Health Benefits of Soursop

guyabano (Image from Wikimedia Commons)When I was a child, I really did not enjoy eating soursop, a fruit that we locally call guyabano. Although I ate some occasionally, I did not feel the same excitement when I eat imported fruits like apples, grapes, tangerines, pears, etc. The pulp looks unpalatable to me, but I like the soursop juices sold in stores. (Weird) Some people I know (cousins, siblings, friends) don’t also like the fruit. I consider soursop as one of my least favorite native fruits but I wonder why old people in our community like it.

Lately, my perception on the soursop dramatically changed  when I learned that it has amazing health benefits. A local television program featured soursop as the “miraculous fruit” as it is claimed to treat cancer. Two old men with terminal stage cancer attributed the disappearance of their tumors on eating soursop. Their medical doctors were surprised when they found out that their tumors were already not existing in their bodies. The two old men are now living normally and spending the remaining years of their lives with their families.

With the help of the show, many people with cancer, mostly poor, learned the medicinal use of soursop and now using it. With soursop, there’s a hope for people who cannot afford radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and other medical procedures for cancer. In the Philippines, if you have cancer but don’t have money, you should begin asking for divine help or use herbal remedies, hoping that they’re effective. Cancer therapy is expensive especially when you are living in a third world country like the Philippines.

After watching the show, I said WOW, I must love guyabano. Although I don’t have cancer, I should regularly eat soursoup to prevent cancer as there are many possible carcinogens in the food we eat, the air we breath, and the things we use. I found scientific studies in the internet that shows how soursoup extract is able to kill different types of cancer cells.
Scientifically known as Annona muricata of family Annonaceae, soursop is called in different names: guanabana in Spanish-speaking countries; thu-rian-khack in Thailand; durian belanda or durian maki in Malaya; sorsaka in Antilles; corossol in French-speaking countries; graviola in Brazil, anona de puntitas in Argentina; and sinini in Bolivia.

Soursop is found in tropical and subtropical regions such as Southeast Asia, Central and South America, Subsaharan Africa, Caribbean, and Mexico. It is low-branching, bushy, and grows up to 30 feet high. Its fruit is oval or heart-shaped, sometimes irregular, curved, or irregular. The fruit can grow up to 6 inches in width and up to 12 inches in length. It is covered with inedible, leathery-appearing, bitter skin from which protrude stubby or more elongated and curved, soft, pliable “spines”. The creamy white pulp inside the fruit has the combined flavor of strawberry and pineapple with sour citrus flavor. The pulp is processed to make candies, beverages, powdered juice, and other food products.


Health Benefits

Soursop contains water, proteins, carbohydrates, fibers, calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), and amino acids. All these components of soursop are beneficial to the body: ascorbic acid is an antioxidant; fibers help regulate digestion; proteins for muscle building; carbohydrates as energy source; and the minerals (Ca, Fe, P) for proper body functioning.

The bark, roots, seeds, and leaves of sour sop are used as herbal remedies for haematuria, urethritis, dysentery, gall bladder trouble, coughs, catarrh, diarrhea, dysentery, indigestion, vomiting, eczema, rheumatism, wounds, and liver ailments. They are also used as sedative to induce sleep. They are usually boiled in water to make a tea, which is slightly bitter.

Scientists have isolated various compounds in soursop that demonstrate toxic effect to cancer cells of the lungs, breast, liver, prostate, colon, and pancreas. These are acetogenins, annomuricin C, muricatocin C, muricatetrocin A & B, gigantetrocin B, longifolicin, corossolin, corrosolone, annocacin, muricapentocin, cohibin A & B, annopentocin, murihexocins A & B, and many more to be isolated.

More studies are needed to learn more about the anti-cancer properties of soursoup.

If you have cancer or any disease, you should try eating soursop pulp or drinking soursop tea. There is nothing wrong with trying. Right?