Soursop/Graviola: Properties, Benefits and Risks

The soursop tree is the fruit of Annona muricata . It tastes very sweet and is much appreciated. Also known as graviola , Annona cherimoya Brazilian or Mexican. Besides taste, there are properties and health benefits of soursop but also risks.
It consumes fruit juice and nectar, directly or prepared in smoothies, soft drinks and desserts. With their leaves are prepared teas, infusions and extracts with different uses, including some for medicinal purposes.

Description of the plant

The Annona muricata is a small evergreen tree that can reach four to six feet high. It grows in warm climates and are very sensitive to frost. It’s original Caribbean, Central and South America . The Annona muricata is a species very close to the cherimoya ( Annona cherimola ).

Stems and leaves

Guanábana (Annona muricata) – Árbol with frutos

Young branches are hairy. The leaves are oval, heart-shaped dark green and glossy.

The leaf stems are four to thirteen millimeters long.


The flower stalks (stems) have 2mm to 5mm long and are woody. Appear as opposed to stem or leaf as an extra near the stem of the blade. In each stalk may be one or two flowers coming out of other hairy, woody stem.
The flower petals are thick and yellow. They are covered with hairs.

Fruits and playback

The fruit, also known by the name of soursop, skin is dark green. The skin is thick and has bristles. The fruits are ovoid and can reach 30cm in length and can reach up to four pounds. Soursop meat is juicy, aromatic and-white.
The soursop has many seeds that are easily detached and, if the environment is suitable, germinate between 30 and 60 days. It can also spread by cuttings.

Nutritional properties and chemical composition of the soursop


Each 100g of edible portion of fresh soursop fruit contain the following average values and nutrients:
  • Humidity 80.6%
  • Fiber 1.63%
  • Ashes 0.73%
  • 0.31% fat
  • 1.22% protein
  • Starch 1.62%
  • Vitamin C 0.021%
  • Sugars (glucose, fructose) 15.63%
  • Potasio 45.8 mg
  • 23 mg sodium
  • Magnesium 23.9 mg
  • Fósforo 26.0 mg
  • Iron 0.47 mg
  • Citrulline (protein) (10)
  • Arginine (amino acid) (10)
  • Caproic acid (lipid) (10)
  • Anonaine (isoquinolina) (10)
  • Anoniine (isoquinolina) (10)
  • Asimilobine (isoquinolina) (10)


Lactonas :
  • Annohexocina
  • Annomuricina A, B, C y E
  • Annomutacina
  • Annopentocinas A, B and C
  • Muricoreacina
  • Gigantetronemina
  • Murihexocina A and C
  • Javoricina
Isoquinolinas :
  • Anonaine
  • Anoniine
  • Atherospermine
  • Coreximine
Lípidos :
  • Gentisic acid
  • Lignoceric acid
  • Linoleic acid
  • Stearic acid


  • Lactonas
  • Annomonicina
  • Annomontacina
  • Annonacina
  • Annomuricatina
  • Annonacinona
  • Javoricina
It also contains:
  • Annomuricatina (proteína)
  • Linoleic acid (lipid)

Acetogenins sheet highlights

On sheet of Annona muricata is a group of substances called acetogenins to which they attribute most of the health benefits of soursop, including the anti-cancer effect.
  • Bullatacin
  • Bullatacinone
  • Muricoreacin
  • Murihexocin C
  • A Annomuricin
  • Annomuricin B
  • A Muricatocin
  • Muricatocin C
  • Muricapentocin

Health Benefits of Soursop

All parts of the soursop tree have been used in traditional medicine of the Amazon, Borneo, Brazil, Barbados, Guatemala, Jamaica, Peru and many other countries and regions. Most of these medicinal uses have not been verified by scientific studies while others have been demonstrated in vitro laboratory tests, including studies of the properties of some substances have already been conducted in vivo in experimental animals.

Summary of traditional medicinal uses of soursop 4

Flower: Bronchitis, cough.
Fruit and juice: Colitis, diarrhea, dysentery, fevers, dropsy, lactogogue, parasites, mouth sores, soothing
Seeds: Astringent, carminative, emetic, worms and external parasites such as lice, insecticide.
CRUST: asthenia, asthma, cough, diabetes, pregnancy, sedative, tonic spasms heart hypertension.
Blade: abscesses, arthritic pain, fatigue, asthma, astringent, bronchitis, colic, cough, fever, edema, flu, hypertension, diabetes, diuretic, dysentery, intestinal worms and parasites, lactogogue, liver disorders, malaria, nervousness, neuralgia, palpitations , childbirth, rashes, rheumatism, ringworm and parasites in general, sedative and tranquilizer, dermatology, spasms, tonic, anti-tumor.
Root: Diabetes, sedative, spasms.
Of all these uses and medicinal uses of guava, which has become more famous and most talked about is its antitumor effect. It’s a hot topic and raising controversy.

The soursop cancer

The properties of the soursop for cancer have made this plant is made famous worldwide. Studies conducted in vitro or in vivo in animals demonstrating the antitumor effects of annonacina and other Annonaceae acetogenins , all substances in the soursop in significant quantities, especially in the guava leaf extract 1, 2, 3 . However, there are no studies of the plant or his or extract prepared from the plant for its positive effect against cancer. This lack of plant studies may be due to many reasons, including one of the most important is that companies that invest in research prefer to investigate active and not in plants, because the active ingredients can patent them but not the plant. acetogenins of Annonaceae (belonging to the family soursop) are waxy substances that are produced by combination of long chain fatty acids (C32 or C34) with a unit of 2-propanol in the carbon 2 to form a lactone terminal. Studies on some of these substances have shown that the antitumor activity of complex I inhibit the oxidative phosphorylation chain in cancer cells, thus preventing the production of ATP, a substance essential for the life of a cell.

Health risks: contraindications, side effects and use in pregnancy

Some alkaloids present in the root, bark and seeds of soursop have been linked to atypical levodopa resistant Parkinson (main substance used to reduce the symptoms of this disease). This effect seems to occur, as indicated by studies in vitro, DNA damage and induction of apoptosis or necrosis of cells dopaminergic and GABAergic neurons. Therefore should avoid excessive consumption of these parts of the plant.
The soursop has demonstrated hypotensive activity, vasodilatory and cardiodepresiva in animal studies and is therefore contraindicated in people with low blood pressure. For the same effect, soursop consumption may potentiate the effect of antihypertensive drugs and other drugs used in cardiac disorders. You can also power the effect of antidepressant drugs and interfere with MAO (monoamine oxidase inhibitors).
There is some documentation on the utero-stimulating activity of the soursop in rats so that should not be taken during pregnancy.
Among the most important side effects and regular soursop can cite the nausea and vomiting often appear in large doses.

Sources and references

  1. Graviola Monograph . Raintree Nutrition, Inc.: 2004. Available in Internet <>
  2. Nicholas H. Oberliesa, Julie L. Jonesb, Thomas H. Corbettb, Sophia S. Fotopoulosc, Jerry L. McLaughlin. Tumor cell growth inhibition by several Annonaceous acetogenins in an in vitro disk diffusion assay. ScienceDirect, 2000.
  3. Schlie-Guzman, Maria Adelina, Gonzalez-Esquinca, Alma Rosa and LUNA-Cazares, Lorena Mercedes. Acetogenins of Annonaceae: antiproliferative effect on neoplastic cell lines . Latin American and Caribbean Bulletin of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants [online] 2009, vol. 8 [accessed 05/06/2012]. Available at:
  4. Technical Data Report for Graviola (Annona muricata). Sage Press, Inc. 2002.


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