Achiote or annatto tree: Benefits and Medicinal properties


Achiote or annatto tree is classified as both flower and ornamental plant. Fruit and seeds are reddish orange. Therefore popularizing the shell and seed coat to be used in various areas such as food coloring, dyeing, using as a mixture of chicken or quail food, etc.

• Scientific name : Bixa orellana Linn.
• Common Names :
– Achiote tree
– Annatto tree
– Lipstick tree

Origin and Distribution
Achiote or annatto originated in the countries of Europe, America and Europe, Central America and found throughout the world, especially in warm countries. But found very spread in Central Europe and Asia.

Botanical of Achiote
Achiote or annatto is a small perennial shrub and its stem is about 3-5 meters tall. Its top is spherical and its branches are relatively loose.

Achiote or annatto leaves are simple leaf that are arranged along its branches. Leaf has 4-10 cm long petiole and is oval that are about 8-20 cm long. Leaf base is wide and rounded in cordate shape and leaf apex is sharp. Its blade and leaf margin are smooth or slightly undulate.

Achiote or annatto flowers are bloomed at its branch apexes and its peduncles are about 8-10 cm long. Each peduncle consists of 5-10 flowers that contain five small green and pink-white petals. There are many stamens in the middle of these petals while branches of pistils are pink and approximately 1.5 cm long.

Achiote or annatto fruits are triangular and sharp at their apexes. Its fruit peels have a longitudinal groove and are tightly covered by red short hairs like rambutans. Once its fruits are mature, they will be split into two halves and have many small seeds covered with red pericarps.

Benefits of achiote or annatto
1. Bark and Achiote seeds used as an ingredient for making food to be orange-red, which is commonly used in all countries with achiote.
2. The seeds used for dyeing the fabric when dyed with seeds will give a reddish-orange fabric. For example, in India there is a seed covering called kamala used to boil dyes of silk and wool that has a reddish orange color.
3. Achiote seeds are crushed for use as a nail polish and lip color instead of lipstick, and used as a body color.
4. Seed oil can help maintain the condition of products from vegetable oils and dairy products.
5. Achiote is commonly used as an ornamental plant for beauty, because in addition to beautiful flowers, there are also fruits that come out in groups that look beautiful, not unlike flowering. Which will have both trees that give red fruits and yellow fruits

In the warm country, popular in growing red varieties If growing the yellow fruit with the red fruit, it will create more beauty.

6. The seeds are ground to be used for food mixers such as chicken, duck or quail to help the intensity of the yolk color.
7. Cloth dyeing can be done by boiling 3 kg of seeds in about 20 liters of water, which can dye 1 kg of cloths and the boiling time is about 1 hour.

Nutrients of achiote or annatto (Seed of achiote )
• Protein 13-17%
• Fiber 16 %
• Essential oils 0.3-0.9%
• Non-Essential oils 4.5-5.5%
• Pigments 13-16%
• Alpha and beta – carotene 13-16%
• Fatty Acids
– Capric 10.7%
– Palmitic 16.4%
– Stearic 4.63%
– Oleic 33.9%
– Linoleic 34.3%
• Amino acids
– Tryptophan
– Lysine
– Methionine
– Isoleucine
– Leucine
– Phenylalanine

How to prepare achiote or annatto powder
Achiote or annatto powder is made from its seed tissues and can be prepared by fermenting approximately 1 kg of seeds in water for one day, kneading to remove out its seed tissues, and separating its seeds from fermentation water. Then, such fermentation water is simmered to make it sticky and dried into powder by sunlight for 5-7 days. After that, the powder can be utilized.

Substances found in achiote or annatto
Seeds of achiote contain Bixin (C25H30O4) and Norbixin (C24H28O4), they are reddish orange substance.

Medicinal properties of achiote or annatto
Seeds (boiled water)
– Relieve sore throat
– blood tonic
– Reduce a fever
– Use for diuretic
– Treat of dysentery
– Treat of diarrhea
– Treat of malaria
– Treat of parasite
– Use a mild laxative

oils from Seeds
– Apply for massage to relieve paralysis
– Treat of sprains body
– Treat of joint pain

Peel and seeds (Ground applied externally)
– Treat of wounds, wounds with pus and Infected wound.
– Treat of wound from a nail tackle.
– Treat of dermatology
– Treat of rash

Peel and seeds (boiling water for bath)
– Reduce pain in the joints
– Relieve rash

– Treat of malaria
– Treat of gonorrhea

– Reduce a Fever
– Treat of dysentery
– Use for diuretic
– Treat of jaundice
– Reduce pain from poisonous insect bites.

– blood tonic
– Treat of anemia
– Treat of dysentery
– Relieve itchy skin

Pharmaceutical effects
1. Antibacterial activity
According to the study on the effects of achiote or annatto seed extracts on some germs, these extracts cannot inhibit Escherichia coli, but the high amount of carotenoids can inhibit S. aureus that causes food spoilage. But, the pigments from achiote or annatto seeds can also reduce S. enteritidis.
2. Antioxidant activity
According to the study that provided 200 mg extracts of achiote or annatto seed coats to mice, such extracts provided in such amount are not toxic to the liver of these mice.
3. Hypolipidaemic effect
According to the study on the effect of achiote or annatto seed extracts as to reduce fat in mice, these extracts can reduce triglycerides, total cholesterol, and lipoprotein in the blood of these mice.

Toxicity of achiote or annatto
According to the study on the acute oral toxicity of achiote or annatto seed extracts in mice provided in an amount of 16.0 g / kg of mice, these extracts do not cause acute poisoning and death in mice.

According to the study on the toxicity of achiote or annatto seed extracts in Wistar mice provided in an amount of 60.0 mg / mouse / day, these extracts have no effect on their body weight, feeding behavior, relative organ weight, and clinical chemistry. In addition, after their necropsy, no changes in their internal organs were found.

According to the study on the toxicity of achiote or annatto in Wistar mice provided in an amount of 1 and 2 g / day / kg of mice for 43 days, these extracts show no toxicity in these mice.

Planting and growing of achiote or annatto
Achiote or annatto is mostly planted by its seedlings grown from its seeds. In addition, it can be planted from its plants obtained from cuttings or loss of its apex, which can produce its fruits more quickly than its plants grown from its seeds.

Preparation of seedling media
Its seedling media should be loose soil mixed with farm yard manure and other agricultural materials, such as black rice husks or coco-coir dusts at a ratio of 1:3:2 for soil, farm yard manure, and agricultural materials, respectively. After these seedling media are prepared, they are packed into a seedling bag or tray.

Preparation of seeds and seeding
The seeds used for cultivating should be the seeds obtained from its mature fruits with splitting peels. These seeds are dried for 5-7 days before being kept in a cloth bag or paper bag in the shade for 1-2 months for their dormancy. Then, these seeds are cultivated in a seeding bag or tray by putting 1-2 seeds into each bag or hole, spreading the soil surface to cover these seeds, and watering them.

Achiote planting
For cultivating in seeding bags, after these seeds have grown, they will be taken care of until these seedlings are at the age of 2-3 months before being planted into plots. For cultivating in seeding trays, after these seeds have grown for 5-7 days, their seedlings will be moved to seeding bags and taken care of until these seedlings are ready at the age of 2-3 months before transplanting into plots.