Benefits of Soursop
Traditional medicines use leaves from the graviola tree, common in tropical forests, to treat conditions such as cancer and infections. Graviola’s scientific name is annona muricata and, it’s commonly called soursop, guanabana, Brazilian paw paw or custard apple. If you live in a tropical climate where the trees grow, you can use two or three fresh leaves to brew tea. Otherwise, you can purchase capsule, tablet or tincture supplements of graviola in health stores.
The leaves of the graviola tree have powerful anti-cancer properties coming from phytochemicals in the plant. The journal “Cancer Letters” published a study looking at the impact of graviola on pancreatic cancer. Supplementing with graviola stopped cancerous pancreatic tumor cells from replicating and caused them to die. Researchers suggest this natural medicine may prevent and treat cancer. The leaves may also be useful for treating skin cancer when applied topically.
Treating Viral Infections
Traditional medicines use graviola leaves as treatment for viral infections. An article published in “The Journal of Ethnopharmacology” in May of 1998 found that extracts from the leaves suppressed the herpes simplex virus. The herpes virus is spread through bodily fluids and often transmitted while kissing or through sexual contact. According the University of Maryland Medical Center, up to 90 percent of the U.S. population has been exposed to one form of the virus and there is no cure. Some anti-viral medications can reduce the number of outbreaks or lessen symptoms. More research is needed to determine what role graviola can play in the treatment or prevention of herpes.
Supplementing with graviola leaves may reduce swelling and pain, according to a study published in May of 2010 in the “International Journal of Molecular Sciences.” Researchers gave mice with burned paws extracts of graviola leaf and observed their behaviors. Those given the supplement had less swelling and demonstrated fewer indications of pain. However, more research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of this use in humans.