We don’t often hear positive stories about avocados anymore. Our favourite brunch food has become something of a punching bag, as older generations see it as a lavish expense which is causing millennials to be unable to save to purchase property. The wonderful little green fruit is, to some, symbolic of the indulgent nature of a generation who lack the discipline and work ethic of their parents.

But now, it looks like the victimised avocado could be the key to treating ailments such as cancers and heart disease. A new study which was presented at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society demonstrated that avocado seed husks contain a veritable treasure trove of unidentified chemical compounds that could potentially be used for treatments.

The author of the study, Debasish Bandyopadhyay and his students at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley grounded up the husks of 300 dried avocado seeds, and based their research on the resulting substance. They were able to identify 132 chemical compounds which are not present in the seed itself, only the husk.

They found chemicals such as behenyl alcohol (docosanol) –  a vital ingredient of anti-viral medications, heptacosane – a growth inhibitor for tumor cells, and dodecanoic acid – which raises high density lipoprotein (HDL) leading to the reduction of the risk of atherosclerosis.

The next step for the research term is to modify these natural compounds, and incorporate them into improving medications.