Guanabana 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?
The 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.
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.
Indigenous tribes in Guyana use a guanabana leaf tea of as a sedative and heart tonic.
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:
- 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.