Soursop fruit is known for its sweet flesh and distinctive flavor. It is grown commercially to make juice, candy, sorbet, and ice cream.
The long, prickly fruit comes from the graviola tree, an evergreen native to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The fruit is sometimes also referred to as custard apple, guanabana, and Brazilian paw paw.
Practitioners of herbal medicine use soursop fruit and graviola tree leaves to treat stomach ailments, fevers, parasitic infections, hypertension, and rheumatism. It is also a natural sedative.
But claims of the fruit’s anti-cancer properties have garnered the most exciting buzz in the medical community. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry in 1997 found that soursop compounds were more effective than chemotherapy at destroying breast cancer cells in the cultures that they were tested on.
According to Cancer Research UK, “in laboratory studies, graviola extracts can kill some types of liver and breast cancer cells that are resistant to particular chemotherapy drugs. But there haven’t been any large scale studies in humans so we don’t know yet whether it can work as a cancer treatment or not.”
Soursop has a wide range of uses, from food flavoring to herbal treatments. But perhaps the most exciting implication for this fruit is its potential to aid in cancer treatment.