It's no secret that including avocado in the diet provides a number of health benefits. It seems there is more to the fruit than just the flesh and seed.

A new study is suggesting that the avocado seed husk, often tossed in the trash along with the hardy skin, contains chemical compounds that may be able to treat debilitating diseases and even enhance commercial products such as perfumes and cosmetics.

Prior to the study, what was known about the avocado is that its creamy green flesh boasts of phyto-nutrients, vitamins rich in antioxidants like C and E, and anti-inflammatory components, among others.

The study, led by Debasish Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D., found that beyond the flesh and seeds, the seed husks - thick, brown covering - are "gold mines" of chemical compounds with medicinal properties and for industrial use.

"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," Dr Bandyopadhyay was quoted by Newswise as saying.

For their research, the team from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, grounded 300 dried avocado seed husks, which produced 21 ounces of powder.

The powdered form was subjected to another processing until it yielded three teaspoons of seed husk oil and an ounce of seed husk wax.

The research team used gas chromatography-mass spectometry in analyzing the specimens.

In total, they found 116 compounds in the oil and 16 in the wax, many of which don't appear to be in the seeds themselves.

They listed behenyl alcohol (docosanol), an important ingredient in anti-viral medications, in the seed husk oil, as well as heptacasone (inhibits tumor cell growth) and dodecanoic acid which increases the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

Chemicals found in the wax composed of those used in developing plasticity in synthetic products from shower curtains and medical devices, as well as those used in cosmetics and some food additives.

Dr Bandyopadhyay said his team will further the study - modifying several of the natural compounds to be used in medications that have fewer side effects.

The study received funding from the Center of Excellence in STEM Education (College of Sciences).

The researchers presented their work at the 254th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) along with 9,400 presentations on a variety of science topics. The ACS is the world’s largest scientific society. MIMS

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