The Health Benefits of Graviola
Do you love tropical fruits? Have you heard about graviola? This delicious tropical fruit is common in areas such as Mexico, South America and Cuba. It has several other names depending on the region, including soursop, Brazilian paw paw and anonna muricata.
The graviola is produced by a tropical evergreen tree and the fruit contains numerous large, black seeds inside white fleshy fruit. If you haven’t tasted it yet, the graviola has a very sweet taste with just a slight acidic edge. The fruit contains significant amounts of Vitamins B1 and B2, as well as vitamin C, but what is amazing about the tree is its medicinal value and its potential to fight cancer.
Medicinal Uses of the Graviola
The graviola tree has long been used for medicinal purposes. Its uses are not limited to just the fruit of the tree; but all the portions of the tree including the bark, roots, seeds, stem and leaves are used to treat a variety of ailments. Graviola contains many chemicals that may be active against cancer, as well as disease-causing agents such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
It has also been used to treat conditions such as coughs, gastrointestinal disorders and herpes. It can also be made into a paste and applied topically to treat arthritis or skin conditions. The leaves in particular have been used to treat wounds as it has the unique quality of helping to speed up the healing process. The graviola tree has properties that make it desirable for treating a wide variety of ailments. It has long been credited for use as a tonic in many parts of South America, and various parts of the plant are used for treating heart conditions, diabetes, asthma, arthritis and even influenza.
This tropical tree is known for providing many natural remedies including high blood pressure, digestive problems, fever and infections. More recently, the scientific community is starting to take a look at its anti-cancer properties, and this is the aspect that I want to concentrate in this article.
Graviola as a Cancer Remedy
As you can see, the graviola has wide variety of medicinal uses over the years, but more recently scientists are taking an in depth look at the potential benefits of the plant’s leaves, seeds and stems. Why? Because of the anti-cancer properties it is displaying. Several studies have already indicated that the compounds found in the graviola plant target cancer cells and kill them. Scientists have concluded that these highly effective compounds can even combat the most drug-resistant cancer cells. And as an added benefit, not only does graviola kill cancer cells; it does so without interfering with or damaging healthy cells.
Although WebMD website mentions that the evidence is still insufficient, it mentions that there is evidence that some chemicals in graviola may kill directly cancer cells and may help anti-cancer drugs work better. Livestrong website mentions that substances found in graviola inhibited the growth or multi-drug resistant-cancer cells, as reported in the June 1997 issue of the “Journal of Medicinal Chemistry”.
Proof in the Research
Even though graviola has remained a secret from the mainstream, research has been conducted concerning its anti-cancer properties. Much of the research which is related directly to the treatment of cancer is indicating that graviola may be an effective way to fight cancer without all the adverse side effects of modern treatment methods. So far the research has been limited to animals and laboratory tests, but they are demonstrating that graviola has affected cancer cell membranes while leaving healthy cells untouched. Some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in America have been doing research for some time. These tests have demonstrated the following:
- Graviola effectively targets and kills malignant cells in 12 different types of cancer
- The compounds found in the tree and fruit are more than 10,000 times stronger when it comes to slowing the growth of cancer cells than the most commonly used drug in chemotherapy
- Unlike modern chemotherapy treatments, compounds extracted from the graviola plant selectively finds and kills cancer cells only and it does not damage healthy cells
Research efforts are not new, but are not commonly made public. In 1976, the National Cancer Institute was the first to note the anticancer properties of the leaves of the plant. Purdue University in Indiana has also followed up with substantial amounts of research. In 1997, the team at Purdue was the first to announce that the graviola plant was effective at killing the cancer cells that chemotherapy had not destroyed. While there is still plenty of research occurring, the results continue to support the anti-cancer properties of graviola. However Cancer Research UK mentions that there haven’t been any large scale studies in humans, so we don’t know yet whether it can work as a cancer treatment or not.
Are there any side effects? – Precautions concerning Graviola
Graviola has been used for many years, and many feel that it is probable that the FDA may approve it for use to treat cancer. On one hand, the side effects are not nearly as drastic or severe as those that commonly accompany more traditional treatment options such as chemotherapy. But there are some possible side effects. The graviola when consumed in large doses can act as an emetic, which means it can cause some people to throw up. These are similar to the side effects one experiences from modern cancer treatments but graviola is much more effective. Side effects are not common with graviola, but consuming it in large portions should be avoided unless directed so by a health care professional. Some researchers are concerned that particular chemicals present in graviola may cause nerve changes and movement disorders when taken in large amounts. The nerve changes may cause symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.
Pregnant or lactating women should avoid consuming graviola, nor should young children. The bark of the graviola tree contains anonaine and anoniine which are high in hydrocyanic acid. There are also some traces of these alkaloids found in the leaves. Hydrocyanic acid is considered to be a poisonous substance. It is also suggested that those individuals who have Parkinson’s disease avoid the graviola since it contains annonacin which can have an adverse affect on those suffering with this disease. Since graviola can act to lower blood pressure, it can have a depressant effect on the body’s cardiovascular system. Therefore, it should not be taken by those individuals who have heart conditions or suffer from low blood pressure. Evidence suggests that it can have an adverse effect when taken with commonly prescribed anti-depressants as well.
As we can see, there is a great potential in continuing the research about graviola and its efficacy on humans to treat cancer. It is unlikely that drinks or foods containing graviola could harm you when taken as part of a normal diet, but always talk to your doctor before taking any kind of supplement or alternative therapy, as the medical establishment does not support it as an alternative therapy to treat cancer at this point of time.
Verse to share:
“He who hates his neighbor does not think well, but a man of understanding keeps quiet.” Proverbs 11:12
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