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The Nutritional and Health Benefits of Guanabana, Soursop or Graviola

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Soursop Fruit

About Soursop

Latin Name : Annona muricata

Soursop is the fruit of the tree Annona muricata. Also known by other names including graviola, guanabana, anona, sirsak and adunu.

In India, soursop is known as Lakshmana Phala and Shul-ram-fal.

The graviola fruit is a very strange looking fruit having a contrasting mix of flavours of many fruits.

Soursop has been touted as an alternative treatment for cancer.

Annona muricata (Soursop) Tree

The Soursop tree is a small tropical tree that is believed to be native to the Caribbean, Central America, Northern South America, Cuba and Mexico. It grows to about a height of 30 feet.

The Annona muricata grows best and produces the fruit of high quality in areas where humidity is high and winters are not severe but warmer. as the temperature below 41 degrees F damages the leaves while below 37 degrees, F is fatal to both the tree and the fruit.

The tree is mainly grown for its fruit, which can grow quite heavy sometimes weighing as much as 15 pounds.

The leaves, stem and seeds have been traditionally used for medicinal purposes.

Soursop Fruit

The soursop fruit grows in a variety of shapes. Though the fruit on an average weighs from 400 to 800 grams, the heaviest ones may weigh close to 7 kilos. The fruit length varies from 5 to 10 inches.

The skin of soursop is spiky and green. It can be eaten raw like any other fruit and can also be processed to make products like smoothies, juices, ice creams, etc. In fact, it is also used to make a variety of food and beverage products.

The fruit is also used as and to make medicine.

Nutrients In Soursop

  • Rich in fibre
  • Rich in vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium.
  • Low in sodium but high in potassium.
  • Low in fat.
  • Contains a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Individual levels of the various nutrients can be seen in the table below.

Nutrients In Soursop

Source : USDA

Soursop, raw

Nutritional value per 100 grams

Nutrients

Amount

% of Daily Requirements

Energy

66 Kcal

Carbohydrates

16.84 g

Sugars

13.54 g

Dietary fiber

3.3 g

Fat

0.3 g

Protein

1 g

Thiamine (vit. B1)

0.07 mg

6%

Riboflavin (vit. B2)

0.05 mg

4%

Niacin (vit. B3)

0.9 mg

6%

Pantothenic acid (B5)

0.253 mg

5%

Vitamin B6

0.059 mg

5%

Folate (vit. B9)

14 mcg

4%

Choline

7.6 mg

2%

Vitamin C

20.6 mg

25%

Calcium

14 mg

1%

Iron

0.6 mg

5%

Magnesium

21 mg

6%

Phosphorus

27 mg

4%

Potassium

278 mg

6%

Sodium

14 mg

1%

Zinc

0.1 mg

1%

Some Traditional Treatments With Soursop

The fruit seeds are used to control vomiting.

The leaves help in treating skin affections when applied as a poultice.

The fruit pulp helps to heal wounds faster when applied to them.

The root bark is used as an antidote for poisoning.

A decoction or tea made of leaves is used to get rid of head lice and bed bugs.

In the Caribbean, soursop leaves are commonly used as a remedy for insomnia by brewing them to make a beverage. In fact, the leaves used in a pillowcase have been found to promote sleep.

Health Benefits Of Soursop

In lab experiments soursop has been found to have the following properties :

  • Antileishmanial - Leishmaniasis is a disease which causes skin ulcers and affects organs like spleen and liver as well and is caused by the protozoa Leishmania which is spread by some types of sandflies.
  • Cytotoxic - Causes the death of certain types of cells since it is toxic to those cells. This property could be used to target specific types of cells like cancer cells.
  • Antinociceptive - Reduces sensitivity to painful stimuli.
  • Antidiabetic.
  • Anticancer.

Research has shown that soursop is able to kill almost 12 types of cancer cells including those of the colon, breast, lung, pancreas and the prostate.

It has been found, in vitro studies, that the compound, cis annonacin in soursop, seeds are up to 10000 times more effective in reducing the growth of colon cancer cells than the commonly used chemotherapeutic drug Adriamycin.

More importantly, this compound kills selectively the cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells unharmed.

Human studies though have not been done on the anti-cancer effects of soursop.

The bottom line then being that though soursop holds promise as an anti-cancer agent, in the absence of human studies and the possibility of side effects soursop extracts need to be used with caution.

