The Hidden Health Benefits Of Soursop

Soursop, which is also referred to as graviola, is a green, spiny, large tropical fruit. Its sweet flesh is used for making ice creams, several beverages and other types of popular South American sweet foods. Beyond being useful as a food, there are also several natural compounds contained in soursop that have medicinal properties, which means it can benefit your health as well.

Health Benefits Of Soursop

The Annona muricata, or graviola tree, is what produces the soursop fruit. It is also referred to as paw paw, custard apple and guanabana in numerous Spanish-speaking countries. The fruit can get as long as 12 inches, and the trees themselves can grow to heights of 25 to 30 feet. It has a very bitter rind, but the flesh of the fruit is sweet, smooth and soft. Its major nutrient is carbohydrate. There is also an abundant amount of vitamin C in soursop, along with several vitamins like niacin, riboflavin and thiamin, in addition to phosphorus, calcium and a small trace of iron.

Components And Uses

Herbal medicine practitioners recommend the graviola tree’s leaves and fruit for relieving pain, fever, stomach distress, respiratory problems like asthma and cough, along with numerous other medical issues. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reports that there are numerous natural substances contained in soursop with biological activity. They include acetogenins, which are fatty compounds, particularly annonacin.

There are other compounds as well including annopentocins, quinolones and the two alkloids reticuline and coreximine. The acetogenins contained in soursop are the most studied compounds, particularly for the potential of slowing or preventing cancer from growing. According to the Cancer Center, some of the compounds contained in soursop might be naturally antiparasitic and antiviral, and might suppress inflammation as well.

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There has been laboratory research that has been conducted that supports that soursop has possible benefits as a potential remedy for disease. According to one study appearing in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, growth of the Herpes virus was inhibited in the lab by a soursop extract. Summarized findings from the Cancer Center have also suggest that extracts of soursop may cause cancer cells to be more susceptible to the effects of anti-cancer drugs or may slow cancer cell growth.

One 1997 study that was published in Journal of Medicinal Chemistry tested soursop compounds on breast cancer cells residing in culture. It was found to be as much as 250 times more effective at killing the cancer cells than many chemotherapy drugs. The soursop laboratory studies are promising, however research involving human subjects needs to be done in order to confirm how potentially useful it is.


There is not an established recommended intake for soursop extract or fruit. There is around 15 milligrams of annonacin contained in one fruit. This component is the most studied of all. There are soursop nectars that have been commercially prepared that provide 36 milligrams. You should discuss using soursop or a soursop extract with your doctor before using it and not try to self-treat with it.

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