George from Tema, Ghana asked:

Is graviola, or soursop, a miracle cancer cure?

Graviola and cancer

A news article was emailed to me that claims fruit from the graviola tree can cure and prevent cancer. Has this been proven?

The source:
Our answer

Graviola is a substance that comes from a tree in the rainforests of Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. Its scientific name is Annona muricata. It is also known as cherimoya, guanabana, soursop, custard apple, and brazilian paw paw. In many countries, people use the bark, leaves, root, and fruits of this tree for traditional remedies. The active ingredient is thought to be a type of plant compound (phytochemical) called annonaceous acetogenins. People in African and South American countries have used graviola to treat infections with viruses or parasites, rheumatism, arthritis, depression, and sickness. We know from research that some graviola extracts can help to treat these conditions. In laboratory studies, graviola extracts can kill some types of liver and breast cancer cells that are resistant to particular chemotherapy drugs. But 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. Overall, there is no evidence to show that graviola works as a cure for cancer. Many sites on the internet advertise and promote graviola capsules as a cancer cure, but none of them are supported by any reputable scientific cancer organisations. We know very little about how graviola affects the body. But we do know it can cause nerve changes, causing symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. So it may have harmful side effects for some people. Always talk to your doctor before taking any kind of complementary or alternative therapy.

This page was last updated on: October 23, 2012
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