|Botanical: Annona muricata
Family: Annonaceae (custard-apple)
Other common names: Soursop, Guanábana, Guanavana, Guanaba, Corossol Epineux, Huanaba, Toge-banreisi, Durian Benggala, Nangka Blanda, Brazilian Paw-Paw
Graviola has a long history in the Amazon and West Indian tropics as a remedy for many ailments and particularly as an effective vermifuge, expelling internal worms and parasites. It has also been used to relieve depression and nervous disorders, as well as acting as an astringent to ease diarrhea. As a broad-spectrum antibacterial and antifungal, Graviola is thought to be helpful in cases of bacterial and fungal infections.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Graviola is an upright evergreen that is native to the Amazon jungle and some of the Caribbean islands and bears large, glossy, dark-green leaves, reaching a height of about twenty feet. The tree also produces a large, heart-shaped, yellow-green fruit with white flesh inside, that is both edible and delicious and sold in various local markets, where it is consumed by indigenous peoples. In 1526, the "soursop" (one of its common names) was described as being abundant in the West Indies and in northern South America. It is today found in Florida, Bermuda and the Bahamas (both wild and cultivated), from sea level to an altitude of 3,500 feet throughout the West Indies, and from southern Mexico to Peru and Argentina. The plant was one of the first fruit trees carried from America to the Old World Tropics, where it has become widely distributed from southeastern China to Australia and the warm lowlands of eastern and western Africa. Graviola is common in the markets of Malaya and Southeast Asia. Very large, symmetrical fruits have also been seen on sale in South Vietnam. It also became well established at an early date in the Pacific Islands, and the tree has been raised successfully, but has never fruited, in Israel. The slightly sour-tasting fruit pulp is also often made into drinks and sherbets. In Spanish-speaking countries, it is called Guanábana and Graviola in Portuguese-speaking Brazil, and it is also sometimes called paw-paw. Historically, the native people of the tropics used all parts of the Graviola tree in herbal medicines for a variety of remedies, and depending upon the country using the plant and/or the part of the tree used, Graviola was employed in many different ways. The fruits were used to destroy and expel intestinal worms and parasites, to reduce fevers, increase mothers' milk after childbirth and treat diarrhea and dysentery. The bark, leaves and roots were used as a sedative and herbal relaxant. In Peru, different parts of the plant were utilized to relieve catarrh and reduce spasms. In Brazil, Guyana and the West Indies, Graviola was employed as a cardiac tonic to strengthen the heart and a way to facilitate difficult births, as well as a treatment to ease liver problems. Since the 1940s, there has been much focused research on the chemicals called annonaceous acetogenins, which are unique to the annonaceae family of plants, which appear to exhibit selective toxicity against unhealthy cells by inhibiting the enzyme activity found only in the membranes of the unhealthy cells, and thus, are not toxic to healthy cells. The National Cancer Institute has conducted extensive laboratory tests since 1976, and has claimed selective toxicity in lung, pancreatic, breast, prostate and colon situations involving malignancy. Among the chemical constituents in Graviola are annonaceous acetogenins (or polyketides), two new acetogenins,
muricatalicin (I) and muricatalicin (VI), a mesitoate of a new acetogenin, annonacin-B mesitoate (Vb); and three known acetogenins: annonacin (II), annonacin-A (III) and annonacin-10-1 (IV) have been isolated from Annona muricata-L (Graviola). Other constituents include protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, beta-carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid, amino acids, tryptophan, methionine and lysine.
The acetogenins in Graviola are believed to be extremely effective in destroying and expelling internal parasites and worms (confirming the historic use of the herb in many tribal medicines in many different geographic locations).
Graviola is condidered a broad-spectrum antibacterial when used internally and externally, an antimicrobial and antifungal, and has thus been used to treat a variety of fungal and bacterial infections.
Regarding heart health, Graviola is said to be a cardiotonic that tones, balances and strengthens heart function. It is also believed to be a vasodilator with hypotensive properties that may be helpful in reducing high blood pressure. The herb is also said to slow the heartbeat.
Graviola is thought to relieve temporary depression and nervous conditions. It acts as a nervine that strengthens the functional activity of the nervous system and performs as a relaxant and herbal tranquilizer, easing the discomforts of nervous disorders, stress and anxiety. It has been used in traditional medicine for its tranquilizing effects. One of its constituents, tryptophan, is an essential amino acid with a documented slee- inducing effect. In animal laboratory tests in 1997, the alkaloids in Graviola were found to exhibit significant antidepressive results, increasing the neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is commonly associated with the pleasure system of the brain, providing feelings of enjoyment and the reinforcement to motivate us.
As an astringent, Graviola is believed to be effective in cases of diarrhea and dysentery. The antibacterial properties may also enhance the efficacy of Graviola in these situations.
Graviola Herbal Supplement should be used only under the auspices of a knowledgeable health care provider. Pregnant and nursing women should not use Graviola, and it is not recommended for people who take antidepressants or blood pressure medications. People with Parkinson's Disease should avoid Graviola. Extended use (more than one month without a one week interval) is not recommended, as chronic, long-term use of this plant may lead to die-off of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract due to its antimicrobial properties, thus, supplementing the diet with probiotics and digestive enzymes is advisable if this plant is used for longer than thirty days. Large amounts may cause nausea and gastric distress. Avoid combining Graviola with ATP-enhancers, such as CoQ10. Recent research has indicated that great care should be exercised with the use of Graviola. According to the journal, Neuroscience, "The mitochondrial complex inhibitor, annonacin, is toxic to mesencephalic dopaminergic neuron" (death of both dopaminergic and nondopaminergic neurons). Research carried out in the Caribbean has established a connection between consumption of Soursop (Graviola) and atypical forms of Parkinson's Disease, resembling progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), due to the very high concentration of annonacin.
This chemical may be directly connected to the higher than expected incidence of Parkinson-like disease in Guadeloupe.