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The Nutritional And Health Benefits Of Guanabana, Soursop Or Graviola

Updated on January 2, 2016
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

About Soursop

Latin Name : Annona muricata

Soursop is the fruit of the tree Annona muricata. Also known by other names including graviola, guanabana, anona, sirsak and adunu.

In India, soursop is known as Lakshmana Phala and Shul-ram-fal.

The graviola fruit is a very strange looking fruuit having a contrasting mix of flavors of many fruits.

Soursop has been touted as an alternative treatment for cancer.

Soursop Fruit

Soursop, Graviola or Guanabana fruit
Soursop, Graviola or Guanabana fruit | Source

Annona muricata Tree

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Annona muricata tree.Annona muricata tree with fruits.
Annona muricata tree.
Annona muricata tree. | Source
Annona muricata tree with fruits.
Annona muricata tree with fruits. | Source

Annona muricata (Soursop) Tree

The Soursop tree is a small tropical tree that is believed to be native to the Caribbean, Central America, Northern South America, Cuba and Mexico. It grows to about a height of 30 feet.

The Annona muricata grows best and produces fruit of high quality in areas where humidity is high and winters are not severe but warmer. as temperature below 41 degrees F damages the leaves while below 37 degrees F is fatal to both the tree and the fruit.

The tree is mainly grown for its fruit, which can grow quite heavy sometimes weighing as much as 15 pounds.

The leaves, stem and seeds have been traditionally used for medicinal purposes.

Soursop Flower & Fruits

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Soursop flowerSoursop fruitInside of the Soursop fruit
Soursop flower
Soursop flower | Source
Soursop fruit
Soursop fruit | Source
Inside of the Soursop fruit
Inside of the Soursop fruit | Source

Soursop Fruit

The soursop fruit grows in a variety of shapes. Though the fruit on an average weighs from 400 to 800 grams, the heaviest ones may weigh close to 7 kilos. The fruit length varies from 5 to 10 inches.

The skin of soursop is spiky and green. It can be eaten raw like any other fruit and can also be processed to make products like smoothies, juices, ice creams, etc. In fact, it is also used to make a variety of food and beverage products.

The fruit is also used as and to make medicine.

Nutrients In Soursop

  • Rich in fiber
  • Rich in vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium.
  • Low in sodium but high in potassium.
  • Low in fat.
  • Contains a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Individual levels of the various nutrients can be seen in the table below.

Nutrients In Soursop

Soursop, raw
Nutritional value per 100 grams
% of Daily Requirements
66 Kcal
16.84 g
13.54 g
Dietary fiber
3.3 g
0.3 g
1 g
Thiamine (vit. B1)
0.07 mg
Riboflavin (vit. B2)
0.05 mg
Niacin (vit. B3)
0.9 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.253 mg
Vitamin B6
0.059 mg
Folate (vit. B9)
14 mcg
7.6 mg
Vitamin C
20.6 mg
14 mg
0.6 mg
21 mg
27 mg
278 mg
14 mg
0.1 mg
Source : USDA

Some Traditional Treatments With Soursop

The fruit seeds are used to control vomiting.

The leaves help in treating skin affections when applied as a poultice.

The fruit pulp helps to heal wounds faster when applied on them.

The root bark is used as an antidote for poisoning.

A decoction or tea made of leaves is used to get rid of head lice and bed bugs.

In the Caribbean, soursop leaves are commonly used as a remedy for insomnia by brewing them to make a beverage. In fact, the leaves used in a pillowcase have been found to promote sleep.

Health Benefits Of Soursop

In lab experiments soursop has been found to have the following properties :

  • Antileishmanial - Leishmaniasis is a disease which causes skin ulcers and affects orans like spleen and liver as well and is caused by the protozoa Leishmania which is spread by some types of sandflies.
  • Cytotoxic - Causes death of certain types of cells since it is toxic to those cells. This property could be used to target specific types of cells like cancer cells.
  • Antinociceptive - Reduces sensitivity to painful stimuli.
  • Antidiabetic.
  • Anticancer.

