Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis)

While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • 4-Prenyloxyresveratrol, árbol de pan (Spanish), arbre à pain (French), artocarbene, artocarpesin, artocarpin, artocarpine, Artocarpus altilis, Artocarpus camansi, Artocarpus communis, Artocarpus communis Moraceae, Artocarpus incise, Artocarpus incisus, Artocarpus mariannensis, Artocarpus tonkinensis, artochamins, artocommunols, artomunoflavanone, artomunoisoxanthone, bakri-chajhar (Hindi), beta (Vanuatu), BFL, bia (Solomon Islands), blèfoutou (Benin), breadfruit lectin, broodboom (Dutch), broodvrucht (Dutch), Brotfruchtbaum (German), buco (Fiji), bulo (Solomon Islands), chlorophorin, cycloaltilisin 6 (dimeric dihydrochalcone), cycloaltilisin 7 (prenylated flavone), cycloartenol, cyclocomunomethonol, cyclomorusin, dihydroartomunoxanthone, dihydrochalcones, (+)-dihydromorin, fruit à pain (French), fruta de pan (Spanish), fruta pão (Portuguese), frutackin (chitin-binding lectin), frutalin (alpha-D-galactose-binding lectin), frutapan (Caribbean), Gal beta1, GalNAc, geranyl chalcone derivatives, geranyl dihydrochalcones, geranyl flavonoids, isoartocarpesin (6-(3″-methyl-1″-butenyl)-5,7,2′,4′-tetrahydroxyflavone), isolespeol, jacalin, kapiak (Tok Pisin), kuru (Cook Islands), lespeol (Spanish – Guatemala, Honduras), mai (Micronesia), mazapan (Spanish – Guatemala, Honduras), meduu (Palau), mei (Micronesia), Moraceae (family), mos (Kosraean – Micronesia), nimbalu (Solomon Islands), nirphanas (Marathi), (+)-norartocarpanon, pain bois (French – Caribbean), pan (Spanish), panapen (Spanish), panbwa (Caribbean), pão de massa (Portuguese), papayotin, rata del (Sinhalese), rimas (Tagalog), shelisheli (Swahili – Tanzania), sukun (Indonesian), terminal Gal, Thai breadfruit, ‘ulu (Hawaiian), ‘uru (Society Islands), uto (Fiji), Venezuelan breadfruit, xanthoangelol, yovotévi (Benin).

  • Note: This monograph covers only breadfruitbearing Artocarpus species and does not go in detail about related species like jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), cempedak (Artocarpus champeden), and marang (Artocarpus odoratissimus). Treculia africana, although known as African breadfruit, is not included in the monograph, as it belongs to a different genus.

Background

  • Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a traditional starch-rich crop belonging to the Moraceae family. The tree, native to the Malay Peninsula and western Pacific islands, is widely grown in tropical and subtropical regions. The term “breadfruit” is derived from the Greek words artos (bread) and karpos (fruit). When cooked or baked, the fruit gives off a fragrance similar to fresh baked bread, hence the name.

  • Breadfruit may lower blood pressure, and it has also been studied in the treatment of tapeworm infection. It may also be used for diabetes, sore eyes, leg pain and tingling, enlarged spleen, skin infections, boils, burns, broken bones, arthritis, and decreased urination. Leaf extracts of the breadfruit tree have been used to treat toothaches and diarrhea. However, well-designed clinical trials are needed before conclusions can be made regarding the effectiveness of breadfruit for any condition.

Scientific Evidence

Uses

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.

  • Anodyne (pain relief), arthritis, asthma, boils, burns, cancer, constipation, diabetes, diarrhea, ear infection, eye problems, fractures, gout, high blood pressure, laxative, parasitic worm infections, rheumatism, sciatica (back and leg pain), skin infections, splenomegaly (enlarged spleen), thrush, tired eyes, toothache, tumors, urinary disorders.

Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for breadfruit in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for breadfruit in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to breadfruit or members of the Moraceae family. Avoid in people with a known allergy to banana, as hives and rhinitis (inflammation of the nose) may develop when exposed to breadfruit shrubs.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Breadfruit is likely safe when eaten in amounts commonly found in foods.

  • Breadfruit may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.

  • Breadfruit may act as a laxative when eaten raw.

