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The Graviola Tree

The graviola tree, Annona muricata Brazilian paw-paw, commonly called the soursop or "guanabana" in Spanish produces prickly green fruits almost 2 foot long, weighing up to 2.5 kg (5.5 lb). Native to Mexico, Cuba, Central America, the Caribbean and northern South American states like Florida, they can also be grown in South Asia.

Many people keep them as potted plants in temperate zones and protect them from cooler temperatures to live year round.

The Fruit

You can eat the fruit by cutting it open and eating fresh, or use it to make fruit smoothies, sherbets and other desserts. This all natural tasty treat has a slightly acid citrous flavor of a combination of fruits like strawberry, pineapple and banana. If you have the space, plant one in your garden.

Medicinal Properties

The interest in these Sour Sop fruits and the graviola tree mostly rests in the potential chemotherapy value to kill cancer cells naturally. We must be discerning readers of all claims and sales websites. Do your research, but also know that eating a fruit cannot harm you, but just don't expect it to save you from cancer.

Other websites make more claims about this fruit stating that besides having anti-tumor effects, graviola has been studied for its broad spectrum antimicrobial effects against bacterial and fungal infections, eliminating internal parasites and worms, for reducing high blood pressure and treating depression, stress and nervous disorders.

Other claims about the use of graviola extract during cancer treatments include:

  • Attack cancer safely and effectively with an all-natural therapy that does not cause extreme nausea, weight loss and hair loss
  • Protect your immune system and avoid deadly infections
  • Feel stronger and healthier throughout the course of the treatment
  • Boost your energy and improve your outlook on life


Please do your own investigations

You may find over 100 medical publications about the active compounds "annonaceous acetogenins" from this plant family, Annonaceae in test tubes. In essence, there have been very few actual clinical trials on humans to confirm any claims for this plant.


PubMed | Selective growth inhibition of human breast cancer cells by graviola fruit extract in vitro and in vivo involving downregulation of EGFR expression. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is an oncogene frequently overexpressed in breast cancer (BC), and its overexpression has been associated with poor prognosis and drug resistance. EGFR is therefore a rational target for BC therapy development. This study demonstrated that a graviola fruit extract (GFE) significantly downregulated EGFR gene expression and inhibited the growth of BC cells and xenografts.


PubMed | Graviola: A novel promising natural-derived drug that inhibits tumorigenicity and metastasis of pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and in vivo through altering cell metabolism. Pancreatic tumors are resistant to conventional chemotherapies. The present study was aimed at evaluating the potential of a novel plant-derived product as a therapeutic agent for pancreatic cancer (PC). The effects of an extract from the tropical tree Annona Muricata, commonly known as Graviola, was evaluated for cytotoxicity, cell metabolism, cancer-associated protein/gene expression, tumorigenicity, and metastatic properties of PC cells. Our experiments revealed that Graviola induced necrosis of PC cells by inhibiting cellular metabolism. The expression of molecules related to hypoxia and glycolysis in PC cells (i.e. HIF-1α, NF-κB, GLUT1, GLUT4, HKII, and LDHA) were downregulated in the presence of the extract. In vitro functional assays further confirmed the inhibition of tumorigenic properties of PC cells.

Memorial Sloan Kettering and resource credits | Mechanisms of Action | Annonaceous acetogenins, phytochemicals isolated from the leaves, bark and twigs of graviola, are thought to be the active ingredients. The ethanolic extract of Annona muricata was found to inhibit the Herpes simplex virus (1) and effective against Leishmania braziliensis, L. panamensis promastigotes, and the cancer cell line U 937 (3) and hepatoma cell lines(8) in vitro. Gravioloa extracts were also shown to be lethal to the fresh-water mollusk Biomphalaria glabrata, which acts as a host for the parasitic worm Schistosoma mansoni (2). Alkaloids from graviola are detrimental to the survival of dopaminergic nerve cells in vitro. This may result in neuronal dysfunction and degeneration. Graviola-induced cell death was inhibited by the supplementation of glucose suggesting that cell death was caused by energy depletion (6). Graviola may have antidepressive activity due to its ability to stimulate serotonine receptors (7). Graviola extracts were also effective against the growth of Adriamycin-resistant human mammary adenocarcinoma (MCF-7/Adr) by blocking the cancer cell’s access to ATP and by inhibiting the actions of plasma membrane glycoprotein (5)


Warning: Alkaloids extracted from graviola may cause neuronal dysfunction and degeneration leading to symptoms of Parkinson’s disease



Image credit: Wikipedia


Another article on Sour sop 


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