The soursop tree is an evergreen flowering tree of the genus Annona and the family, Annonaceae. It is also known by the name of Graviola. The scientific name of soursop is Annona muricata, and it is native to the regions of Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America. Today, it is grown in some other parts of the world, especially in Southeast Asia.
The soursop tree is mainly known for its medicinal properties and its delicious fruits. The fruit is large with a thin, green-colored skin covered with conical nibs. The pulp is white and soft, and quite delicious. It has both sweet and sour taste. The fruit can be eaten directly, or its pulp can be pressed and strained to extract the juice, which is not only delectable, but also rich in many essential nutrients.
Soursop Juice Benefits
The flesh or pulp of the fruit, from which the juice is extracted, is very rich in fiber, carbohydrates, and other nutrients, like vitamin B1 and B2, vitamin C, and potassium. On the other hand, it is quite low in saturated fats and sodium. About 1 cup of undiluted juice or nectar contains 160 calories.
Certain compounds found in the extracts derived from the fruits, seeds, bark, and the leaves of the soursop tree have been observed to be effective in destroying cancerous cells in some laboratory studies. The leaves of this tree have been found to be particularly effective in killing cancer cells without harming the healthy cells of the body. Moreover, the extract derived from the leaves does not affect the immune system adversely, unlike the chemotherapy drugs.
In 1976, a study was carried out by the 'National Cancer Institute' to find out the effectiveness of soursop in treating cancer. Later, several other studies were conducted to find out the relation between these two. Apart from the ability to kill cancer cells, this fruit has several other health benefits. The seeds of this fruit can be used for inducing vomiting, while the juice can be immensely beneficial for treating urethritis. It can also help treat hematuria which is a condition characterized by the presence of blood in urine.
Soursop juice can help alleviate liver ailments as well. The juice is usually taken while fasting in order to cure liver problems. It may also prove beneficial in conditions like leprosy. The pulp of the fruit, as well as the crushed leaves of the tree, can be used as a poultice to ensure fast healing of wounds. Apart from these, the various parts of the tree, including its leaves and the young shoots have been used for conditions, like cough, catarrh, fever, gallbladder problems, inflammation and swelling, diarrhea, indigestion, rheumatism, dysentery, eczema, and some other skin problems.
To sum up, soursop is not only a delicious, but also a very nutritious fruit. However, it is imperative to talk to a physician before considering to use it for medicinal purposes. If taken in large dosage, it can induce vomiting and depress the cardiovascular system. It can also induce uterine contractions, for which pregnant women should not use this fruit for medicinal purposes. All these possible side effects need to be considered before using this fruit, or any other part of the tree for the treatment of cancer and other ailments.