Research has shown that soursop is able to kill almost 12 types of cancer cells including those of the colon, breast, lung, pancreas and the prostate.

It has been found, in vito studies, that the compound, cis annonacin in soursop, seeds is up to 10000 times more effective in reducing growth of colon cancer cells than the commonly used chemotherapeutic drug Adriamycin.

More importantly, this compound kills selectively the cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells unharmed.

Human studies though, have not been done on the anti cancer effects of soursop.

The bottom line then being that though soursop holds promise as an anti cancer agent, in the absence of human studies and the possibility of side effects soursop extracts need to be used with caution.

These extracts should not be taken as a standalone anticancer treatment.

Among the other properties of soursop that have been established by research are:

Anticonvulsant, antifungal, antimutagenic, antispasmodic, antioxidant, sedative, uterine stimulant and vasodilator.

Some Side Effects And Precautions With Soursop

  1. Soursop or graviola may cause movement disorders/symptoms similar to that encountered in Parkinson's disease and thus worsen these symptoms.
  2. Web MD lists graviola as unsafe since it can kill nerve cells in the brain as well as in the body.
  3. Pregnant women and those breastfeeding should avoid it.
  4. Graviola lowers BP. Hence, those with low BP or on blood pressure lowering medications should keep this fact in mind.
  5. Large doses of soursop may cause nausea and vomiting.,
  6. Avoid taking soursop with Coenzyme Q10 or other supplements that increase ATP.




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.

How to Grow Guanabana aka Soursop from Seed *plus* Guan

Soursop Smoothie Recipe

Jamaican Soursop (Guanabana) Juice Recipe Video

© 2014 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Thanks Thish. glad you found the info you needed. Thanks for passing on the link.

      @ aesta. You are welcome. hope the info helps. Thanks.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have always heard of the health benefits of this fruit but I had been ignorant of its negative effects. Thanks for the information.

    • Thish profile image

      Thish 2 years ago

      Very well informative article. I get rarely this fruit as it is not available most of the times in the store. . Did not know it is available in Amazon in different formats. Thanks again. I will share this link with my friends.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for your input, Precy! I appreciate your stopping by and sharing of this hub.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 3 years ago from USA

      I enjoyed eating this fruit Rajan. :) Back in the Philippines, neighbors with a tree shares a ripe soursop or guyabano as we call it. And we have a tree too back then. But here in US, it's expensive and sold frozen. Shared and up!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for stopping by, Monis Mas and appreciate your votes.

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 3 years ago

      Voted Up, Interesting and Useful! I have never heard of it, thanks so much for sharing this info.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Susan Recipes - thanks and nice to see you.

      @MsDora - I'm sure it tastes great as well. Thanks for stopping by.

      @Eiddwen - thank you and it is always good to see you.

      @FlourishAnyway - thanks and it's my pleasure providing new information.

      @AudreyHowitt - thank you for reading and appreciating.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Useful--I had never heard about this fruit before!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I have never heard of this fruit and enjoyed learning about it. Very informative!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      another wonderful hub rajan.

      You are an endless source of interesting facts and each one so interesting.

      Great work and wishing you a wonderful day.


    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Soursop smoothie is my favorite. When I'm in the Caribbean, the soursop is one of the most treasured fruits anyone can give to me. Thank you for the nutritional information.

    • Susan Recipes profile image

      Susan 3 years ago from India

      I have never seen this fruit. I am glad to read your hubs as I learn so many new things. Thanks rajan for sharing this. Voted up.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @DDE - Thanks for stopping by, Devika.

      @vespawoolf - the fruit is safe albeit. Appreciate your comments and visit.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

      We have guanabana here in Peru. I've heard the claims about cancer and I suppose if I had cancer I would probably try it, but the contraindications are too risky for a healthy person, in my opinion. Thank you for sharing both sides of the story.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An interesting and informative hub. The photos are beautiful and so clear . The video added makes all the difference and your work is always informative with thorough research skills.