The Soursop is scientifically known as Annona muricata. It is a native species to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Northern South America, and is recognized as Guanabana in Latin American countries. This picture was photographed at the Maya Organic Farm on a tree that could have up to forty healthy fruits at a given time.
The flesh of the fruit consists of an edible, white pulp and a core of indigestible, black seeds. The sweet pulp is used to make juice, as well as candies, sorbets, and ice cream flavourings. The species is the only member of its genus but is a close relative of the well-known Custard apple and Sugar apple.
In Belize and in other Central American countries, you can find its delicious juice served as a milkshake or smoothie which consists of the fresh pulp, milk, vanilla essence or nutmeg to add more flavour. Be sure to take a trip to The Lodge at Chaa Creek and our friendly bartenders and waiters/waitresses will be sure to delight you with a refreshing and healthy drink of Soursop juice.
Interesting Note: The principal interest in this plant is because of its strong anti-cancer effects. Although it is effective for a number of medical conditions, it is its anti-tumor effect that is of most interest. This plant provides much alimentation and is a proven cancer remedy for cancers of all types. It is the leaves of the soursop tree that are found to be particularly effective in killing cancer cells, due to its graviola extract, without harming the healthy cells of the body. Moreover, the extract of soursop leaves do not affect the immune system adversely, unlike the chemotherapy drugs.
Have you tried soursop? We hadn't. We hadn't even seen one before until our friend Debra bought one. We were game to play too, so we picked up one of these odd looking, prickly, green fruit at Maria's fruit and vegetable stand on Monday. We had no idea what to expect, and after some diligent googling, I still wasn't too sure if eating it unadorned would be okay. Most sites I visited mentioned soursop juice, soursop smoothies, soursop ice cream. But I wanted to keep it simple and try the fruit au naturel first. Supposedly it is ripe when soft to pressure, so last night was the night to give it a try.
Here is what it looked like cut in half.
The skin is inedible, so I started scraping out the pulp with a grapefruit spoon and removing the rather numerous black seeds on the cutting board as I went. Some sites I'd checked said that these were toxic, but it was a bit difficult to make sure I'd gotten them all. The fruit was both fibrous and mushy (perhaps it was slightly overripe, actually?), so a little hard to work with.
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So you've been hearing about this all magical fruit called soursop with cancer healing ability. This of course sounds way too good and too easy to be true. Questions like: What do studies say on soursop's cancer benefits? Why did they take so long to discover such a simple cure? Why is this thing such a secret if its so great? Does this fruit only have the ability to target cancer cells or are there more health benefits? Where can I buy the soursop fruit? How much of it does one have to consume in order to reap these benefits? If you are a cancer patient or you're close to someone who is, it is definitely worth your time to explore the possibility of adding soursop to the cancer treatment being administered.
The Soursop Fruit
Before we look at the soursop as cancer treatment let us first look at the botanical properties. The soursop fruit (not sour sop or sour sap), also known as graviola (Portuguese) guanábana (Spanish) or corossol (French) is a large, green fruit with a dull spiked surface, found mainly in Tropical regions. It is born from a small evergreen tree with dark green leaves. While the name suggests that the fruit is of a sour flavor, particular varieties of the soursop are found to be rather sweet in taste. Like many other fruits it may be eaten once ripened by tearing off the green surface. A ripe soursop fruit can be very soft and can be easily torn apart without the use of a blade. On the inside is a soft creamy pulp embedded with numerous black seeds. Soursop has few seedless varieties, but they are rare and tend to have fibrous flesh. The pulp, the seeds and even the soursop leaves can be of significant health benefits. As can be deduced the soursop cannot be grown in low climatic regions for it requires much humidity to survive.
Through time and based on numerous scientific studies, its use has evolved to alternative cancer treatment, as apposed to being consumed for mere pleasure. It can also be used for making juice, ice cream and even soursop leaf tea.
Soursop and Cancer
Let us first look at what cancer really is before we delve into the healing powers of the soursop fruit as it pertains to cancer. Most of us know of cancer and know that it is a serious illness but many do not understand what cancer essentially is and how it works.
