Guanabana fruit

What is guanabana fruit used for?

guanabana fruitGuanabana fruit is also known as soursop and is harvested from the graviola tree. The tall tropical tree is a small, upright evergreen tree that grows 15 to 18 ft (5 to 6 meters) in height.
The guanabana tree produces a large heart-shaped edible guanabana fruit that is 6 to 9 inches long. The inedible skin is yellowish green in color. Inside is white flesh dotted with 3/4 inch black or brown seeds.
You can find the fruit in most of the warmest tropical areas in South and North America including the Amazon, the Caribbean and Mexico. It also grows in south Florida.
It can also be found in local markets in the tropics.  Sometimes guanabana fruit is referred to as soursop, custard apple, custard pear, paw paw, or sometimes Brazilian cherimoya.

What is the guanabana fruit used for in the kitchen?

Guanabana fruit is excellent for making drinks, ice creams and and frozen desserts. Though it can be slightly sour and acidic, as it ripens , it can be eaten raw.

What is guanabana fruit used for in natural medicine?

GuanabanaThe guanabana fruit and fruit juice can be eaten to treat worms and parasites, to cool fevers, to increase mother’s milk after childbirth. It is also used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.
The crushed guanabana seeds in the fruit pulp are used to treat internal and external parasites and worms.

History of guanabana fruit in regional natural medicine

Guanabana fruit has a long rich history of use in herbal medicine, and among indigenous peoples in the tropics.

Peru

You find  that a tea from the guanabana leaf is used for mucus reduction in the Peruvian Andes. The crushed seeds of the fruit are used to kill parasites. In the Peruvian Amazon the bark roots and leaves are used for diabetes and as a sedative and antispasmodic.

Guyana

Indigenous tribes in Guyana use a guanabana leaf tea of as a sedative and heart tonic.

Brazil

In the Brazilian Amazon, the unripened fruit is combined with olive oil. It is used externally for neuralgia, rheumatism and to treat arthritis pain.

Jamaica and Caribbean islands

In the Caribbean, especially in Jamaica, Guanabana fruit and its juice has long been used to treat:
  • fevers
  • parasites
  • to bring in mother’s milk.
  • to ease diarrhea.
  • And, to treat cancer

Plus, it is also used for heart conditions, coughs, difficult childbirth, asthma, asthenia, hypertension and to clear parasites.

Cancer patient

Can soursop cure cancer?

Can soursop cure cancer like this cancer cell

Cancer cell close-up view

The debate about soursop as a cancer cure

Soursop has a long history of being used to fight cancer naturally. People who live in tropical climates and have readily accessible soursop fruit (guanabana) that’s grown locally. The tree is often found in people’s backyards.

The fruit tree’s leaves has long been used to make soursop tea. The raw fruit is also eaten daily in an effort to treat their cancer to beat the disease.


Caribbean Islanders similarly relate to soursop the way people from the Middle East relate to Black Seed Oil, which is said to “cure everything except death”.


If you ask any Caribbean islander, most know someone who has consumed soursop fruit, leaves or related graviola byproducts to cure cancer. Western medicine does not wholly support these claims, saying there is no absolute evidence that graviola or soursop works as a cure for cancer.

The claims are anecdotal, but there is some science that is showing promise to prove that soursop is a definitive cancer killer.

The science of soursop’s cancer fighting reputation

Claims that soursop – or graviola as some call it, or guanabana in Spanish – is an all natural cancer fighter has some basis in science and lab research.

The anti-cancer claims associated with soursop come from more than 20 laboratory studies. They have shown soursop extracts to be effective against killing a range of cancer cell lines, including:

  • breast cancer
  • lung cancer
  • colon cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • liver cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • skin cancer.
  • And many more types of cancer.

The studies show that soursop may have the ability to kill malignant cells in 12 different types of cancer. The active ingredient is thought to be a type of plant compound (phytochemical) called annonaceous acetogenins.

(Note that guanabana, soursop and graviola are all common words for the scientific name of the plant Annona muricata).

Although test-tube and animal research demonstrates that graviola may be an anti-cancer agent, there have been no clinical trials or studies in humans, and therefore the use of graviola for cancer treatment remains controversial and subject to much debate.

