Graviola ( Annona muricata), commonly referred to as Soursop is the fruit of Annona muricata.
It is a broad leaved flowering evergreen plant that is predominantly grown around the areas of Mexico, Cuba, Caribbean, Brazil, Peru and Central America.
The plant is adapted to a climate of warm winters and relatively higher humid areas. As mentioned and reported by people.
The flavor is more like a combination of strawberry and pineapple, with sour citrus flavor, a great contrast with a creamy flavor reminiscent of coconut or banana.
The fruit is rich in Carbohydrates, protein and is also a combination with dietary fiber. The fruit is highly rich in calcium and sodium and also contains fewer amounts of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and phosphorous. The flesh of the fruit is white and is edible .
It is rich in fiber and consists of a core of indigestible black seeds. It has been reported that only this species in the whole genus is capable of processing and preservation.
The pulp of the fruit is used to make fruit nectar, smoothies, fruit juice drinks, apart from these; it can also be used to make candies, sorbets, and ice cream flavorings.
Popularly grown areas
This evergreen tree is commonly grown around the areas of northern region of South America, Sahara African and South East Asia.
It is grown and cultivated as major fruit along the Brazil and Peru regions where it is a main business income to the natives.
Graviola is rich in vitamin B complex. A single cup of graviola can contribute to 10 percent thiamine, riboflavin, folates, vitamin B6 and nicacin.
This helps in proper metabolism of the body and can help in nourishing the system by providing stable amounts of oxygen. It is also a carrier of vitamin C and contributes to anti - oxidant behavior. It can promote anti aging, can enhance the immune system and rebuild the cells and make the body healthy.
Apart from the vitamins, it is also rich in essential electrolytes. The following are the constituents of graviola and are they listed below.
- It is rich in fiber.
- Low fat content.
Also contains sodium but at a lesser constituent than potassium.
Health benefits of Graviola
Cancer: Many studies had been reported that graviola has the ability to cure cancer .
The University of Nebraska Medical centre had performed research studies on living tissue of the pancreas carcinogenic cell and they have proved that graviola was potent enough to cure cancer by inducing cell metabolism.
Hence as the cell metabolism increases, more virgin cells grow and then cancer cells will be outnumbered. Graviola works on targeting and inhibiting the cell signaling of the cancer cells thereby the supply of nutrients to the tumor cancer cells will be cut hence the cell dies.
Graviola can help in breast cancer: The factor EFGR – Epidermal Growth Factor receptor is the main genetic expression for breast cancer.
When this gene stops expressing, the cancer cells will not multiply. Graviola fruit extract was known to inhibit the cell signaling
pathway for the EFGR and hence it can eliminate breast cancer.
Studies were done in vivo on xenografts (animal to human grafting) and in vitro.
Graviola can help in Diabetes: The leaves of the Graviola were taken and an extract was prepared. It was induced on the pancreatic islet cells of rats infected with Streptozotocin.
The rats were further subjected to a sterile environment and they were kept in incubation and they were studied for a week.
The Graviola leaf extract was found to modify the insulin levels in the rat and this proves that graviola can be effective for diabetes. As of now the study is in vitro and is limited to human trials.
It is also known to monitor the mechanism of actions of the hypo- tensive effect: Aqueous leaf extract of graviola tree was prepares and was subjected to intravenous injection into the system of rats.
The rate of aortic valves (the arterial pressure) was monitored and the heart rate was recorded at subsequent intervals. It was seen that it worked on reducing the blood pressure levels without affecting the heart rate.
Leaves of graviola are a powerful Anti inflammatory and antinociceptive agent: Oral administration of the ethanol leaves extract of graviola was done on various animals.
Two doses in two different phases were given, 200 and then 400 mg/kg. This had reduced the leukocyte migration and had reduced inflammation disorders. Hence it was proven to be show Anti inflammatory and Antinociceptive effects.
A common quest is whether graviola can cure arthritis. Many trials on rodents were reported but they were not so very successful hence that arena is still under the mode of study.
It is an anti depressant and anti - stress agent: The leaves of graviola are known to be a great for reducing depression and oxidative stress.
The experiment was tested on albino rats. Graviola leaf extract has a protective, beneficial effect on the tissues and on the induced oxidative stress, by decreasing the lipid peroxidation and indirectly enhancing production of insulin levels and endogenous anti - oxidants.
It is powerful against anti- microbial activity: A comprehensive study was done on the Herpes Simplex virus. An extract of the Graviola leaf (Annona Muricata) and Petunia nyctaginiflora (Solanaceae) was used to treat the HSV -1.
This had been tested on animal species and the results obtained were formulated and were successful.
Graviola extract is a powerful anti – Oxidant: Isolation of the sequences of the Graviola leaf extract resulted in presence of phenolics in the sample which were identified as powerful sources of anti oxidants. This makes graviola to be used as an anti – oxidant.
Graviola can aid in relaxation of smooth muscles and also as an Anti spasmodic agent: Ethanolic extract of Graviola is investigated on pentylenetetrazol (PTZ)-induced clonic-tonic seizures in mice.
The effect of graviola had subsided the active tonic effect of the PTZ and had helped reducing the spasms and helped in the relaxation of the smooth muscles.
Graviola can be a powerful agent for cardio depressant activity : It was reported that Graviola can be used for heart ailments and for better heart functioning. It also plays an important role in enhancing the function of the Sino – Auricular node which is important for triggering the heart beat.
Precautions while taking Graviola
While graviola has some great health benefits, there are situations when it can possible have side effects:
- If consumed in excess can create cardiac arrests, aortic malfunctions and other circulatory system related disorders.
- Can trigger abnormal blood sugar levels.
- Can damage the nerve cells of the brain by inhibiting the function of the neurotransmitters.
- Can cause early uterine constrictions in female.
- Can also play around with the blood pressure levels. It has the ability to reduce blood pressure (can be good for people with higher rate but if consumed beyond a limit can be dangerous for them too).
- Graviola can also cause nausea occasionally.
- Not advisable to use during summer as it can invoke dehydration.
- Can cause clumping of the skin.
- It can also reduce the rate of the ATP – Adenosine tri phosphate.
- Was also reported to cause Parkinson’s disease.
Intial research and experiences show that Graviola can be a good source of cure for various diseases but it is always advised to consult a physician before resorting to graviola for any of the above ailments.
Most of the cure has been nominated for human trials while some are still under in vitro studies.