COMMON NAMES: Soursop, Graviola, Guanabana, Brazilian Paw Paw, Corossolier, Guanavana, Toge-Banreisi, Durian benggala, Nangka blanda, Nangka londa
PARTS USED: Leaves, Seeds, Fruit
PROPERTIES/ACTIONS: Antibacterial, Anticancerous, Antiparasitic, Antitumorous, Antispasmodic, Astringent, Cytotoxic, Febrifuge, Hypotensive, Insecticide, Nervine, Pectoral, Piscicide, Sedative, Stomachic, Vasodilator, Vermifuge
TRADITIONAL USES: Analgesic, Antispasmodic, Asthma, Astringent, Childbirth, Chills, Fevers, Flu, Diuretic, Gall-Bladder Tea, Glactagogue, Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, Insomnia, Lactagogue, Nervousness, Neuralgia, Palpitation, Parasites, Rash, Rheumatism, Ringworm, Sedative, Scurvy, Skin Disease, Tranquilizer, Vermifuge
TRADITIONAL REMEDY: One-half cup leaf infusion or bark decoction 1-3 times daily or 1-3 ml of a 4:1 tincture twice daily or 2 to 5 grams of powdered leaves in tablets or capsules twice daily.
Graviola is a small, upright evergreen tree growing 5 to 6 meters in height with large dark green and glossy leaves. It is indigenous to most of the warmest tropical areas in South and North America including the Amazon. It produces a large heart-shaped edible fruit that is 6-9", yellow green in color, with white flesh. The fruit is sold in local markets in the tropics where it is called Guanabana or Brazilian Cherimoya. All parts of the Graviola tree are used in natural medicine in the tropics including the bark, leaves, roots, fruit and fruit-seeds. Different properties and uses are attributed to the different parts of the tree. Generally the fruit and fruit juice is taken for worms and parasites, to cool fevers, to increase mother's milk after childbirth (lactagogue), and as an astringent for diarrhea and dysentery. The crushed seeds are used as a vermifuge and anthelmintic against internal and external parasites and worms. The bark, leaves and roots are considered sedative, antispasmodic, hypotensive and nervine and a tea is made for various disorders for those purposes.
Graviola has a long rich history of use in herbal medicine as well as a long recorded indigenous use. In the Peruvian Andes, a leaf tea is used for catarrh and the crushed seed is 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 leaf and/or bark tea of Graviola as a sedative and heart tonic. In the Brazilian Amazon, a leaf tea is used for liver problems and the oil of the leaves and unripe fruit is mixed with olive oil and used externally for neuralgia, rheumatism and arthritis pain. In Jamaica, Haiti and the West Indies, the fruit and/or fruit juice is used for fevers, parasites, as a lactagogue, and diarrhea; and the bark or leaves are used as an antispasmodic, sedative, and nervine for heart conditions, coughs, grippe, difficult childbirth, asthma, asthenia, hypertension and parasites.
Many bioactive compounds and
phytochemicals have been found in Graviola as scientists have been studying its
properties since the 1940's. Its many uses in natural medicine has been
validated by this scientific research. The earliest studies were between 1941
and 1962. Several studies by different researchers demonstrated that the bark as
well as the leaves had hypotensive, antispasmodic, vasodilator, smooth muscle
relaxant and cardiodepressant activities in animals. Researchers re-verified
Graviola leaf's hypotensive properties in rats again in 1991. Several studies
over the years have demonstrated that leaf, bark, root, stem and seed extracts
of Graviola are antibacterial in vitro against numerous pathogens and that the
bark has antifungal properties. Graviola seeds demonstrated active antiparasitic
properties in a 1991 study, and a leaf extract showed to be active against
malaria in two other studies in 1990 and 1993. The leaves, root, and seeds of
Graviola demonstrated insecticidal properties with the seed demonstrating strong
insecticidal activity in a early 1940 study. In a new 1997 clinical study, novel
alkaloids were found in Graviola fruit with anti-depressive effects in animals.
In an 1976 plant screening program by the National Cancer Institute, the leaves and stem of Graviola showed active cytotoxicity against cancer cells and researchers have been following up on this research ever since. Much of the research on Graviola focuses on a novel set of phytochemicals called annonaceous acetogenins. The potent antitumor, pesticidal and/or insect antifeedant properties of these annonaceous acetogenins have been reported and patented. Graviola produces these natural compounds in leaf, bark and twig tissues, and they have be documented to possess both highly anti-tumor and pesticidal properties. Active compounds from Graviola and other Annona plants have been submitted to the NIH anti-AIDS screen by Purdue University and their work is continuing with a number of other active plant species in the Annona plant family. Thus far, Purdue and/or it's staff have filed at least 9 U.S. and/or international patents on their work around the antitumorous and insecticidal properties and uses of these acetogenins. Three separate research groups have isolated novel compounds in the seeds and leaves of Graviola which have demonstrated significant anti-tumorous, anticancerous and selective toxicity against various types of cancer cells, publishing 8 clinical studies on their findings. One study demonstrated that an acetogenin in Graviola was selectively cytotoxic to colon adenocarcinoma cells in which it was 10,000 times the potency of adriamycin (a chemotherapy drug). Cancer research is ongoing on Graviola, and four new studies have been published in 1998 which further narrow down the specific phytochemicals which are demonstrating the strongest anticancerous and antiviral properties.
In a review of these natural chemicals in The Journal of Natural Products in 1999 they noted that Annonaceous acetogenins are promising new antitumor and pesticidal agents, which are found only in the plant family Annonaceae." Chemically, they are derivatives of long-chain fatty acids. Biologically, they exhibit their potent bioactivities through depletion of ATP levels via inhibiting complex I of mitochondria and inhibiting the NADH oxidase of plasma membranes of tumor cells. Thus, they thwart ATP-driven resistance mechanisms." In general, various annonaceous acetogenins have been documented with antitumor, antiparasitic, pesticidal, antiprotozoal, antifeedant, anthelmintic, and antimicrobial activities. There is much interest in the chemicals that have demonstrated potent antitumor properties.
In the June issue of Cancer Letters, Purdue researchers reported that the Annonaceous acetogenin, bullatacin, preferentially killed multi-drug resistant cancer cells because it blocked production of adenosine triphosphate, ATP, the chief energy-carrying compound in the body. In 1997, Purdue University published information with promising news that several of the Annonaceous acetogenins are not only are effective in killing tumors that have proven resistant to anti-cancer agents, but also seem to have a special affinity for such resistant cells. Cancer cells that survive chemotherapy may develop resistance to the agent originally used against them as well as to other, even unrelated, drugs. The term multi-drug resistance (MDR) has been applied to this phenomenon. Cancer research will obviously be ongoing on these important plants and plant chemicals as several pharmaceutical companies continue to research, test and attempt to synthesize these chemicals into new chemotheraputic drugs.
Graviola is safe enough that it protects healthy cells instead of killing them, doesn't cause extreme nausea or hair loss and this treatment doesn't make cancer patients drop huge amounts of weight, get weak, or compromise their immune systems.
Herbal Secrets of the Rainforest, "Tropical Plant Database," Ms. Leslie Taylor, Prima Publishing, September, 1998.
GRAVIOLA (SOURSOP) - 1 OZ LEAF
GRAVIOLA (SOURSOP) - 1 0Z POWDER