Graviola ~ Super Fruits

This is actually a small evergreen tree standing upright to about 5–6 m. high with large, glossy, dark green leaves.

It produces yellow-green, heart-shaped, super fruit that is 15–20 cm. in diameter.

It is found in the warmer tropical areas in South and North America, including the Amazon.

The fruit pulp is excellent for making drinks and smoothies and though it is slightly sour, it can be eaten out of hand.

Tribal & Herbal Medicine Uses

All parts of the tree can be used in natural medicine including the bark, leaves, roots, fruit, and seeds.

The fruit and fruit juice are taken for worms and parasites, to cool fevers, to increase mother's milk after childbirth, and as an astringent for diarrhea and dysentery.

The crushed seeds are used against internal and external parasites, head lice and worms.

The bark, leaves, and roots are crushed and used in tea and are considered sedative, antispasmodic and hypotensive.

Graviola has been used in many different areas to aid in the treatment of many different ailments.

In the Peruvian Andes, the leaves are used in tea for catarrh (inflammation of mucous membranes) and the seeds are crushed and used to kill parasites.

In the Peruvian Amazon the bark, roots, and leaves are used in tea as a sedative and antispasmodic and to help with the treatment of diabetes.

In Guyana, the local natives use a leaf and/or bark tea as a sedative and heart tonic.

In the Brazilian Amazon a tincture is used for liver problems while the oil of the leaves and any unripe fruit is mixed together with olive oil and used for neuralgia, rheumatism, and arthritis.

In the West Indies, Haiti and Jamaica, the fruit is used for fevers, parasites and diarrhea while the bark or leaf is used as an antispasmodic, sedative, and nervine for heart conditions, coughs, flu, difficult childbirth, asthma, hypertension, and parasites.

Plant Chemicals

Studies on this super fruit and its health benefits have been conducted since the early 1940s.

Because of the many active compounds and chemicals found in the fruit, studies are still being conducted today.

The majority of studies focus on chemicals called Annonaceous acetogenins.

The fruit produces these natural compounds in its leaf, bark, stem and seeds.

Research groups have identified that these chemicals have significant properties that work against various types of cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

Four studies were conducted and published in 1998, which specify the chemicals and specifically the acetogenins in graviola that are demonstrating the strongest anticancerous, antitumorous, and antiviral properties.

Acetogenins are inhibitors of enzyme processes found solely in the membranes of cancerous tumor cells.

This is why they are toxic to cancer cells but are not toxic to healthy cells.

Activities and Clinical Research

In 1976 the National Cancer Institute ran a plant screening program and the leaves and stem from the tree showed active toxicity against cancer cells.

Since then, researchers have discovered specific acetogenins in this super fruit that have been reported to be selectively toxic in vitro to these types of tumor cells: lung carcinoma cell lines; human breast solid tumor lines; prostate adenocarcinoma; pancreatic carcinoma cell lines; colon adenocarcinoma cell lines; liver cancer cell lines; human lymphoma cell lines; and multi-drug resistant human breast adenocarcinoma.

In 2003, Taiwan researchers reported that the main graviola acetogenin, annonacin, was highly toxic to ovarian, cervical, breast, bladder and skin cancer cell lines at very low dosages.

In March of 2002, Japanese researchers were studying various acetogenins found in several species of plants.

Using mice with lung cancer cells, one third received nothing (the control group), one third received the chemotherapy drug adriamycin, and one third received the main graviola acetogenin, annonacin (at a dosage of 10 mg/kg).

At the end of a two week study, five out of six in the control group were still alive and therefore their tumor masses were measured.

The adriamycin group showed a 54.6% reduction of tumor mass over the control group however 3 out of the 6 mice had died from toxicity.

The mice receiving annonacin were all alive and the tumors were inhibited by 57.9%.

This is better than the adriamycin group and there were no toxicity problems.

Current Practical Uses

Cancer research is always on the go with several attempts to turn these plant chemicals into healthier versions of chemotherapy.

It has taken nearly 10 years for scientists to successfully chemically reproduce the main chemical, annonacin.

The next step now is to transform the annonacin and other active acetogenins into patented cancer drugs.

Until these drugs are produced, many cancer patients are not waiting but are taking an active role themselves by consuming pure Graviola.

