Kiwi contains high amounts of vitamin E, serotonin, and potassium, and it is known to have the highest density of vitamin C among all fruits. It is also low-fat, cholesterol-free, and believed to be a good source of folic acid. However, even with these possible benefits, kiwi has been linked to a growing number of reports of allergies.
Kiwi is believed to have antioxidant effects and has been used to protect against lung problems and to improve heart health. However, high quality evidence supporting the use of kiwi in humans is lacking. More research is needed.
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.
Early research has looked at the effects of kiwi extract on measures of allergic sensitivity in humans. More research is needed before conclusions can be made.
Early evidence shows that adding kiwi to the Western diet may improve antioxidant status and other heart health indicators in healthy people. More research is needed before conclusions can be made.
Limited evidence shows that eating three kiwi fruits daily may lower blood pressure. However, results are conflicting, and more research is needed before conclusions can be made.
Early research suggests that kiwi extract may promote bowel movements and improve quality of life in elderly people with constipation. Some research found that a freeze-dried kiwi extract called Zyactinase® may help relieve constipation, while other research reported that it may promote healthy gut bacteria. However, firm evidence is still needed before conclusions can be made.
Early research suggests that a drink that contains kiwi may improve athletic performance. However, high-quality evidence is needed before conclusions can be made on the effectiveness of kiwi for improving energy.
Kiwi has been used to protect against respiratory illness and to increase lung function. A survey found that kiwi and other fruits high in vitamin C may benefit children who have lung conditions such as wheezing. However, high quality evidence supporting the use of kiwi for lung conditions is lacking. More studies are needed before conclusions can be made.
Human research found a lack of effect of kiwi extract in people who had chronic skin rashes. More research is needed.
* 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.
To treat allergies, two 500-milligram PG102 (kiwi extract) tablets have been taken by mouth twice daily for eight weeks.
To improve antioxidant status, 150-500 milliliters of kiwifruit juice has been taken by mouth. Two kiwi fruits have been taken by mouth daily for two weeks. Three kiwi fruits have been taken by mouth daily for eight weeks. One or two golden kiwifruit have been taken by mouth daily for four weeks.
To improve heart health, two or three kiwifruits have been taken by mouth daily for 28 days.
To treat constipation, two capsules of freeze-dried kiwi extract (Zyactinase®) have been taken by mouth three times daily for four weeks.
To enhance energy, 500-1,200 milliliters of kiwifruit juice has been taken by mouth.
To treat high blood pressure, three kiwifruits have been taken by mouth daily.
Children (under 18 years old)
To prevent lung conditions, such as wheezing, 1-7 kiwifruits have been taken by mouth weekly.
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.
Kiwi allergy is one of the more common fruit allergies. There are reports of allergy and cross-sensitization with kiwi and avocado, birch pollen, banana, chestnut, figs, flour, grasses, hazelnut, latex and latex-containing plants, melons, nuts, poppy or sesame seeds, and rye grain. Some sources report that people who are allergic to latex, papaya, or pineapple may also be allergic to kiwi. People who are allergic to green kiwi may be allergic to gold kiwi.
Avoid if allergic or sensitive to kiwi or any member of the kiwi family (Actinidiaceae) or related substances. There have been reports of allergic responses, such as worsened skin rashes, after exposure to kiwi. Allergy to kiwi following a kiss has been reported.
Side Effects and Warnings
Kiwi is likely safe when eaten in amounts that are naturally found in foods. Kiwi is possibly safe in healthy adults in recommended doses for medical purposes.
Kiwi allergy is one of the more common fruit allergies. There are reports of allergy and cross-sensitization with kiwi and other foods.
Kiwi may cause anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction that may lead to death), asthma, changes in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, collapse, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, hives, itchy or sore mouth or throat, nausea, pancreatic problems, rash, skin discoloration, skin itching, stomach pain, sweating, swelling (lips, face, skin, or tongue), tingling, vomiting, and wheezing.
Kiwi may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Kiwi may affect blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or low blood sugar, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Kiwi may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people with low blood pressure or in those taking drugs or herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure.
Use cautiously in people who are taking hormonal therapies or agents that affect serotonin, as kiwi contains high levels of serotonin.
Use cautiously in people who are at risk for kidney stones, as kiwi contains oxalate and may promote kidney stone formation.
Use cautiously in people who have high cholesterol or stomach disorders.
Avoid if allergic or sensitive to kiwi or any member of the kiwi family (Actinidiaceae) or related substances.
Avoid supplemental amounts during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Kiwi is likely safe in nonallergic pregnant or breastfeeding women at levels commonly found in foods. The safety of supplemental amounts of kiwi during pregnancy or breastfeeding has not been studied and is not recommended.
Kiwi 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®).
Kiwi may affect blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also affect blood sugar. People taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Kiwi may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs that lower blood pressure.
Kiwi may also interact with agents that may affect the immune system, agents that may treat kidney conditions, agents that may treat lung conditions, agents that may treat skin conditions, agents that may treat stomach conditions, antiasthmatics, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antidiarrheals, antifungals, antihistamines, athletic performance enhancers, bone agents, cholesterol-lowering agents, hormonal agents, laxatives, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), weight loss agents, and wound-healing agents.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Kiwi 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.
Kiwi may affect blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Kiwi may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
Kiwi may also interact with antiasthmatics, antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, antidiarrheals, antifungals, antihistamines, antioxidants, athletic performance enhancers, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, cross reactive foods (such as avocado, banana, chestnut, fig, hazelnut, melon, papaya, pineapple, poppy seeds, rye grain, sesame seeds, and tyramine- and tryptophan-containing foods), herbs and supplements that may affect the immune system, herbs and supplements that may treat bone conditions, herbs and supplements that may treat kidney conditions, herbs and supplements that may treat lung conditions, herbs and supplements that may treat skin conditions, herbs and supplements that may treat stomach conditions, hormonal herbs and supplements, hydroxytryptophan, laxatives, lutein, potassium, probiotics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tocopherols, vitamin C, vitamin E, weight loss herbs and supplements, and wound-healing 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.