chemicals, they found 116 compounds in the oil and 16 molecules in the wax.
The molecules discovered can treat several diseases, which is why scientists are calling the avocado seed a “gold mine of medicinal compounds.”
“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,” Debasish Bandyopadhyay, lead researcher, said in a statement. “Our results also suggest that the seed husks are a potential source of chemicals used in plastics and other industrial products.”
One of the constituents discovered in the oil was behenyl alcohol. It’s an important ingredient in anti-viral medications as well as heptacosane, which is a chemical that might slow the growth of tumors.
As for the wax, they spotted benzyl butyl phthalate, a chemical that can be found in synthetic products like shower curtains, cosmetics and food additives.
With the latest findings, scientists hope to further their studies to discover how the compounds founds can be used to create better medications.