Graviola tree & cancer
Graviola, also known as guanabana and soursop, is a tropical evergreen tree. It produces a tasty fruit that is sold in Caribbean, Southeast Asian, and South and Central American markets. Herbalists treat cancer, diabetes, spasms, anxiety, parasites and other medical conditions with graviola. Researchers are studying graviola's potential as an anti-cancer treatment. Seek advice from a physician before using graviola medicinally. Description
Cooks prize the delicious and subtle flavor of the graviola fruit. Desserts, liqueurs and drinks are concocted using this fruit, which is also called custard apple and Brazilian paw paw. Since graviola fruit does not ship well, it is primarily available in the United States as a canned nectar beverage, or sometimes as preserved or frozen pulp. Indigenous people of the tropics use all parts of the graviola tree medicinally. Cancer
Test-tube and animal research demonstrates that graviola may be an anti-cancer agent, but human clinical trial research is lacking. According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, MSKCC, graviola extract proved to be effective against liver cancer and breast cancers cells. Naturopath Leslie Taylor, author of "The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs," notes that studies show graviola has an inhibitory effect on enzyme processes in some cancer cell membranes. Interestingly, graviola only affected cancer cells membranes and not those of healthy cells. This research may lend support to the herb's traditional use against cancer.
Researchers think that phytochemicals called Annonaceous acetogenins, present in the leaves and bark, are the tree's bioactive constitutents, according to Barrie Cassileth's article in the September 2008 issue of "Oncology." In the laboratory, graviola extracts were successful against leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease caused by the protozoa leishmania. The extract also effectively combated the herpes simplex virus, which can cause genital herpes and fever blisters. Graviola influences the body's serotonin neuroreceptors and may work as an anti-depressant, writes Cassileth.
In test-tube research, the roots and seeds of the graviola tree have demonstrated an initial toxicity to some neurons. MSKCC notes that graviola's possible neurotoxic action may lead to symptoms of a condition similar to Parkinson's disease. According to Taylor, the plant can lower blood pressure and can cause vomiting and nausea when too much is ingested.