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Graviola (Anona Muricata L.)


Currently, the Soursop consumption is becoming more and more important, especially due to the fact that it may be able to be used to aid certain types of inflictions caused by inflammation, due to the presence of acetogenins in the leaves. These leaves have a similar effect to synthetic products, but without the side effects. 

Common names: Guanábana, Graviola, Masasamba, Corosol, Brazilian Pawpaw, etc.

Soursop: Classification

Graviola is a species from Annonácea family that includes many different species of soursop group and ebanona section. It is known by the scientific name of ANONA MURICATA L. The following table shows the scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Magnoliophyta
  • Class: Magnoliopsida
  • Order: Magnoliales
  • Family: Annonaceae
  • Genus: Annona
  • Species: Annona Muricata L.

It may be eaten as a fruit or in juices and smoothies. Furthermore, all parts of the plant may be used for different purposes.

  • Dry Fruit: Soursop (Annona Muricata L.) is eaten as a fruit, whole or in salads; it is also used as a prime material for the preparation of juices, jellies, icecreams, deserts, or homemade cakes.
  • Processed Fruit: Natural Soursop is commercialeized in frozen concéntrate, nectars, jellies and sauces. The fruit is greaty appreciated for drinks and the countries which produce it export juice in industrial quantities or in cans for end consumption. Soursop pul pis packaged in sealed plastic sleeves, in metal tubes and cardboard packages.
  • Leaves. The leaves are useddry, ground or micropowdered. Currently it is commercialized as Soursop Flour in pot or capsules.
Soursop: Origin and Description

Soursop is a fruit originating in the Americas, from a tropical tree which spontaneously grows from the south of Mexico to Brazil. There are indications that it originally came from Colombia or Brazil: It was one of the first plants which were brought to Europe after the discovery of America.

In appearance, the fruit is similar to chirimoya, a species from the same genus (A.cherimola). Soursop is from the same family. Its weight varies, up to 4 kilos. The skin is a shiny dark green color (returning to a dull green color when it ripens). The pulp is bland, generally white with a meaty texture. It is juicy and has a slight acidic flavor. The fruit has various black seed inside which are easily removed.

The tree measures 8 to 10 meters in height, cultivated in almost all the American tropics. It has meaty fruit measuring 15 to 20 cm in length.

Traditionally, the leaves and bark from the root were used to treat diabetes (infusions). Also, it is used for its antispasmodic effects. The crushed leaves, with salt, are applied as a dressing to heal tumors. The cooked leaves are used for diarrhea. The fruit is used to fight rickets.

Soursop: Chemical Composition of the Leaves
La Graviola es es un árbol pequeño (entre 8 y 10cm.) que crece cultivado en casi toda América Tropical (Centro y Sur). Sus frutos tiene un tamaño entre 15 a 20cm. y se industrializan para la preparación de jugos, néctares, mermeladas, etc. The main phytochemicals: Annonaceous acetogenins: annocatalin, annohexocin, annomonicin, annomontacin, annomuricatin A & B, annomuricin A to E, annomutacin, annonacin, (various iso, cis, iosomeric forms). annonacinone, annopentocin A to C, cis-annonacin, cis-corossolone, cohibin A to D, corepoxylone, coronin, corossolin, corossolone, donhexocin, epomuricenin A and B, gigantetrocin, gigantetrocin A & B, gigantetrocinone, gigantetronenin, goniothalamicin, isoannonacin, javoricin, montanacin, montecristin, muracin A to G, muricapentocin, muricatalicin, muricatalin, muri-catenol, muricatetrocin A & B muricatin D, muricatocin A to C muricin H, muricin I, muricoreacin, murihexocin 3, murihexocin A to C, murihexol, murisolin, robustocin, rolliniastatin 1 & 2, saba-delincuencia, solamin, uvariamicin I and IV, and xylomaticin.
Soursop: Acetogenin action on cells

The Annonaceae acetogenins are only found in the annonaceae family. In general, several of the acetogenins, annonaceae have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, protect against parasites, being a natural pesticide and anthelmintic, antiprotozoal, and antimicrobial. There has been great interest in products which protect against inflammation, and various research groups are trying to synthesize these products.