These extracts should not be taken as a standalone anticancer treatment.

Among the other properties of soursop that have been established by research are:

Anticonvulsant, antifungal, antimutagenic, antispasmodic, antioxidant, sedative, uterine stimulant and vasodilator.

Some Side Effects And Precautions With Soursop

  1. Soursop or graviola may cause movement disorders/symptoms similar to that encountered in Parkinson's disease and thus worsen these symptoms.
  2. Web MD lists graviola as unsafe since it can kill nerve cells in the brain as well as in the body.
  3. Pregnant women and those breastfeeding should avoid it.
  4. Graviola lowers BP. Hence, those with low BP or on blood pressure-lowering medications should keep this fact in mind.
  5. Large doses of soursop may cause nausea and vomiting.,
  6. Avoid taking soursop with Coenzyme Q10 or other supplements that increase ATP.

References

  1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0367326X99001380
  2. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/np0105578
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20559502
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20162043
  5. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635581.2011.563027#.UyRzs_mSxR4
  6. http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/02/13/soursop-graviola-cancer-cure-strong-evidnce/
  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-christopher-winter/soursop-sleep_b_2674521.html
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8991944
  9. http://www.cancernetwork.com/integrative-oncology/graviola-annona-muricata
  10. http://www.rain-tree.com/reports/hsi_200510.pdf
  11. http://rain-tree.com/graviola.htm#.UyVBEPmSxR4

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Some Of My Other Hubs On Healthy Foods

How to Grow Guanabana aka Soursop from Seed *plus* Guan

Soursop Smoothie Recipe

Jamaican Soursop (Guanabana) Juice Recipe Video

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2014 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 22, 2015:

@Thanks Thish. glad you found the info you needed. Thanks for passing on the link.

@ aesta. You are welcome. hope the info helps. Thanks.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 18, 2015:

I have always heard of the health benefits of this fruit but I had been ignorant of its negative effects. Thanks for the information.

Ohla on November 29, 2014:

Very well informative article. I get rarely this fruit as it is not available most of the times in the store. . Did not know it is available in Amazon in different formats. Thanks again. I will share this link with my friends.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 31, 2014:

Thanks for your input, Precy! I appreciate your stopping by and sharing of this hub.

precy anza from USA on March 30, 2014:

I enjoyed eating this fruit Rajan. :) Back in the Philippines, neighbors with a tree shares a ripe soursop or guyabano as we call it. And we have a tree too back then. But here in US, it's expensive and sold frozen. Shared and up!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 29, 2014:

Thanks for stopping by, Monis Mas and appreciate your votes.

Agnes on March 28, 2014:

Voted Up, Interesting and Useful! I have never heard of it, thanks so much for sharing this info.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 19, 2014:

@Susan Recipes - thanks and nice to see you.

@MsDora - I'm sure it tastes great as well. Thanks for stopping by.

@Eiddwen - thank you and it is always good to see you.

@FlourishAnyway - thanks and it's my pleasure providing new information.

@AudreyHowitt - thank you for reading and appreciating.

Audrey Howitt from California on March 18, 2014:

Useful--I had never heard about this fruit before!

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 17, 2014:

I have never heard of this fruit and enjoyed learning about it. Very informative!

Eiddwen from Wales on March 17, 2014:

another wonderful hub rajan.

You are an endless source of interesting facts and each one so interesting.

Great work and wishing you a wonderful day.

Eddy.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 17, 2014:

Soursop smoothie is my favorite. When I'm in the Caribbean, the soursop is one of the most treasured fruits anyone can give to me. Thank you for the nutritional information.

Susan from India on March 16, 2014:

I have never seen this fruit. I am glad to read your hubs as I learn so many new things. Thanks rajan for sharing this. Voted up.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 16, 2014:

@DDE - Thanks for stopping by, Devika.

@vespawoolf - the fruit is safe albeit. Appreciate your comments and visit.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 16, 2014:

We have guanabana here in Peru. I've heard the claims about cancer and I suppose if I had cancer I would probably try it, but the contraindications are too risky for a healthy person, in my opinion. Thank you for sharing both sides of the story.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 16, 2014:

An interesting and informative hub. The photos are beautiful and so clear . The video added makes all the difference and your work is always informative with thorough research skills.