Soursop Tree

The soursop tree (Annona muricata) is a broadleaf flowering evergreen tree native to the Caribbean, grown in Barbados and thought to be introduced by the Amerindians. The fruit of the soursop is large in comparison to the small fast-growing tree from which it comes.



It is rare for soursops to be left to ripen on a tree as they are usually picked just before the ripening process taks place. If left to fall  on their own, they will suffer bad bruises and would possibly need to be thrown away. Once ripe, the fruit is slightly soft to touch with the outer skin having a light green appearance.


The skin of the soursop is relatively thin and covered with conical nibs. The white, pulpy flesh has numerous, small shiny, black inedible seeds and an interesting sweet-acidic taste.


Medicinal Benefits of the Soursop

The fruit of the soursop tree is just another all-round tree that can be found on the island of Barbados. Listed are a few health benefits of the soursop.


The seeds have emetic properties and can be used in treating vomiting
The leaf decoction is effective for head lice and bedbugs
The crushed fresh leaves can be applied on skin eruptions to promote healing
The juice of the fruit can be taken orally as a remedy for urethritis, haematuria and liver ailments
The juice when taken throughout a period of fasting, is believed to relieve liver ailments and leprosy
To speed the healing of wounds, the flesh of the soursop is applied as a poultice unchanged for 3 days
A decoction of the young shoots or leaves is regarded as a remedy for gall bladder trouble as well as coughs, catarrh, diarrhea, dysentery, fever and indigestion
Mashed leaves are used as a poultice to alleviate eczema and other skin problems and rheumatism
The root bark is use as an antidote for poisoning
Soursop flowers are believed to alleviate catarrh
Decoction of leaves used as compresses for inflammation and swollen feet
Soursop is an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient which increases the acidity level of urine, resulting in decreased number of harmful bacteria that may be present in the urinary tract
Soursop's rich fiber content aids in bowel movement
Soursop contains half the potassium in bananas. Lack of potassium, together with magnesium, calcium and sodium (also known as electrolytes) in the body can cause muscle weakness and cramping
Women who experience water retention before their monthly period would benefit from the soursop's rich magnesium content. It may help alleviate this annoying premenstrual symptom
Soursop is loaded with the trace mineral copper. Calcium contributes only about 25% to the prevention of bone loss as magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper are also equally crucial for healthy bones. Zinc and copper boost the effectiveness of vitamin D, which promotes the absorption of calcium
Soursop is a good source of niacin, a vitamin which studies show has significant benefits on levels of HDL, the good cholesterol
The soursop fruit contains folate. Studies have proven that folate intake during pregnancy prevents deficiency in pregnant women. A lack of this mineral during pregnancy may contribute to birth defects and pregnancy loss
It can provide iron which prevents the common blood disorder anemia - a condition in which the blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells. The red blood cells are responsible for the distribution of oxygen to the body tissues, giving the body energy
The soursop fruit has riboflavin. Several studies have shown that high riboflavin intake helps prevent migraine


Soursop Tested to be Stronger than Chemo Drug

A study published in the Journal of Natural Products, following a study conducted at Catholic University of South Korea, stated that one chemical in the soursop was found to selectively kill colon cancer cells at, "10,000 times the potency of (the commonly used chemotherapy drug) Adriamycin ... "


The most significant part of the Catholic University of South Korea report is that soursop was shown to selectively target the cancer cells, leaving healthy cells untouched, unlike chemotherapy which indiscriminately targets all actively reproducing cells (such as stomach and hair cells) causing the often devastating side effects of nausea and hair loss in cancer patients.


A study at Purdue University found that leaves from the soursop tree killed cancer cells among six human cell lines and were especially effective against prostate, pancreatic and lung cancers.


The soursop has many benefits to offer along with its very delicious taste. Nutritionally, the fruit is high in carbohydrates, particularly fructose. The fruit also contains significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B1, and vitamin B2.


DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this page should not be interpreted as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this site.


Readers should consult the appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well being.


The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best information available to the writers. However, readers who fail to consult the appropriate health authorities automatically assume risk of any injuries. Barbados Pocket Guide is not in any way responsible for errors or omissions.


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