Note: This monograph covers only breadfruit-bearing 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.
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.
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.
* Key to grades
A: Strong scientific evidence for this use B: Good scientific evidence for this use C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work) F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)
Tradition / Theory
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. 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 healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.