Guanabana (Fruit, Tea): Scientifically Proven Health Benefits (Extensively Researched)

Guanabana (Fruit, Tea): Scientifically Proven Health Benefits

Guanabana (also called soursop or graviola) is a fruit that grows in tropical climates, and guanabana extracts are prized for their proven health benefits. Scientific research into the medicinal properties of the guanabana leaf, pulp, and skin extracts has revealed its potential as a potent natural remedy for many ailments.

Extracts from the guanabana fruit have been linked to treating cancer, reducing inflammation, using as an antioxidant, and improving cardiovascular health. It seems that the potential health benefits of guanabana are wide a varied.

In this article, I will examine what medical research has revealed as to the many therapeutic ways to use guanabana (soursop). I will also look at the medical research behind using guanabana for treating cancer to see if it can really cure cancer.

What is Guanabana (Soursop or Graviola)?

Guanabana (botanical name, Annona muricate) is from the plant family Annonaceae and has been used for centuries for its healing power. The guanabana (also called soursop or graviola) fruit tree grows in subtropical regions of the world. The guanabana leaves, bark, roots, seeds, and flesh of the fruit are all used for their therapeutic properties. (1)

The guanabana fruit contains numerous large, black seeds inside white fleshy fruit. If you haven’t tasted it yet, the graviola has a very sweet taste with just a slight acidic edge. Many people say that guanabana fruit tastes like a cross between a pineapple and strawberry.

The fruit contains significant amounts of Vitamins B1 and B2, as well as vitamin C, but what is amazing about it is its medicinal value and its potential to fight cancer.

Nutritional Value of Guanabana

Studies into the nutritional value of guanabana have revealed that it is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

One fruit of the guanabana tree contains over 80% of your recommended daily intake of fiber. Guanabana fruit also contains more than double your daily recommended vitamin C intake and also contains vitamin E and K as well as B-group vitamins. (2)

Research has also shown that soursop contains minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, and selenium. (1)

Main Beneficial Components in Guanabana (Soursop or Graviola)

The main interest in the healing and medicinal potential of soursop is as a treatment for cancer.

Studies into extracts of guanabana or soursop show that the leaves, seeds, roots, fruits, and bark contain over 100 annonaceous acetogenins. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute say that annonaceous acetogenins can help to destroy cancer cells and block cancer cells replicating themselves. (3, 38)

Interestingly, only fruit from the plant family Annonaceae contain these natural anticancer agents. (4)

A report from 2017 said there are over 200 chemical compounds in guanabana with therapeutic potential. These alkaloids, phenols, and phytochemicals have anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and insecticidal properties. (5)

Health Benefits of Guanabana (Soursop or Graviola)

Let’s look in more detail at the many ways that you can use soursop (guanabana) extracts from the seeds, bark, or fruits to help treat many medical conditions.

Guanabana Has Anti-Cancer Effects

Scientists have carried out a lot of guanabana cancer research to find out its potential as a cancer cure. The potential to use graviola extracts as a cancer treatment is to do with the presence of acetogenins.

Before promoting guanabana or graviola as a miracle cure for cancer, it’s important to remember that much of the research was carried out in vitro. This means the cancer treatment potential of guanabana was only seen in “test-tube” experiments. However, as you will see, scientific studies show the possibility that guanabana could be used to treat cancer in the future.

Researchers in India reported in 2014 that guanabana extracts from the fruit seeds, leaves, stems, and bark produce annonaceous acetogenins. They described these compounds as having real potential for cancer therapies. (6)

For example, clinical research on extracts of graviola leaves in 2014 found that the extracts seem to just target cancer cells. In an in vitro experiment, graviola extracts had a cytotoxic effect (meaning it destroys living cells) on certain tumor cells but did not affect healthy cells. (7)

Guanabana may treat breast cancer

Research from 2016 showed that extracts from the graviola fruit have promising results in treating breast cancer. The extract samples had an anticancer effect on breast cancer cells in mice and prevented the spread of the disease. The researchers concluded that the soursop sample has a potentially effective therapeutic effect on treating cancer. (8)

The journal Advances in Breast Cancer Research in 2014 reported on one woman who underwent chemotherapy to treat breast cancer. She supplemented her treatment with graviola tea by boiling 10-12 dried leaves for 5-7 minutes and drinking daily. After completing chemotherapy, she continued using the guanabana tea treatment. Her condition remained stable for at least 5 years. (9)

For more information on breast cancer, please see my article on the best foods to eat to help prevent breast cancer.

