Annotto shrub

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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in Brazil: Urucum; in Spanish-speaking countries: called achiote.; Lipstick Bush; Orleans bush; Rucus bush

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The Annotto bush, also known as Bixa orellana, is a shrubby plant of the Annotto family (Bixaceae), which is naturally found in Central and South America: it is also common in South-East Asia.

Bixa orellana is an important dyeing plant that has been used and cultivated in South and Central America for centuries. The plant is also native to South East Asia. A red dye(carotenoid) called bixin (annotto) is extracted from the seeds.

In Europe, annotto is approved as a food colouring under the code E160b. Annotto is mainly used to colour cheese and margarine and is used in the cosmetics industry for lipsticks (lipstick bush) and sun creams. In Central American cuisine, Annotto is an important flavouring and colouring agent for many traditional dishes.

Bixa orellana extract is used in skin care cosmetic products.

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Annotto is also the most important dye for body painting of the American Indian tribes.

Allegedly Francisco de Orellana (French for Orlean) discovered the plant in South America.

Outgoing links (2)

Bixa orellana extract (inci); Bixin;