Soursop, Brazilian Paw Paw, Graviola...Annona muricata goes by several names. This small flowering evergreen tree is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the world. You will find it in rain forests in areas including South America, Africa, and Southeastern Asia.
It is incredible that almost the entire tree can be consumed, including the fruit, leaves, bark, and root. Each part of this incredible tree is used for different reasons with great success, and many people report that they use numerous parts of the tree together.
Graviola fruit is well known for its delicious taste, fiber, and vitamin C content, as well as for being low in calories. The fruit itself has a strong flavor that is compared to pineapple or strawberry. You will commonly see Graviola fruit being used in candies, beverages, shakes, and ice cream. The most common way to use the fruit is to cut it down the middle and scoop out the flesh. The fruit comes in sizes from small to quite large. The seeds of Graviola are known to be toxic, but are used in some circles as a successful hair wash to kill lice, though users must take caution not to get it in the eyes.
Graviola has incredible antioxidant properties, mostly because of its phytosterols, tannins, saponins, and flavonoids. Luteolin, quercetin, and tengeretin are bioactive plant compounds found in Graviola. Researchers share: “A wide array of ethnomedicinal activities is contributed to different parts of A. muricata (Graviola), and indigenous communities in Africa and South America extensively use this plant in their folk medicine. Numerous investigations have substantiated these activities, including anticancer, anticonvulsant, anti-arthritic, antiparasitic, antimalarial, hepatoprotective and antidiabetic activities” (1).
Graviola is available in capsules, teas, and extract forms. The recommended dosage varies, because researchers have yet to determine the best safe standardized dosage. That being said, taking 500mg to 1500mg in capsule form is recommended by many manufacturers for adults.
There are cautions. Studies have shown that because of its blood glucose reducing effects, Graviola should be used cautiously by those using anti-diabetic medication. It is not recommended to be used if pregnant or breastfeeding, or by children. As always, one should consult their personal healthcare provider.
(1) Annona muricata (Annonaceae): A Review of Its Traditional Uses, Isolated Acetogenins and Biological Activities; Soheil Zorofchian Moghadamtousi et al.; Int J Mol Sci.