Practitioners of herbal medicine use soursop fruit and graviola tree leaves to treat stomach ailments, fever, parasitic infections, hypertension and rheumatism. It’s used as a sedative, as well.
Traditional remedy from the rainforest, graviola is often used as a folk remedy to lower blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure may increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. A powder of graviola leaves and stems caused cell death in pancreatic cancer cells. Graviola also blocked signaling pathways that help pancreatic tumors spread. In studies, graviola fruit pulp extract stopped prostate cancer cells from spreading.
But claims of the fruit’s anti-cancer properties have attracted the most attention. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry in 1997 suggests that soursop compounds tested on breast cancer cells in culture were more effective than chemotherapy in destroying the cells. But, without clinical trials, there is no data to support the claim.
Graviola is a small evergreen tree. The leaves, fruit, seeds, and stem are used to make medicine. Despite safety concerns, graviola is used to treat infections caused by bacteria and parasites including leishmaniasis, a disease caused by parasites transmitted through the bite of sand fleas; herpes; coughs; and cancer.