Researchers have examined graviola leaves, bark, seeds and fruit. What scientists do know is that soursop contains many active compounds and chemicals which have healing properties.

The curative magic of phytochemicals

At the heart of the cancer research is an examination of a compound group known as phytochemicals.

The phytochemical of interest to researchers is called asannonaceous acetogenins. Studies show that annonaceous acetogenins has potent anti-tumor properties. It exhibits selective toxic properties against tumor cells. Further clinical studies also demonstrated the powerful anti-cancerous, anti-tumorous, and antiviral properties of annonaceous acetogenins.

Recent studies have found that natural compounds of graviola, acetogenins have superb properties to inhibit the enzyme processes that are specifically present in membrane of cancerous cells. Through this mechanism of action they are toxic for cancerous cells and don’t create toxicity in healthy cells.

However, a word of caution,  no studies have yet been conducted with humans to show that soursop consumption is indeed an effective cancer inhibitor. That said, animal studies have shown extracts from the leaves can have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antidiabetic, antiulcer and antiviral effects.

Proof of soursop’s curative powers could come from clinical trials where cancer patients are treated with the fruit compounds. No have been conducted to date.


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can Soursop kill these cancer cells

Soursop’s tumor killing abilities

Purdue University published a promising news article in 1997, that showed that Annonaceous acetogenins are effective in destroying tumor cells. And, it has the ability fight cells that have shown resistance to other anti-cancer agents.

The National Cancer Institute has also explored the toxic effects of Graviola against cancerous cells in a plant screening program in 1976. They discovered that the graviola stem and leaves demonstrated active toxic effects against cancer cells.

In various vitro clinical trials, specific phytochemical acetogenins have been found in Graviola.  They have selective toxic effects against various cancerous cells like:
  • lung carcinoma cell lines,
  • prostate adenocarcinoma
  • breast tumor lines
  • liver cancer cell lines
  • pancreatic carcinoma cell lines
  • colon adenocarcinoma cell lines
  • and multidrug resistant breast adenocarcinoma.
Other clinical findings by Taiwanese scientists show that at very low dosages, annonaceous acetogenins from graviola exhibited highly toxic effects particularly to ovarian, breast, cervical, bladder and skin cancer cell lines.

In laboratory studies, graviola extracts can also kill some types of liver and breast cancer cells that are resistant to particular chemotherapy drugs.

What’s the bottom line? Can soursop cure cancer?

It appears that consuming soursop may help cancer patients fight their disease, even if scientists have yet to definitively prove it.

How to fight cancer with soursop

Where to buy graviola or soursop products

Learn more about where to buy soursop and graviola products. Here is a good list, to get you started. Plus read on.

Soursop leaves

Wild, hand-picked and naturally organic soursop leaves are available here. They are sun-dried, organic and ready for tea making.

Order guanabana leaves now 

Fresh soursop fruit

Order fresh soursop fruit from our family farmers in Grenada (in the Caribbean), delivered to you in the US by air 2 days after picking:

Vacuum sealed soursop pulp in a jar

Available on Amazon. It has a shelf life of a year in its sealed glass container. See our Gfruit review.

Additional soursop and cancer resources:

Soursop fruit for sale at a local market

Where to buy fresh soursop

buy soursop locally

Fresh soursop can sometimes be found at local markets

If you want to buy soursop fruit, it can sometimes be tough to find in North America. It is not always available in your local store or supermarket.  Here is why:

Why fresh soursop is hard to find

Fresh soursop fruit is grown primarily in tropical areas of the world. That includes northern and central South America and the Caribbean islands. It is also farmed in the United States, in southern parts of Florida, California, Nevada and New Mexico, where the weather is warm enough for the soursop tree to flourish.

It was exported in the 1500s to Africa and the graviola tree has made its way to Southeast Asian countries as well. Vietnam is well known for its soursop, and it can be found in local fruit markets.

Where buy soursop locally in the U.S.

We ship fresh soursop fruit direct from south Florida to your door via 2-Day Air courier. Fruit is source in the Caribbean.

Alternatively, if you have a Brazilian or similar South America run market locally, then you may want to check their produce section. You can occasionally find it listed as guanabana, the Spanish term for soursop. The same goes if you have a  Jamaican or Caribbean grocery in your city.