Guanabana may help treat cervical cancer

Experimental research on guanabana leaf extracts has shown that they could help treat cervical cancer. Scientists say that the acetogenins in guanabana extracts can help destroy cancer cells in various types of tumors. (10)

Other lab research has shown the potential of using guanabana seed extracts to treat endometrial cancer. (11)

To find out how to reduce your risk of endometrial cancer, please see my article on how to spot the first signs of endometrial (uterine) cancer.

Studies on the effect of guanabana on prostate cancer

The anticancer properties of guanabana fruit powder extracts could also help to reduce prostate tumors. According to research published in 2016, guanabana extracts have a potent effect against prostate cancer cells. (12)

Guanabana leaf extract may help to treat prostate cancer tumors according to a study from 2015. (13)

Guanabana extracts on reducing skin cancer

Trials using mice have shown that extracts from guanabana leaves can help to destroy skin cancer tumors. The guanabana leaf extracts have a powerful antioxidant effect on the skin and contain anticancer compounds like annonacin. (14)

You should never ignore any mole that starts changing shape or bleeds. For more information, please see my article on how to identify signs of skin cancer.

The potential of guanabana in treating lung cancer

Clinical trials have shown that graviola leaf extracts can help kill off cancerous cells in lung cancer tumors. Researchers discovered that guanabana extracts can not only prevent lung cancer cells from spreading, but also activate cancerous cell death. (15)

Guanabana leaf extracts to treat colon cancer

Research in 2017 found a promising use for using guanabana leaf extract to treat colorectal cancer.

A randomized controlled trial was carried out on humans who had had a colorectal cancerous tumor removed. Blood tests from the group taking guanabana leaf extracts showed that the extracts were helping to kill off cancerous cells. (16)

You can get familiar with these warning signs of colorectal cancer, and reduce your risk of developing it by taking these 11 steps.

Guanabana as a possible treatment for other cancers

Guanabana therapy for treating cancer has also been linked to identifying the potential for other forms of cancer treatments.

Pancreatic cancer. In vitro experiments and trials on mice have found a possible use for guanabana in treating pancreatic cancer. Experiments showed that naturally-occurring compounds in guanabana inhibit cancer cell growth. Researchers said that consuming guanabana extracts has a therapeutic potential for pancreatic cancer when used alongside chemotherapy. (17)

Leukemia. A study published in 2016 found that methanol extracts of graviola can help to treat blood cancer. Graviola extracts were found to have cytotoxic activity in fighting hematological cancers. (18)

Liver cancer. Extracts of the guanabana fruit tree have shown that they have a cytotoxic effect on liver cancer cells. Researchers even suggested that Annona muricate extract (guanabana fruit extract) could be used as an alternative treatment for cancer. (19)

You can find more information about liver cancer in my article about 10 symptoms of liver cancer & how to reduce your risk.

Guanabana is a Powerful Antioxidant

Soursop leaf, fruit, seed, and bark extracts have amazing antioxidant properties that can help to prevent the effect of free radicals in your body.

For example, guanabana bark extract can help to boost the body’s defenses against the negative effect of air pollution and other toxins. Other studies have shown that the seeds and leaves of the soursop plant contain antioxidants with DNA protective effects. (1)

The fact that guanabana is also a rich source of vitamin C and also contains vitamin E just boosts its antioxidative potential.

To find out about other foods to help prevent the effect of free radicals in your body, please see my article on the top foods containing antioxidants.

Guanabana Has Antimicrobial Properties

You can also use products containing guanabana extracts to help fight off infections and destroy various microbial pathogens.

Antibacterial activity of guanabana. Extracts of guanabana leaves can help kill off various strains of bacteria. One study on the antibacterial effect of guanabana leaf extract found it effective in eliminating oral bacteria like Streptococcus mutans. (20)

Antifungal properties of soursop. Guanabana also has the potential to be used as an anti-fungal agent to treat various fungal infections. Leaf extracts of the guanabana plant were said to be highly effective against Candida fungal infections. (20)

Guanabana May Have Anti-inflammatory Properties

Drinking herbal tea made from guanabana leaves can help to treat chronic inflammation in the body.

One study found that guanabana tea inhibited molecules that are connected with inflammation. (21) Other studies have shown that leaf extracts of guanabana can be just as effective in treating acute and chronic inflammation. (22)

To learn about using diet to manage chronic inflammation, please see my article on what you should eat to reduce inflammation in the body.

