Graviola is one fruit with no shortage of health benefits. Native to warm and humid climates as found in Mexico, Cuba, Central America, and northern South America, Graviola has been referred to as “the healing fruit.” Its other names include soursop, Guyabano, guanabana, Brazilian paw paw, custard apple, and Evo. The fruit itself shares similarities with pineapples and strawberries in terms of taste. Add to this a taste of apple, with some citrus undertones, all supported by a thick creamy texture resembling a banana.
The Annona muricata tree this fruit grows in can reach up to 30 feet tall and is evergreen. The Graviola fruits are dark green, prickly, and can reach up to 12 in length. Despite its perhaps uninviting appearance, the graviola fruit has long been discovered as an essential aid in preventing or curing many health ailments.
The soursop has been used for years by native peoples as a miracle medicine. Not only is the fruit used for these purposes, but also the roots, leaves, and bark of the Graviola tree. These parts were often turned into tea for consumption by the ill against fevers, viruses, and stomach ailments. Apart from its undigestable black seeds, typically removed during preparation, you can use everything the Graviola fruit offers. For example, you can make fruit juice drinks, nectars, ice cream flavoring, sorbets, and smoothies from its pulp. Regarding herbal remedies, soursop is high on the list. Recently, even scientists have become impressed with the health benefits of Graviola.
Health Benefits of Graviola
The soursop has been found to treat both bacterial and fungal infections while reducing inflammation. This is particularly helpful for those living in areas with intestinal parasite problems. Graviola also lowers blood pressure, so if you already have low blood pressure, be careful when using this fruit. On the other hand, if you have high blood pressure or problems resulting from it, graviola could be right for you.
In addition to the vitamins (C, B1, B2) you get from eating the soursop, it has an even more impressive effect — the health benefits of Graviola extend to cancer. That’s right; some even call graviola “the anti-cancer fruit.” In a study conducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, scientists determined that graviola fruit inhibits the metabolism of cells. What does this mean exactly? — this fruit can kill pancreatic cancer cells. If you know anything about pancreatic cancer, you know it is an especially fatal type. However, the fact that the Graviola was tested in tubes and human subjects holds hope for people with cancer.
Researchers at Virginia Tech also found this to be the case for breast cancer. They used graviola fruit extract to reduce cancer growth without causing any damage to healthy skin tissue in the breast. In mice, the extract reduced the growth of tumors by a whole 32%! Unfortunately, a similar study has not yet been conducted on human cancer patients, so caution is advised – however, the prospects are reasonable considering the test results in the mice experiments. As scientists continue to study the fruit, we will learn even more about the health benefits of Graviola. Who else has a feeling that the future holds good results for us?
Additionally, Graviola fruit is an excellent combination of vitamins and minerals to give your body that extra sustenance it wants. Soursop contains a decent dosage of fiber, protein, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and thiamine. In addition, Graviola fruit contains iron, riboflavin, niacin, and folate in small doses. However, the most important of its compounds are the antioxidants it contains. Free radicals, which are harmful compounds to the body, will typically damage the body’s cells and accelerate the body’s aging process. This is where the Graviola fruit’s antioxidants make a difference. These antioxidants may also play a role in preventing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Another still not widely known benefit is that soursop can significantly affect the skin. Studies have shown that soursop leaf extract can help prevent skin papilloma, which causes eruptions on the skin. It has also been shown that the same extract can calm babies’ skin. However, the benefits of this fruit are still relatively unexplored, so more studies are needed to prove its benefits on the human body’s skin and hair.
Graviola fruit has also been known as a good aid in the fight against bacteria. Some studies show that soursop has powerful antibacterial properties as well. Extracts of this fruit were used on different types of bacteria and proved highly beneficial when combating bacteria in the mouth. In one test tube, graviola killed off strains of bacteria that cause yeast infections, gingivitis, and tooth decay. Another test-tube showed how potent this fruit could be in the fight against cholera and Staphylococcus infections. However, it’s important to remember these tube tests work with a highly-concentrated extract. This does not compare to the amount you would typically get through your diet, so it’s best to remember that graviola fruit still needs to be studied to thoroughly deliver its benefits to people.
Another one of graviola’s health benefits is connected to the inflammation levels in the body. Having said this, inflammation is a natural process in the body that occurs as an organic response to injury. However, studies have shown that chronic inflammation can lead to several diseases in the human body.
In one study conducted on rats, it’s been shown that Graviola contributed to decreasing swelling and alleviating inflammation. Additionally, in another animal study, it’s been shown that specific inflammatory markers involved in arthritis have been decreased with the help of the soursop extract.
Other animal studies have also shown that graviola fruit extract may play an essential role in decreasing blood sugar levels. Diabetic rats were injected with soursop extracts for two weeks, and their blood sugar levels decreased by five times compared to those that hadn’t been administered the extract.
Although graviola fruit extracts have only been tested on animals, the results shown by these tests are surprising and hold hope for future human health development.
Another thing to remember is that Graviola fruit contains fatty acid derivatives called annonaceous acetogenins. Among these, annonacin is most predominant and is linked to a certain degree of toxicity which would not make the Graviola fruit safe to use orally. Additionally, some studies show that, when eaten orally, the graviola fruit may contribute to movement disorders similar to Parkinson’s disease. So it’s best to avoid consuming this fruit like this.
To this end, caution is advised, as with any other natural product. Although it is said the Graviola fruit has many different benefits regarding several health conditions, sufficient clinical trials have yet to be conducted to prove this. Therefore, dosage should always be calculated considering the user’s age, health, and other conditions. Always consult your physician before using Graviola fruit or starting a graviola-based treatment.
Overall, nature is a treasure chest of wonders meant for us to enjoy and organically integrate into our lives. The Graviola fruit is one of these bonuses that Mother Nature has prepared for us and to the consumption of which we are graciously invited. This fruit is versatile and can be used as an additional extract in teas and to add flavoring to baked goods. However, enjoy the benefits of this exotic fruit only after you have your doctor’s approval.