Soursop : an alternative cancer treatment

Soursop is the fruit of Annona muricata, a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree native to Mexico, Cuba, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America, primarily Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Soursop is also produced in some parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. It is in the same genus as the chirimoya and the same family as the pawpaw.

The soursop is adapted to areas of high humidity and relatively warm winters; temperatures below 5 °C (41 °F) will cause damage to leaves and small branches, and temperatures below 3 °C (37 °F) can be fatal. The fruit becomes dry and is no longer good for concentrate.

Soursop is widely promoted (sometimes as "graviola") as a alternative cancer treatment. There is however no medical evidence that it is effective

The plant is grown as a commercial herb crop for its 20--30 cm (7.9--12 in) long, prickly, green fruit, which can have a mass of up to 15 lb (6.8 kg), making it probably the second biggest annona after the junglesop.

The flesh of the fruit consists of an edible, white pulp, some fiber, and a core of indigestible, black seeds. The species is the only member of its genus suitable for processing and preservation.

The pulp is also used to make fruit nectar, smoothies, fruit juice drinks, as well as candies, sorbets, and ice cream flavorings.

The fruit contains significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B2. Laboratory and field research suggests that soursop-derived substances may have potential for various future applications, since they have shown antileishmanial and cytotoxic, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anticancer effects in laboratory experiments. Large-scale studies in humans have not been done.

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02 October 2014

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