Guanabana May Help to Boost Your Immune System

Guanabana extracts have immune-boosting compounds.

Researchers discovered in 2016 that guanabana leaf extracts enhance immunity by activating cytokines. The researchers described guanabana as having health-promoting compounds to strengthen immunity. (23)

To help reduce your chance of infections, find out in this article how to boost your immune system almost immediately.

Guanabana May Combat the Symptoms of Diabetes

If you suffer from diabetes, consuming soursop tea could help to manage your symptoms.

In experimental trials, extracts from the soursop leaf produced antioxidant enzymes in mice. Scientists noted that these extracts had a positive effect in lowering blood sugar levels, and cholesterol. Consuming soursop tea also boosted insulin levels in diabetic subjects. (24)

If you suffer from diabetes, learn about the best foods that control the symptoms of diabetes.

Guanabana Has Anti-hypertension Properties

Another benefit of soursop leaves is that they help to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients.

In one study, leaf extracts from guanabana were effective in reducing hypertension. In the study, scientists noted that guanabana extracts affected neurotransmitters that have an effect on blood pressure. (25)

Other studies have confirmed that soursop can help reduce hypertension as well as lowering blood glucose levels. (26)

Did you know that there are other ways to reduce blood pressure naturally?

Guanabana Can Improve Heart Health

Of course, any natural remedy that lowers blood pressure and cholesterol could also have a positive effect on the health of your heart.

Research into the health benefits of guanabana have shown that certain compounds in guanabana actually strengthen the heart muscle. In 2016 researchers reported that extracts from the Annona muricata plant improve heart muscle contractions. (27)

You should know how to identify the signs of a heart attack. Please read this article to find out easy ways to reduce your risk of having a cardiac arrest.

Guanabana May Reduce Depression

Guanabana can help to reduce the emotional effects of anxiety and stress.

Scientists have discovered that compounds isolated from guanabana fruit have a potential anti-depressive effect. It was found that some fruit extracts have a tranquilizing effect on the mind and could be used as a natural antidepressants. (28)

If mood disorders affect your daily life, you can learn about 5 natural ingredients to treat depression.

Guanabana Can Boost Liver Health

The abundant antioxidants in extracts from various parts of the guanabana plant can help to keep your liver in good health.

For example, extracts from the guanabana bark contain antioxidant compounds that can help remove toxins from the liver. The soursop bark extracts simulated the production of enzymes that can prevent liver damage (hepatoprotective effect). (29)

Other studies have shown that extracts from guanabana leaves can lower bilirubin produced in the liver. This is the yellowish substance that is in bile and gives stool and urine their distinct colors. The results of the experiment were that guanabana extracts prevented symptoms of jaundice because of liver dysfunction. (30)

Learn how to avoid habits that can damage your liver in this article.

Guanabana Has Anti Parasitic Properties

Research into the parasitic effect of extracts from the guanabana tree has revealed its potential to eliminate intestinal parasites.

Research has found that the same compounds in guanabana extracts that have potential in cancer treatment are also toxic to parasites. For example, scientists isolated acetogenins from guanabana extracts and found them to be effective against Leishmania (disease caused by parasites). (31)

In fact, in one lab experiment, extracts from guanabana peel was more effective at treating leishmaniasis than convention treatments. (32)

Other studies have shown that soursop stem bark extracts can help treat malaria and prevent symptoms from recurring. (33)

Do you know how to spot the tell-tale signs you have a parasite infection? In this article, find out how to treat tapeworm infections naturally.

Guanabana and its Insecticidal Effect

Various parts of the Graviola tree have strong insecticidal effects in getting rid of insect larvae and other bugs.

For example, studies have shown that seed extracts can help to kill off larvae from various insects. Also, extracts from guanabana leaves have better insecticidal effects than extracts from other insecticides at killing mosquitos. (1)

Guanabana May Help Wounds Heal Faster

Soursop extracts have the potential to help wounds heal quicker.

Research published in a surgery journal found that certain antioxidants in guanabana extracts promote wound tissue repair. Creams and ointments containing extracts from guanabana leaves have wound healing potential. (34)

Guanabana Has the Potential to Boost Male Fertility

Consuming guanabana juice can help to improve male fertility.

In one lab research study, rats were given liquid containing guanabana extracts. After a period of 60 days, scientists found that there was a significant increase in sperm count and motility. There were also increases in antioxidants and enzymes that kill off free radicals in the body’s cells. (35)

To find out other ways of increasing male fertility, please read my article on how to make sperm live longer.