The recommended dosage is said to be 2-3 g. taken 3-4 times daily.

Graviola Plant Summary

Main Actions (in order): anticancerous, antitumorous, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure)

Main Uses:

• for cancer (all types)

• as a broad-spectrum internal and external antimicrobial to treat bacterial and fungal infections

• for internal parasites and worms

• for high blood pressure

• for depression, stress, and nervous disorders

Properties/Actions Documented by Research: antibacterial, anticancerous, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, antifungal, antimalarial, antimutagenic (cellular protector), antiparasitic, antispasmodic, antitumorous, cardiodepressant, emetic (causes vomiting), hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), insecticidal, sedative, uterine stimulant, vasodilator

Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use: antiviral, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart), decongestant, digestive stimulant, febrifuge (reduces fever), nervine (balances/calms nerves), pediculicide (kills lice), vermifuge (expels worms)

Cautions: It has cardiodepressant, vasodilator, and hypotensive (lowers blood pressure) actions.

Be aware that large dosages can cause nausea and vomiting.

Avoid combining with ATP-enhancers like CoQ10.


• Graviola has demonstrated uterine stimulant activity in an animal study (rats) and should therefore not be used during pregnancy.

• Graviola has demonstrated hypotensive, vasodilator, and cardiodepressant activities in animal studies and is contraindicated for people with low blood pressure.

People taking antihypertensive drugs should check with their doctors before taking graviola and monitor their blood pressure accordingly (as medications may need adjusting).

• Graviola has demonstrated significant in vitro antimicrobial properties.

Chronic, long-term use of this plant may lead to die-off of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract due to its antimicrobial properties.

Supplementing the diet with probiotics and digestive enzymes is advisable if this plant is used for longer than 30 days.

• Graviola has demonstrated emetic properties in one animal study with pigs.

Large single dosages may cause nausea or vomiting.

Reduce the usage accordingly if this occurs.

• One study with rats given a stem-bark extract intragastrically (at 100 mg/kg) reported an increase in dopamine, norepinephrine, and monomine oxidase activity, as well as a inhibition of serotonin release in stress-induced rats.

• Alcohol extracts of graviola leaf showed no toxicity or side effects in mice at 100 mg/kg; however, at a dosage of 300 mg/kg, a reduction in explorative behavior and mild abdominal constrictions was observed.

If sedation or sleepiness occurs, reduce the amount used.

Drug Interactions: None have been reported; however, graviola may potentiate antihypertensive and cardiac depressant drugs.

It may potentiate antidepressant drugs and interfere with MAO-inhibitor drugs. See contraindications above.

Worldwide Ethnomedical Uses:


For abscesses, bronchitis, chest problems, cough, diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery, edema, fever, intestinal colic, intestinal parasites, liver problems, neuralgia, nervousness, pain, parasites, rheumatism, spasms, worms


For chills, fever, flu, indigestion, nervousness, palpitations, rash, spasms, skin disease, and as a sedative


For childbirth, gallbladder problems, nervousness, and as a sedative and tranquilizer


For digestive sluggishness, coughs, diarrhea, fever, flu, heart conditions, lactation aid, lice, nerves, parasites, pain, pellagra, sores, spasms, weakness, wounds, and as a sedative


For asthma, fevers, heart conditions, hypertension, lactation aid, nervousness, parasites, spasms, water retention, weakness, worms, and as a sedative


For boils, coughs, diarrhea, dermatosis, hypertension, rheumatism, and to reduce bleeding


For diarrhea, dysentery, fever, chest colds, ringworm, scurvy, and to reduce bleeding.


For diarrhea, dyspepsia, kidney, stomach ulcers, worms


For diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, hypertension, indigestion, inflammation, lice, liver disorders, parasites, spasms, tumors, ulcers (internal), and as a sedative


For blood cleansing, fainting, flu, high blood pressure, insomnia, lactation aid, palpitations, ringworms


For cancer, depression, fungal infections, hypertension, intestinal parasites, tumors

West Indies

For asthma, childbirth, diarrhea, hypertension, lactation aid, parasites, worms.


For arthritis, asthma, bile insufficiency, childbirth, cancer, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, heart problems, kidney problems, lactation aid, lice, liver disorders, malaria, pain, ringworm, scurvy, stomach problems and as a sedative.

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