  • Use cautiously in people who are taking inotropes (agents to control muscle contraction).

  • Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to breadfruit or members of the Moraceae family. Avoid in people with a known allergy to banana, as hives and rhinitis may develop when exposed to breadfruit shrubs.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is a lack of scientific evidence on the use of breadfruit during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Breadfruit may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).

  • Breadfruit may also interact with 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, anticancer agents, antifungal agents, antiparasitic agents, inotropes (agents that may control muscle contraction), and skin-lightening agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Breadfruit may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.

  • Breadfruit may also interact with 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungal herbs and supplements, antioxidants, antiparasitic herbs and supplements, inotropes (herbs and supplements that may control muscle contraction), and skin-lightening herbs and supplements.

Author Information

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. Adewusi, S. R., Orisadare, B. O., and Oke, O. L. Studies on weaning diets in Nigeria: 2 protein sources. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 1992;42(2):183-192. View Abstract
  2. Akubor, P. I. Proximate composition and selected functional properties of African breadfruit and sweet potato flour blends. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 1997;51(1):53-60. View Abstract
  3. Ariahu, C. C., Ukpabi, U., and Mbajunwa, K. O. Production of African breadfruit (Treculia africana) and soybean (Glycine max) seed based food formulations, 2: Effects of germination and fermentation on microbiological and physical properties. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 1999;54(3):207-216. View Abstract
  4. Badifu, G. I. and Akubor, P. I. Influence of pH and sodium chloride on selected functional and physical properties of African breadfruit (Treculia africana Decne) kernel flour. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 2001;56(2):105-115. View Abstract
  5. De Greef, J. M., Lieutier-Colas, F., Bessot, J. C., Verot, A., Gallerand, A. M., Pauli, G., and de, Blay F. Urticaria and rhinitis to shrubs of Ficus benjamina and breadfruit in a banana-allergic road worker: evidence for a cross-sensitization between Moracea, banana and latex. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2001;125(2):182-184. View Abstract
  6. Esuoso, K. O. and Bamiro, F. O. Studies on the baking properties of non-wheat flours–I. Breadfruit (Artocarpus artilis). Int J Food Sci Nutr 1995;46(3):267-273. View Abstract
  7. Fang, S. C., Hsu, C. L., Yu, Y. S., and Yen, G. C. Cytotoxic effects of new geranyl chalcone derivatives isolated from the leaves of Artocarpus communis in SW 872 human liposarcoma cells. J Agric.Food Chem. 10-8-2008;56(19):8859-8868. View Abstract
  8. Giami, S. Y., Adindu, M. N., Akusu, M. O., and Emelike, J. N. Compositional, functional and storage properties of flours from raw and heat processed African breadfruit (Treculia africana Decne) seeds. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 2000;55(4):357-368. View Abstract
  9. Giami, S. Y., Adindu, M. N., Hart, A. D., and Denenu, E. O. Effect of heat processing on in vitro protein digestibility and some chemical properties of African breadfruit (Treculia africana Decne) seeds. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 2001;56(2):117-126. View Abstract
  10. Graham, H. D. and Negron de Bravo, E. Composition of the breadfruit. Journal of Food Science 1981;46(2):535.
  11. Lans, C. A. Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for urinary problems and diabetes mellitus. J Ethnobiol.Ethnomed. 2006;2:45. View Abstract
  12. Nzomiwu, N. R. Effect of alkaline treatment (‘akanwu’) and supplementary value of corn or crayfish on the protein quality of breadfruit (Treculia Africana). Plant Foods Hum Nutr 1990;40(2):99-105. View Abstract
  13. Pineau, N., Pousset, J. L., Preud’Homme, J. L., and Aucouturier, P. Structural and functional similarities of breadfruit seed lectin and jacalin. Mol.Immunol. 1990;27(3):237-240. View Abstract
  14. Washburn, F. L. BREADFRUIT IN THE MARQUESAS. Science 4-18-1924;59(1529):359-360. View Abstract
  15. Weng, J. R., Chan, S. C., Lu, Y. H., Lin, H. C., Ko, H. H., and Lin, C. N. Antiplatelet prenylflavonoids from Artocarpus communis. Phytochemistry 2006;67(8):824-829. View Abstract

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.