Guanabana May Help Treat Stomach Ulcers

Soursop or graviola extracts also help to soothe stomach ulcers and help the stomach lining heal quicker.

Researchers say that guanabana has antiulcer properties. One study showed that taking a dose of guanabana extract to treat gastric ulcers was as effective as omeprazole – a pharmaceutical drug used for treating gastric problems. (36)

If you are troubled by burning in your stomach after eating, find out here how to relieve heartburn and stomach ulcers.

Can Guanabana Kill Cancer?

There is much controversy if guanabana (soursop or graviola) can cure cancer. Many studies published in reputable medical databases like PubMed show that guanabana extracts can reduce the size of tumors and kill off cancerous cells.

It is important to remember that there are very few significant clinical trials on using guanabana to cure cancer in humans. Most of the research into the therapeutic use of guanabana for cancer has been carried out in laboratory conditions using microscopic samples or on rodents.

However, many studies showed the potential effectiveness of using guanabana extracts to treat cancer in humans in the future. So, at present, it can’t be said with certainty that graviola can cure cancer.

In fact, a systematic review published in 2017 of many of the studies into Annona muricata (guanabana) pointed to the therapeutic potential of the plant. This includes developing ways to use guanabana extracts in disease management – including treating cancer.

The review concluded that: “A. muricata extracts seem to be some of the safest and promising therapeutic agents of the 21st century and beyond that need to be studied further for better medicinal formulations and diseases management.” (37)

Guanabana Tea

One of the best ways to get the benefits from the guanabana plant is to make yourself delicious healthy guanabana tea. This is also called soursop tea or graviola tea. For this, you can look online for pure graviola leaves or graviola tea bags.

You can also get the benefits of guanabana by drinking graviola juice or taking it in powder form.

Benefits of guanabana tea

There are some amazing health benefits of consuming guanabana tea. Many people regularly make their own graviola tea at home to help manage inflammatory conditions like arthritis or give their immunity a boost.

You may want to try drinking more guanabana tea to help deal with chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure or to use it as a heart tonic.

While some research studies point to the benefits of drinking guanabana tea to treat cancer, there is not enough research on humans to recommend this type of treatment.

How to make guanabana tea

There are a few different ways to make guanabana tea at home. Here is one guanabana tea recipe you might want to try:

  1. Put 2 or 3 dried guanabana leaves in a cup of boiling water.
  2. Leave to infuse for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Drink 2 or 3 times a day to benefit from guanabana leaf extract.

Alternatively, you can make a stronger soursop tea this way:

  1. Put 15 soursop leaves in a liter (one quart) of water and bring to the boil.
  2. Leave to simmer with the lid off until about half of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Drink one cup of therapeutic soursop tea 3 times a day to give your health a boost.

Side Effects of Guanabana

As with any remedy – natural or pharmaceutical, you may experience some side effects from long-term use.

Some researchers are concerned that particular chemicals present in guanabana may cause nerve changes and movement disorders when taken in large amounts. The nerve changes may cause symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. It is also suggested that those individuals who have Parkinson’s disease avoid the graviola since it contains annonacin which can have an adverse affect on those suffering with this disease. (38)

Because guanabana can also help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, you should consult with your healthcare provider if you take medication for diabetes or hypertension.

Pregnant women should avoid consuming guanabana tea or guanabana extracts as no research has been carried out to see how it affects pregnancy.

Evidence suggests that it can have an adverse effect when taken with commonly prescribed anti-depressants as well.

It is unlikely that drinks or foods containing graviola could harm you when taken as part of a normal diet, but always talk to your doctor before taking any kind of supplement or alternative therapy.

Where to Buy Guanabana

Most people are not able to buy fresh guanabana fruits. To get the benefits from soursop or guanabana, you can buy various forms of supplements and extracts online. For example, you can purchase a variety of guanabana (graviola) products in Amazon here.

For example, graviola extracts can be purchased in convenient capsules. There is no recommended dose, but most manufacturers advise taking 500 mg soursop per day to enjoy the benefits of guanabana.

You can also buy graviola in powder form that can be added to hot water to make graviola tea. Powdered guanabana can also be added to smoothies or sprinkled on salads to help improve your health.

You can also buy guanabana extract as a tincture that you take with a glass of water.

Other online stores sell dried guanabana leaves, guanabana pulp, or you can buy soursop juice.

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