The World Health Organization tells us that cancer is the second leading cause of death on planet earth, taking 9.6 million lives in 2018 alone. With these skyrocketing rates of cancer, many are turning to natural cancer-fighting remedies to keep healthy. Soursop tea is just one example, but does it really pack the cancer-fighting punch that many claim? A closer look reveals that this is indeed a powerful elixir.
What is soursop?
Native to the tropics of North and South America, soursop is a tree that is well known for its fruit and leaves. Also known as graviola (Annonaceous muricata L.), this Amazon fruit tree may also be called guanabana in some parts.
Described as a cross between a mango and a pineapple, the delicious fruit from this tree is often used in ice cream, custards, and drinks while its leaves hold powerful medicinal properties.
What is soursop tea?
The plant leaves have a long history of being used as an alternative treatment for cancer and can be enjoyed as a tea. Researchers from around the world have been studying the promoted cancer-fighting properties found in soursop tea for some time, and the results have been pretty amazing.
What research has uncovered about soursop tea and cancer
Published scientific studies show a very strong potential for the ability of soursop tea to fight cancer. Here is what you should know:
The leaves of the soursop tree contain acetogenins, which fight cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. This is huge considering that conventional cancer treatments damage both cancer cells and healthy cells, putting tremendous strain on the body.
Here are some research results for the impact of soursop tea on specific types of cancer.
- The Asian Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study in 2017 that included thirty patients with colorectal cancer. Patients had undergone tumor surgery and were given a placebo or soursop leaf extract. Results showed that the group that received the soursop had higher cytotoxicity in their cancer cells compared to the placebo group.
- A 2015 study found that soursop leaves do have the potential to reduce the risk of colon cancer. This, they found, is due to a constituent called “annomuricin E.”
- IN 2008, Toxicology Letters found that acetogenins isolated in soursop help to reduce colon crypts in rats by up to 50%.
- In 2014, researchers released evidence that soursop leaves induced death in colon cancer cells in an in vitro setting.
- According to research published in Advances in Breast Cancer Research in 2014, a 66-year-old woman undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer drank soursop tea. Her breast cancer was stabilized as a result.
- Current Pharmaceutical Design reported in 2016 that leaf extracts from soursop were able to inhibit breast cancer cells up to 98% in laboratory settings.
- BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported in 2016 that soursop extracts from leaves could be a potential breast cancer treatment. Extracts were found to induce death in breast cancer cell lines.
- The Journal of Ethnopharmacology published a study in 2011 that found that annonacin from soursop, led to cell death in estrogen receptor-alpha-related pathways of breast cancer cells in mice.
- Research has found that the flavonoids and acetogenins in soursop may inhibit tumor growth in prostate cancer cells.
- Scientists found that soursop leaves contain two constituents that have cytotoxic properties against prostate and pancreatic cancer cells.
- According to the Journal of Natural Products, acetogenesis from soursop leaf extracts were toxic against human lung tumor cells.
Additional evidence-based health benefits of soursop
In addition to its ability to tackle cancer, soursop contains additional powerful therapeutic properties, as demonstrated below.
- Free radical buster – Numerous studies show that the power of antioxidants found in soursop leaves to eliminate free radicals in the body. In fact, one study found that soursop leaves had a maximum scavenging activity of 90.05%.
- Inflammation fighter – A study published in the Journal of Natural Remedies noted that soursop leaf extracts had inflammation-busting properties. Additional studies had similar findings.
- Bacterial banisher – Pathogenic microbes are no match for soursop leaf extracts, as demonstrated in a study published in 2016. According to the study, soursop was able to fight off bacterial strains, including Streptococcus, Porphyromonas, and Prevotella, in addition to Candida yeast. Soursop has also been found to slow the growth of Herpes simplex virus 1.
- Stress soother – If you are feeling overly stressed, a cup of soursop tea might just be what you need. A study published in the Journal of Natural Remedies found that soursop can halt the production of neurotransmitter stressors in the central nervous system. Additional study notes reveal that soursop may even help lessen symptoms of depression.
- Blood pressure regulator – Mice who were injected with soursop leaf extract experienced lowered blood pressure. Researchers found that soursop blocked calcium ions without impacting heart rates.
- Wound healing – Topical application of soursop leaves may help speed up wound recovery according to a study in the International Journal of Surgery.
- Immunity enhancer – Sipping on soursop tea may be just what you need to keep your immune system robust. According to research published in 2016, soursop leaves contain immune-boosting properties.
- Digestive health – Soursop leaves are loaded with antioxidants that have been found to reduce gastric ulcers in rats while preserving the gastric wall.
Protect your homegrown produce with soursop
If you have a garden where you grow your own food, soursop leaves may protect your produce from insect damage. A 2006 study found that soursop leaves are toxic to snails and brine shrimp. In addition, Annonacins in soursop are effective against Egyptian cotton leafworm, Colorado potato beetle and green peach aphid.
Brewing your own soursop tea
One way to enjoy all of the benefits of soursop is to brew a delicious cup of tea.
- 4 cups filtered water
- 15 dried or fresh soursop leaves
- 1 soursop stem cut into small pieces
- ½ teaspoon lime juice
- 2 mint leaves
- Raw honey
To make the tea
- Boil water in a pot on the stove.
- Add in the leaves and stem and boil for an additional 30 minutes or until half of the water has evaporated.
- Filter the tea.
- Add some raw honey for taste. Enjoy!
According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, you should not consume soursop if you:
- Take blood pressure or diabetic medicines.
- Have liver or kidney disease.
- Have a low platelet count.
- Are undergoing nuclear imaging.
Note: Speak with your doctor before consuming soursop tea or extracts for fighting cancer.
-The UpWellness Team