Our body is made up of a countless number of cells. In order for development and growth to take place there must be cell division, new cells are formed and old cells die all in a natural cycle. Cancer however is the disruption of this cycle, they do not die like normal cells, they just continue to grow. This growth abnormality is as a direct result of damage to the cell's DNA. Usually when the DNA of a cell is damaged it would be repaired or if not the cell would ultimately die. With cancer cells however there is no repair and no death just constant growth. When cells begin to divide and grow beyond control and further they begin to affect other tissue in the body those disruptive cells are categorized as cancer cells. There are over one hundred different types of cancer, all name based on the original cells which caused the disruption. Therefore Lung Cancer is the uncontrollable growth and spread of cells in the lungs, Breast Cancer pertains to the growth of cells in the breast, etc. So contrary to common belief the type of cancer someone has is not indicative of where the cancer is, it only points out where the cancer started.
The Soursop or graviola has been studied extensively by Purdue University’s School of Pharmacy and has undergone many other studies since the 1970's all of them proving that the soursop fruit has the innate ability to target the damaged cells and kill them causing a balance in the cycle of cell growth and development. However questions as to how effective it is at totally stopping the pattern of uncontrolled cell division in the body are left with no clear answers.
"The recent research on soursop focuses on a novel set of chemicals called Annonaceous acetogenins. These annonaceous acetogenins are produced in the soursop leaf, bark, and seeds. Several research groups have verified that these chemicals display tremendous properties of antitumor and selective toxicity against various types of cancer cells, all while causing no harm to regular healthy cells. Many of the acetogenins have demonstrated selective toxicity to tumor cells at very low dosages, as little as 1 part per million. Since 1997 the novel alkaloids found in the soursop fruit have illustrated incredible antidepressive effects.
The soursop belongs to the Annonaceae family or Custard Apple family to which the annonaceous acetogenins are aboriginal. These chemicals in general have been documented with antitumorous, antiparasitic, insecticidal, and antimicrobial activities. Mode of action studies in three separate laboratories have recently determined that these acetogenins are superb inhibitors of enzyme processes that are only found in the membranes of cancerous tumor cells. This is why they are toxic to cancer cells but have no toxicity to healthy cells.
The Annonaceous acetogenins discovered in soursop thus far include: annocatalin, annohexocin, annomonicin, annomontacin, annomuricatin A & B, annomuricin A thru E, annomutacin, annonacin, annonacinone, annopentocin A thru C, cis-annonacin, cis-corossolone, cohibin A thru D, corepoxylone, coronin, corossolin, corossolone, donhexocin, epomuricenin A & B, gigantetrocin, gigantetrocin A & B, gigantetrocinone, gigantetronenin, goniothalamicin, iso-annonacin, javoricin, montanacin, montecristin, muracin A thru G, muricapentocin, muricatalicin, muricatalin, muri-catenol, muricatetrocin A & B muricatin D, muricatocin A thru C muricin H, muricin I, muricoreacin, murihexocin 3, murihexocin A thru C, murihexol, murisolin, robustocin, rolliniastatin 1 & 2, saba-delin, solamin, uvariamicin I & IV, xylomaticin. Extract raintree.com
Extensive research has shown that the soursop pulp contains 81% moisture, 3% titratable acidity and 24% non-reducing sugar. The seed contains: 2% protein, 8% fibre, 13% ash, 8% moisture, 20% fat and 47% carbohydrate. Nutrition value/100g is as follows:
Soursop Nutrition Facts
Soursop vs Chemotherapy
In short, chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. It is also called "chemo."
Chemotherapy can be used to:
Destroy cancer cells
Stop cancer cells from spreading
Slow the growth of cancer cells
Chemotherapy can be administered alone or with other treatments. It can help other treatments work better. For example, you may get chemotherapy before or after surgery or radiation therapy. Or you may get chemotherapy before a peripheral blood stem cell transplant.
The side effects of chemotherapy include and are not limited to:
Mouth and throat changes
Nausea and Vomiting
Sexual and fertility changes in men
Skin and nail changes
Soursop can be used to:
Destroy cancer cells
Stop cancer cells from spreading
Slow the growth of cancer cells
Soursop is an all natural form of cancer treatment that is not recommended to be used on its own due to lack of human testing on the effectiveness of the fruit against cancer. However, it may be taken along with other forms of cancer treatment to strengthen the desired effects on the cancer cells and it can be taken as a means of prevention before cancer is even developed.