In a review of these natural products in a product journal in 1999, it was observed that: "The Annonaceae acetogenins are agents with new anti-inflammatory and anthelmintic qualities, found only in the annonaceae of the plant family".
Chemically, they are derived from long chain fatty acids. Biologically, they show their bioactivity with the reduction of ATP levels of complex I mitochondria and with inhibiting the NADH oxidase from the plasma membranes of the inflamed cells, thus, obstructing ATP-conducted mechanisms of resistance.

Soursop: Studies Carried Out
Different studies show that the consumption of Soursop may be beneficial:
  • A study carried out by Perdue University in California demonstrated that acetogenins may be able to selectively inhibit the growth of inflamed cells and also inhibit the growth of tumor cells, resistant to some medications. Another study carried out by scientists from the same university demonstrated that soursop acetogenins are extremely potent, having a LD50 (lethal dose 50) up to 10 – 9 micrograms per milliliter, being very effective.

  • Studies carried out between 1998 and 2000 by McLaughlin and Chih Hw, Chui HF showed that the acetogenins are complex I inhibitors of the oxidative phosphorylation chain. These inhibitors block the formation of ATP, energy which the tumor cells need to put their bomb into action through P glucoprotein, allowing it to stay active. The acetogenins inhibit ubiquinon oxidase as well, an enzime dependent upon the NADH, being singular for the plasma membrane of tumor cells. McLauglin carried out his investigations with the Bullatacin and Bullatacinone acetogens.

  • In March, 2002, Japanese researches published an interesting study in which different acetogenins were being studies which had been found in various plant species. They found the main acetogenin acetogeninna of Annona muricata L., called "annonacin" (in doses of 10 mg / kg).  It had effective results for inflammation caused by tumors.
Soursop: Traditional uses of the Leaf

Soursop has a long history in natural medicine, as well as a long registered history in indigenous use thanks to its properties.

  • In the Peruvian Andes, a tea is made from the leaves for the flu, and the crushed seed is used to kill parasites.
  • In the Peruvian Amazon, the leaves and the bark from the roots are used for diabetes, as a sedative and antispasmodic.
  • In the Brazilian Amazon, a tea made from the leaves is used for liver problems.
  • In Jamaica, Haiti and the western Andes, a juice made from the fruit is used to combat fever, parasites, and to stop diarrhea
  • The bark or leaves is used as an antispasmodic, a sedative, for the heart, cough, the flue, asthma, hypertension and parasites.
It is recommended for stress and to increase the intestinal flora, as well as to reduce hyperacidity. It combats cramping, diarrea, disentry, dispepsia, fever, the flu, high blood pressure, insomnia, kidney pain, stress, palpitations, to treat head lice, ringworms, and internal ulcers.
Other characteristics worth noting are its ability to inhibit bacteria, parasites, spasms, and its astringent qualities.
Soursop: Conclusion
As can be seen, consuming Soursop has certain benefits in certain inflammatory processes. There are pre-clinical studies which show this. In some ways this is backed by traditional medicine as well, where cases of surface tumors are treated with a dressing made from the leaves.

We have this extraordinary NATURAL RESOURCE which nature has given us, obtaining important benefits for inflammations from this plant. We await more clinical studies which will spread this medicine to fight against these cases.
Soursop: Warnings

Soursop has many beneficial properties, void of adverse side effects for health, though it could strengthen antihypertensive and heart depressant drugs.

  • This warning is for people with low blood pressure due to its hypertensive, vasodilator and cardiac depressant effects, for people who take medication for high blood pressure. Consult your doctor before taking any Annona Muricata L. product, so that he or she may check your blood pressure and determine the correct dosage for your necessities.
  • Products derived from Annona Muricata L. extracts could cause mild sedation or sleepiness.

  • Avoid using if pregnant.

  • It could be counterproductive for pregnancy.
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