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Graviola / Soursop

Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Annona muricata

Botanical Family:


Other Common Names:

Custard apple, Paw paw, Corossolier

Common names in Spanish:

Guanábana, Guanábano, Anón

Where is it found?

  • It is a fruit tree native to tropical America (probably the West Indies) but is also cultivated in other tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including India.
  • In the United States, the tree is grown and its fruit marketed in Florida and other regions

Parts of the plant used:

Fruit, leaves, bark and root.

How is it used?

  • The fruit is consumed fresh or made into juices and smoothies. The leaves are taken as a tea.
  • The seeds are crushed to make a poultice against head lice (see precautions below).
  • The fruit (in spite of the common name “soursop”) is sweet, soft, and smooth.
  • It provides various nutrients including vitamins C and B (including thiamin, riboflavin and niacin) as well as minerals: calcium, phosphorus, and iron (González-Stuart, 2014; Small, 2012; Duke, 1986; Morton, 1979).

What is it used for?

  • In traditional herbal medicine, the fruit and leaves of the tree are used to relieve digestive ailments (including diarrhea), pain, hypertension, inflammation, fever, coughs, and asthma, among many other medical afflictions.
  • A tea made from the leaves has been reported to have a soothing and calming action, especially for insomnia and nervous disorders, but should not be used in small children.
  • The seeds can be toxic and are used to make a liquid hair wash to kill lice, but caution should be taken, as the liquid is very irritating to the eyes.
  • The leaves and fruits contain natural compounds that could potentially be beneficial for prostate as well as other cancers, although more scientific studies are needed.
  • Some studies have shown that the plant’s active ingredients possess antioxidant, anticancer, anticonvulsant, anti-arthritic, anti-parasitic, anti-malarial, liver protective and anti-diabetic effects.
  • Graviola / Soursop extracts have a promising potential for treating gastric ulcers.
  • A study showed that an alcohol-based extract of soursop possessed antiviral activity.
  • Extracts made from the rind of the fruit showed antimicrobial activity.


Safety / Precautions


  • The delicious fruit is safe to eat and nutritious, but the seeds are toxic and should not be consumed
  • Tea made from the leaves should be avoided during pregnancy
  • Do not take tea for long periods of time and avoid use in small children
  • Due to its blood glucose lowering effects, supplements containing soursop or graviola should be taken with caution by patients taking anti-diabetic medications.
  • Due to its blood pressure lowering effects, supplements containing soursop or graviola should be taken with caution by patients taking antihypertensive medications.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!



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