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Healing Wonders of Soursop (Guyabano)

This article was originally posted from PhilStar.com

The Philippine Star,  August 24, 2010
I remember receiving an e-mail that soursop or guyabano is tens of thousands more potent than chemotherapy. Having just lost a friend this year due to cancer, I looked at the title and trashed the copy dismissing it as another one of those incredulous claims.
Then I met a biochemist from a reputable university who claims three personal encounters with the efficacy of the plant. She excitedly recounted to me — in between rounds of freshly roasted Bataan coffee from her plantation — that the latest case involved the local barangay captain who was diagnosed with cancer. My husband knows him. His family was advised to prepare for the worse as he was thought to have only six months to live. Waiting for the prospect of a costly surgery, the patient got depressed and was resigned that he will not survive this. Gina boosted his morale and gave the friendly advice of taking tea from the soursop bark and leaves.

Apparently, the barangay captain did just that. He drank the soursop tea as his water for three months. He felt better and better and when he had another scan not a single tumor was seen. He was declared cancer-free!
That, of course, became a celebrated miracle in this sleepy Bataan town. I am sure they are planting guyabano obsessively as more and more harvest the fruits, leaves and bark.
Gina mentioned that the barangay captain decided to give it a try when she mentioned that her mother was diagnosed with cysts in the liver. Instead of letting her undergo surgery at her mid-60s she decided to just take the soursop tea and papaya fruit everyday instead. She claims to be healed.
Another was the case of the nanny of her boss who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not having the funds for the surgery and treatment, she decided to go back to the province. Gina and her peers told her to take soursop tea. Six years had passed, and she is still alive and well.
If this is so true, why can’t more people benefit from it? Why don’t people know about it? According to Gina, a large pharmaceutical company in the US spent a lot of money for research on the soursop. They confirmed that it is a potent cancer cure and commissioned a group to formulate a drug that can clone the active ingredient of the soursop. She said this failed so the company — not having any means to patent their discovery — just shelved everything.

Local views

The Philippine Herbal Medicine Organization shared some views on their website: “Studies are underway by leading medical institutes, universities and pharmaceutical companies of the healing properties of guyabano against cancers. Initial findings show that certain compounds and chemicals extracted from guyabano leaves, seeds, fruit and bark appear to kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells remain unaffected.”
The information they shared should be enough for anyone to consider loving the fruit even if they are not cancer-stricken. The flesh of the fruit is high in carbohydrates and has considerable amounts of vitamins C, B1, B2, potassium and dietary fiber. We know the fruit as guyabano, but it is called graviola in Brazil and guanabana in Spain.
The organization outlined several medicinal uses for its poultice (warmed paste from pounding the leaves) and decoction (leaves boiled in water) such as to kill bedbugs and head lice, to reduce fever, to heal skin abrasions, to alleviate rheumatism and other skin infections, to prevent scarring of wounds, and as a wet compress for swollen feet and other inflammations.
They also noted that pulverizing the seeds mixed with soap and water is an effective spray against caterpillars, armyworms and leafhoppers. In the Netherlands, leaves of the soursop are placed inside pillows or on the mattress to induce sleep due to its sedative and tranquilizing properties.

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