The side effects of chemotherapy include and are not limited to:
Thirteen drugs are used in chemotherapy and their consequent side effects are: destruction of the immune system, leukopenia, hemorrhage, gonadal suppression, bone marrow depression, phlebosclerosis (hardening of the veins), severe cellulites, vesication(blistering), tissue necrosis(death), fever, chills, nausea, prolonged vomiting, partial or total hair loss, lethargy, disorientation, ataxis(inability to coordinate muscle movements), dysarthria( impaired speech), anorexia, entertitis, stomatitis, erythema, (morbid redness of the skin), anemia, liver failure, kidney failure, cancer, and death. Yet still chemotherapy is the most widely used form of cancer treatment. One of the side effects that is more than likely inevitable is that of hair loss. This is because while chemo is destroying those harmful cancer cells in the body it is also causing harm to the normal healthy cells. As prior mentioned, this does not occur with soursop. The soursop kills damaged cells, and ONLY the damaged cells leaving the body safe from the side effects associated with chemotherapy. Dr. Hardin B. Jones, Professor of Medical Physics and Physiology at Berkeley, made a study lasting 25 years of the life span of cancer patients, and concluded that untreated patients do not die sooner than patients receiving orthodox treatment, (surgery, radiation and chemotherapy), and in many cases they lived longer yet we rely so highly on these forms of treatment.
Some may go as far as saying that soursop is "10,000 times stronger than chemo", as claimed by one study. What is certain without doubt, and proven through scientific study, is that the soursop, with its annonaceous acetogenins is more effective at targeting the cells that cancer patients want to target ie the cancer cells. There are still side effects associated with the ingesting of soursop, the main one being Parkinson's disease. Studies have shown that if the alkaloids associated with soursop are ingested in large amounts it may lead to this disorder of the central nervous system. The exact source of the study which revealed this is unknown but it goes contrary to what the primary studies prove. Parkinson's disease results from the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain. This would imply that the soursop kills cells other than cancer cells when taken in large amounts, specifically dophamine-generating cells. A simple solution to this problem would be to take soursop in moderation, therefore the risk of Parkinson's disease would be eliminated. Another listed side effect of soursop is fatigue which makes sense since it is sometimes used as a sedative by herbalists. The parts of the plant that are usually used in this manner are the leaves and the bark therefore the theory stands that if ingesting only the actual fruit for soursop cancer treatment, the risk of being fatigued is lower.
The ultimate decision rests in the hands of the individual opting for the cancer treatment. Chemotherapy is a trusted a widely used form of cancer treatment while soursop cancer treatment can be deemed as a "home remedy". They both have side effects to take into account, but its clear where the weight of it lies. Many cancer patients opt for taking soursop along with their chemo and experience no complications, so the two do not have to be taken in isolation. There is no reason why soursop should not be an option when faced with cancer. It is an all natural fruit just like an apple or a grape therefore one should not have great fear of experiencing side effects. When examining the facts it is definitely a wise to consider taking soursop for cancer.
Soursop vs Radiation
Radiation is a form of cancer treatment that uses high energy radioactive material to damage cancer cells by killing their DNA. There are three types of radiation therapy: internal, external and systematic. Internal radiation is administered by placing a radioactive substance in the body near the source of the cancer cells to kill them. External radiation therapy is done by a machine outside the body which generates gamma rays, x-rays and other charged particles and emits them into the body. Systemic radiation therapy uses radioactive substances, such as radioactive iodine, that travel in the blood to kill cancer cells.
It shouldn't be necessary to say much more after simply stating how radiation therapy works. High levels of radiation are not healthy or acceptable under any normal circumstances however it is accepted due to the urgency required for treatment by many cancer patients. So I now ask: can you eat a soursop under normal circumstances? The answer is undoubtedly yes! I will again stress that soursop is an all natural fruit not a drug so why do you find it so hard to believe that nature is able to provide answers that science "claims" to not have found.
What is most remarkable about radiation is that it is able to kill cancer cells; well of course it can its radioactivity going through the human body. However along with those dead cancer cells one must forfeit normal cells because unlike the soursop radiation cannot specifically target the mutated cancer cells. Even with internal and systematic radiation which are the most isolated forms one must still suffer the death of perfectly healthy cells in the body. On this note I'm going to have a glass of cold soursop juice.