Soursop, commonly marketed under its Brazilian Portuguese name “graviola,” is a large, green, spike-covered fruit commonly found in tropical regions around the world. It is known for its rich, unique, creamy taste and texture, as well as its recent rise in popularity as – believe it or not – alternative cancer treatment.
I know what you’re thinking: “Can it be true? Has Mother nature provided us with a cure for cancer?” Well hold on. Before you open your wallets, you at least have to check the facts.
An average-sized graviola weighs in at about 625 grams. A 100 gram serving of the fruit contains about 66 calories; not bad. However, the real news comes with its vitamin and mineral content. A hundred grams of graviola contains 1% of the recommended daily amount of calcium, 15 that of sodium, 1% that of zinc, 3% that of iron, 4% phosphorus, 6% magnesium, 6% potassium, and an incredible 34% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. This is further supplemented by its content of vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and choline. The fruit in itself is tasty and filling, but this kind of vitamin and mineral content means graviola is a good candidate to turn into a food supplement.
So how does this translate into “cancer cure?” The most popular source of this information is a research article published in the Journal of Natural Products (1996). Researchers Zeng, Wu, McLaughlin, and Sastrodihadjo found the presence of compounds with potential antitumour applications. Of note was the compound cis-annonicin, which was later discovered to have cytotoxic effects on certain cancer cells to an extent greater than the chemotherapy medication doxorubicin. A second article showcasing the potential of graviola as a future treatment for cancer was published in 2011 by Arthur, Woode, Terlabi, and Larbie in the European Journal of Experimental Biology.
Sadly, while research has been conducted, the use of graviola as a cancer treatment is widely debated, as no large scale tests have ever been done to confirm the effects. Graviola does kill some cancer cells, but as a newcomer on the medical battlefield, there are too many unknowns for doctors to consider before substituting current chemotherapy programs. What cancers can it effectively treat? To what extent can it treat cancer? What can it not treat? The list goes on and on.
Even so, graviola products are easy to come by with a simple Internet search; and while the medical community does not condone the plant’s extract for use as a cancer treatment, neither do they condemn it. Most of these products are made entirely out of the fruit and its leaves which are safe for consumption anyway. It doesn’t hurt to try a drug that doesn’t hurt, so some people will take graviola vitamin supplements along with their cancer medications; with the doctor’s knowledge, of course.
So how do you know where to buy graviola pills? How do you know that you’re getting legitimate products? Interestingly, some drugstores have graviola products available on their shelves. These need no prescription, and so the typical buyer has no problem accessing them. Online, there is no shortage of stores either. However, it’s best to play safe and follow two general guidelines: it is not known if graviola will cure cancer. It will definitely kill cancer cells, but as mentioned, there is no information to what extent the extract has this effect. That means graviola products that claim to be vitamin supplements are more honest, while those that claim to directly cure and prevent cancer may be exaggerating. Second, until the day graviola is confirmed by the scientific community to do what it is believed to do, avoid sites that sell specific brands of graviola products. Going to herbal medicine communities at least ensures more than one choice of product. Joining such online communities also means you learn which products have been tried before by other people, as well as what these consumers think of the product.
Having said that, www.iherb.com and cms.herbalgram.org are good places to begin your search. Alternatively, if you feel like you need to cut costs, a simple ebay or amazon page browse will do.