Graviola, or soursop, is a tropical fruit native to South America and the Caribbean.
Known also as custard apple (THAT sounds good) and paw paw, the spiky fruit of this tree is very sweet, with a flavor that’s a cross between pineapples and strawberries.
While its delicious fruit contains important vitamins and antioxidants, the leaves have been used for time immemorial for their anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antibacterial properties.
Graviola leaf tea (instructions below) can be used to treat many health conditions. A prime focus has become its anti-cancer effects, documented in a 2013 study:
“It [graviola] has a wide potent anticancerous agents coined as Acetogenins which play a key role towards many varieties of cancer, Acetogenins are potent inhibitors of NADH oxidase of the plasma membranes of cancer cells… Graviola leaves were collected, and the extracted components were tested against the HeLa cell line and PC3 [prostate cancer] cell line. HeLa cells treated with 75 μg of a crude leaf extract of A. muricata showing 80% of cell inhibition.”(1)
Another study involving the use of graviola on pancreatic cancer cells was also very promising. Pancreatic cancer is notoriously resistant to regular chemotherapy—a graviola extract was found to inhibit tumor growth.(2)
Warning: Graviola And Meds
Care must be taken when using any medicine for any purpose, including plants. Each person’s chemistry is different and what is beneficial to one may have adverse effects in another. Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center advises that use of graviola is contraindicated under the following conditions:
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- You are taking blood pressure medications: Graviola may increase their effects.
- You are taking diabetic medications: Graviola may increase their effects.
- You have liver or kidney disease: Graviola can cause liver and kidney toxicity with repeated use.
- You are having nuclear imaging: Graviola can reduce tissue uptake of radiopharmaceuticals used for diagnosis or treatment.
- You have low platelet count: Graviola may reduce platelet count.
Other uses of graviola:
This painful, sometimes chronic, skin condition is one manifestation of a weakened immune system. It can also be caused by environmental irritants. The sores and itching can become unbearable. A graviola poultice applied to eczema patches provides direct relief; ingesting its tea can get to the root of the condition to prevent it from recurring.
Immune System Support
Any substance that inhibits cancerous cells is by definition supporting the immune system. It’s not limited to cancer, of course: the immune system targets any abnormal or foreign cell in the body—such as viruses and bacteria—for elimination and disposal.
Phytochemicals annonaceous acetogenins are found in graviola; they are long-chain fatty acids that are responsible for the antitoxic effect. In addition, graviola contains significant amounts of vitamin C—a potent antiviral—and vitamin B1 (thiamine), the “anti-stress” vitamin because it boosts the metabolism.(4)
Graviola is a powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic, relieving the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.(5) Make a poultice from the leaves by boiling and mashing the leaves and applying to the affected area twice a day.
Urinary Tract Infection
Many people have found themselves susceptible to UTI—it’s caused by E.coli bacteria that enter the urine, usually through the urethra, and travel through the tract. Soursop kills these harmful bacteria.
How to make soursop tea.
- Boil 1 quart of water.
- Chop 15 soursop leaves and stems (preferably fresh but dried will do) and add to boiling water. Simmer uncovered on low heat until reduced by half.
- Drink tea hot, warm, or cold up to 3 times a day.