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Ackee fruit

Written by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Updated Nov 19, 2022


What is Ackee fruit used for?

Ackee fruit (Blighia sapida) is found in West Africa, the Caribbean islands, southern Florida, and Central America. In fact, it is the national fruit of Jamaica.

Traditionally, it has been used to treat anemia, itchiness, epilepsy, edema, and constipation. It is also used to make fragrances, soaps, tattoo ink, and other cosmetics.

However, despite these potential benefits, fresh Ackee fruit must be used with care. When the fruit is unripe, it is considered toxic due to its hypoglycin A content and can lead to a condition called “Jamaican vomiting sickness.”

How does it work?

There is not enough research or information available to determine how the active constituents of Ackee fruit work.

Precautions & Warnings

What should I know before using Ackee fruit?

Consult with your doctor or pharmacist if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription.
  • You have allergy with any substances of ackee or other medications or other herbals.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions, such as diabetes, liver disease, or compromised kidney function.
  • You have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.

The regulations for an herbal supplement are less strict than the regulations for a drug. More studies are needed to determine its safety. The benefits of taking this herbal supplement must outweigh the risks before use. Consult with your herbalist or doctor for more information.

How safe is Ackee fruit?

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Because of its potential toxicity when unripened fruit is consumed, it would be best to avoid eating Ackee fruit during pregnancy. Supplements should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus, as determined by your doctor.

It is not known if the active compounds are excreted into breast milk. This supplement should be used while breastfeeding only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the child, as determined by your doctor.

Side Effects

What kind of side effects may I have from Ackee fruit?

When using ackee, it may cause these side effects, such as:

  • Liver damage
  • Abdominal pain
  • Intermittent diarrhea
  • Hypotonia (decreased muscle tone)
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stupor
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Convulsions
  • Tachypnea (rapid breathing)
  • Tachycardia (fast heartbeat)
  • Intense itching
  • Hypoglycemia

You may experience some, none, or other side effects not mentioned above. If you have any concerns about a side effect or it becomes bothersome, consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What interactions may I have with Ackee fruit?

To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and inform your doctor and pharmacist.

Avoid using other diuretics while taking this supplement, as it may cause excessive urination and eventually dehydration. Ackee fruit may also inhibit gluconeogenesis which can lead to low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, which may interact with medications for diabetes such as metformin and insulin.

Other foods are not known to interact with Ackee fruit. Because of the potential hepatotoxic effects of Ackee fruit, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol.

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, stop taking this drug and continue taking your other medication. Inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Your dose may need to be adjusted, substituted with another drug, or discontinue using the drug.


The information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using Ackee fruit.

What is the usual dose for Ackee fruit?

The recommended dosage of this drug has not been established for treating any specific disease or condition. Consult with a doctor for the appropriate indication and dosage.

What form does Ackee fruit come in?

Ackee fruit is available as fresh produce and as a canned fruit product.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Written by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Updated Nov 19, 2022

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