The history of Soursop (guanabana or graviola) use in herbal medicine is long and reaches far into past. In the Andes the tea of leaves is used for catarrh (inflammation of the mucous membrane) and ground seeds are used against parasites. In Amazonia the bark, roots and leaves are used for diabetes and as sedative and antispasmodic. Native tribes in Guiana drink tea of leaves and/or of bark as sedative and cardio tonic. In Brazilian Amazonia the tea of leaves is used for hepatic problems. The oil of leaves and the unripe fruits are mixed with olive oil and used externally for neuralgia, rheumatism and arthritic pains. In Jamaica, Haiti and in the West Indies, the fruits and/or juice of the fruits are used for fevers, parasites, diarrhoea and as lactagogue; the bark or the leaves then as spasmolytic, sedative and nervous tranquillizer, for heart rhythm moderation, against cough, influenza, difficult childbirth, asthma, asthenia, hypertension and parasites.
From the forties, when the research of graviola properties started, a lot of active substances and chemical compounds had been discovered in it. The research mainly concentrates on a new group of chemical substances which are called annonacenic acetogenines. Soursop (Graviola, Guanabana) produces these natural compounds in the leaves, fruit, the footstalk, the bark and the seeds. Three independent research teams confirmed in their eight clinical studies that these substances have considerable anti-oncogenous properties and selective toxicity against different types of cancerous cells (without harming sound cells). Many of acetogenines demonstrated selective toxicity against cancerous cells even at very small dosages - as small as one fraction to one million. In 1998 four studies, further specifying chemical components and acetogenines with the strongest anti-cancerous, anti-oncogenous and antivirus properties, were published. According to a study on animals of 1997, the alkaloids newly discovered in graviola fruits acted anti-depressively.
Annonacenic acetogenines appear only in the Annonaceae family, which Soursop is the main member. Anti-oncogenous, anti-parasitic, insecticidal and antimicrobial effects of these chemical compounds in general were documented. Studies on the way they act, carried recently out in three independent laboratories, found out that these acetogenines act as excellent inhibitors of enzymatic processes which only occur in membranes of the cells of the cancerous tumour. That is why they are toxic for cancer cells, but have no effect on sound cells.
The recommended medical dosage of leaves of graviola is about 1 gram, 1 to 2 times a day. Much thought and research has been put into The Soursop Tea. Consisting of Soursop fruit and leaf, it harnesses all the positive benefits of this natural healer. This powerhouse powder is easily added to any tea, beverage or smoothie.
Soursop (Graviola, Guanabana) is certainly a promising natural remedy and one of those, which will again stress the importance of protection and preservation of the ecosystem of rain forests. Perhaps – as enough people believe that a possible medical remedy against cancer really hides in the plant from the rain forest – necessary steps to protect the remains of the rain forests, before they are extinguished, will be taken.