The Health Benefits of Sweetsop, Sugar Apple, Custard Apple, or Sitaphal
Latin Name : Annona squamosa
In India, the fruit of this tree is called Custard Apple, Sitaphal or Sharifa.
About The Custard Apple Fruit
Custard Apple broadly refers to all fruits from the Annonaceae family, also known as the custard apple family and belong to the Genus Annona which includes :
- Custard Apple from Annona reticulata
- Cherimoya from Annona cherimola
- Sweetsop, Sugar Apple, Custard Apple (so called in India & Australia) from Annona squamosa
- Soursop from Annona purpurea
- Atemoya from A hybrid of Annona cherimola & Annona squamosa
In this hub, I am referring to the custard apple fruit obtained from the plant Annona squamosa.
Nutrients In Custard Apple Or Sweetsop
- Sugar apple is very high in Vitamin C.
- It is also very rich in Vitamin B6, B2 potassium and dietary fiber.
- Custard apple has good levels of magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus and niacin.
- It contains several polyphenolic antioxidants prominent among these being the actogenins that are powerful cytotoxins.
- It is free of cholesterol.
Nutrients Levels In Sugar Apple, Sweet Sop or Sitaphal
Custard Apple or
Total dietary fiber
less than 1%
Health Benefits Of Sugar Apple Or Custard Apple
- Sugar apple maintains good vision as the high vitamin C counters free radical damage and inflammation. It there for is also effective in reducing arthritis and rheumatism.
- It improves digestive function due to the natural soluble fiber which also ensures relief from constipation as it helps in smooth bowel movements.
- The magnesium helps in maintaining the functioning of the smooth muscles of the heart and by preventing cramping of the heart muscles. The potassium helps in regulating blood pressure and these two help in keeping the heart healthy. The fruit gives strength to the heart and also regulates heart beat, calms the heart and strengthens the heart muscles.
- The fruit is rich in energy and so relieves fatigue, tiredness and exhaustion.
- The vitamin C also helps in the healing of injuries.
- Folate and iron help in preventing and treating anemia. This is beneficial to pregnant women as it also helps to avoid defects in the growing fetus.
- The phosphorus and magnesium keep the bones strong as well.
- Niacin and the fiber help to lower cholesterol levels while the fiber additionally slows down the absorption of sugar and reduces risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Custard apple reduces the risk of cancer and renal failure since it contains compounds like acetogenin and alkaloids.
- Thin persons will find it beneficial in gaining weight if taken regularly.
- It reduces body heat and is cooling.
Some Natural Cures With Custard Apple
- A decoction of leaves induces menstrual flow in cases where it is delayed. It also is used to relieve dysentery, colds and fever.
- The decoction of leaves is used in bath to alleviate rheumatic pains.
- Sniffing the crushed leaves prevent hysteria fainting spells and dizziness and drops of juice of the leaves when put in the nose bring an unconscious person to consciousness if it is due to hysteria.
- The crushed leaves are tied on boils to treat them.
- Powder of the unripe fruit is used to treat diarrhea and dysentery and also used as a tooth powder to strengthen the teeth and gums.
- The unripe fruit juice treats insect bites.
- The root is strong purgative and is used to treat dysentery
- A decoction of the bark is used to treat diarrhea.
- A chutney or paste made of the leaves is mixed with some rock salt to make a poultice. This applied on injuries and wounds not only helps in healing but also destroys worms that have infested the wound. The poultice also helps to ripen boils and break it open to drain out the pus and then heal it.
The Custard Apple Tree
In English this fruit is also known as Sweetsop, Sugar apple, Bullock's heart etc.
The Custard apple tree is a small tree which grows to height of about 10 to 25 feet. It bears round but somewhat heart shaped green to a faint yellowish green fruits on a thickened stalk. The pulp of the fruit is sweet tasting and aromatic with a white to pale cream pulp inside.
The seeds are scattered all over on the fruit pulp. Each individual seed is enclosed in its own fleshy covering with the sweet pulp all around it and especially all over inside its hard outer skin. The seeds are shiny black in color. The outer skin of the fruit is hard, lumpy with many raised and curved protuberances.
The tree is native to South America and the Caribbean and is today grown in tropical areas of Asia, Africa, Australasia and many other countries around the world.
The Custard apple tree grows well in hot and dry climates and at lower altitudes than many other species of this genus. Annona squamosa is the most widely cultivated species of Annona.
Some Unique Uses Of The Custard Apple Tree
The Custard apple tree is a natural host for the larvae of the tailed butterfly.
The fruit of the tree is eaten as it is. It is also used to make a hair tonic.
The seeds are ground and applied in the hair to get rid of lice. Just make sure not to get it into the eyes as it can cause loss of vision.
The oil extracted from the seeds is used to counter agricultural pests.
In Mexico the leaves are rubbed on floors and also put in nest boxes of hens to repel lice.
- When using on hair ensure the paste does not go into the eyes as it can lead to blindness.
- It is cooling so do not eat it in excess as it can cause colds and make one sick. Also, if you are suffering from cold, do not consume the fruit.
- The seeds are poisonous. Do not eat.
- Do not consume if you have diabetes as it is high in sugar.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
A wonderful hub on Cherimoya tree belonging to the same family as Sugar Apple by hubber suzieq.
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