Buy fresh soursop online

Online you also have buying options. Here are sources online where you can buy soursop fruit:

Fresh soursop fruit sources:

Vacuum sealed soursop fruit

How much does soursop fruit cost?

Because soursop is a tropical fruit that ripens over a few days and then goes bad, getting the famous fruit to your door can be costly in smaller quantities. We ship it to you in the U.S. for about $15 per pound + 1-2 day air shipping ($29 to $85 depending on where you are in the US).

However you can remove the fruit pulp from the skin and freeze it, so we recommend you buy fresh fruit in volume and freeze it or share the cost with friends. It becomes more affordable.

You can also buy vacuum sealed jars of soursop pulp from Amazon for around $18/lb shipping included (using Amazon Prime). However it is not fresh from the tree.

soursop tea | graviola tea

Soursop tea questions and answers

What is soursop tea?

Soursop tea is herbal, caffeine-free tea made from the dried leaves of the graviola tree. Learn how to make soursop tea below.
Soursop tea

Is soursop tea the same as graviola tea and guanabana tea?

Soursop, graviola and guanabana are three words that mean the same thing. (See our soursop synonyms article.) The scientific name for the plant is Annona muricata. So soursop tea, graviola tea and guanabana tea is the same thing. It is dried leaves from the Annona muricata steeped in hot water for consumption for health and enjoyment.
soursop guanabana graviola

Where can I buy whole graviola leaves to make soursop tea?

You can buy whole graviola leaves to make tea online. We will soon offer packages of wild-grown, hand-picked, sun-dried soursop leaves harvested from the Caribbean. For now, you can get them here:Amazon.com.

How much soursop tea should I drink on a daily basis for healing purposes?

There is no textbook answer to the questions of how much? or how often?. Because this is a frequently asked question, here's a longer answer. Soursop consumption is not a medically recognized treatment for an medical condition. Doctors do not learn about it in medical school. The FDA does not regulate it as a pharmaceutical in the US. So there is no AMA sanctioned dosage or frequency. That said, this information is provided to help you make your own decision about how much to drink. Here's a recommendation: Start with one cup per day. If it feels good, has no adverse reaction stick with it. If you eant to increase your consumption for additional healing benefits, add a second cup later in the day. Try this for seven days, and see how you feel. If you want to be more aggressive to address a health condition, start with three cups a day at breakfast lunch and dinner. Monitor how you feel and cut back if you suffer any weird or unwanted side effects or have any concerns. When it comes to treating any condition with herbal remedies, you might want to consult a naturopathic doctor.
natural medicine

Can soursop tea be used to fight cancer?

There is anecdotal evidence that soursop can be used to fight cancer. Some claim they have cured their cancer by eating the fruit and drinking soursop tea. Medical science is less certain that it is verifiably curative. However scientists have discovered are phytochemicals found in soursop that have been shown to destroy cancerous cells, even cells that have been resistant to other anticancer therapies. Drinking several strong cups of the tea each may be a good supplementary cancer fighting technique. As always, consult your doctor of oncologist before adjusting your medical treatment.
Cancer patient

How do I make soursop tea with whole graviola leaves?

To brew soursop tea with whole dried soursop leaves, start with two to three graviola leaves to produce one to two cups of tea. Place the leaves in a cup or small teapot. Boil two cups (500 ml) of fresh water. (Use filtered water for better taste.) Add water to leaves and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove the leaves before drinking. This brew time allows you to extract flavor from the leaves for a delicious and fortifing cup of soursop tea.
graviola leaves als known as soursop leaves

How do I brew graviola tea to treat an illness for more of an impact on m health?

If you are drinking the tea to address a health issue and want maximum impact from the healing power of the graviola leaves, then here are some brewing guidelines:
  • TECHNIQUE #1 - Add one to three leaves, depending on their size to for 1 to 2 cups (250 to 500 ml) of filtered water in a stove top pan. You can crush the leaves and place in a tea infuser if you prefer. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • TECHNIQUE #2 - Add whole graviola leaves to a stove top pot with one quart (1 L) of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and and let boil uncovered until the water has been reduced by half.
Brewing notes:
  • Extra steeping time extracts more of the benefits of the graviola leaf.
  • Drink the tea at room temperature or you can reheat it.
soursop tea infuser