Young Soursop on the tree

Soursop (Bahasa Indonesia: sirsak) is the fruit of Annona muricata, a flowering, evergreen tree. Those who have never seen a soursop before are often amazed by its elongated shape with green skin that has a soft prickly appearance. At a glance it may not seen appetizing (the appearance is somewhat unique), but the fruit actually tastes delicious.

The flesh of the fruit consists of an edible, white pulp, some fiber, and a core of indigestible black seeds. The flavor of the fruit has been described as a combination of strawberry and pineapple, with sour citrus flavor notes contrasting with an underlying creamy texture, reminiscent of coconut or banana. It is used to make smoothies, fruit juice drinks, sorbets, and ice cream flavorings. Usually the pulp and juice is scraped out using spoon and the seeds are removed before processing further.

In Indonesia, soursop is usually eaten fresh or mixed in various desserts. The most common one would be Sop Buah (assorted fruit with ice and syrup) and Jus Sirsak (fresh soursop smoothies). The sour flavor combined with the sweetness of syrup, condensed milk, and shaved ice is really perfect as dessert. Soursop is also processed into dodol (sweetmeat), made by boiling soursop pulp in water and adding sugar until the mixture hardens.

Soursop in syrup and ice

Soursop could be the cure for cancer

The anti-cancer properties of this fruit have been a topic of research over the past 40 years. Since the 1970s, more than 20 laboratory studies have been conducted on soursop-derived compounds. These studies have shown that soursop may have the potential of destroying malignant cells in 12 different types of cancer including prostate, breast, lung, colon, and pancreatic cancers.

In 1996, research published in the Journal of Natural Products showed that compound 1 (one of five extracted from the seed of soursop fruit) was “selectively cytotoxic to colon adenocarcinoma cells (HT-29)” and “10,000 times stronger” in inhibiting cancer growth thant the chemotherapy drug adriamycin.

Annonaceous acetogenins present in soursop also kills only cancerous cells and not healthy cells (all conventional treatments, be it chemotherapy, radiation, or oral drugs kill both cancerous and healthy cells). It also slows the growth of cancerous cells without causing any harmful side effects.

It is important to point out that the efficiency of soursop as an anti-cancer agent does not diminish in any way when you take it with chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy drugs have a negative effect on patients’ digestive system, and soursop improves digestive health and provides relief from several digestive problems such as indigestion and constipation.

Vitamin C in soursop also makes the immune system stronger and reduces the risk to infections such as urinary tract infections, cold, and cough. Moreover, soursop also improves your blood cells and platelet count.

Other health benefits

This exotic fruit offers a wealth of health benefits. People in African and South American countries have used the bark, leaves, root, and fruits of Soursop tree to treat infections with viruses or parasites, rheumatism, arthritis, depression, and sickness.

One of the infections that can be cured using soursop is leishmaniasis, which is a disease that’s transmitted through the bite of sand fleas. It’s also been used to treat herpes, coughs, and vomiting. Bacterial and viral infections can cause coughing, sneezing, fever, and more symptoms. Soursop may be able to efficiently fight the infection.

Soursop’s leaves extract also has shown anti-inflammatory properties in addition to its antimicrobial characteristics, making soursop a versatile anti-inflammatory food. Studies indicate that soursop may be a natural anti-infection treatment for root canals.

Many of the health benefits of soursop are thought to be derived from its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiviral effects. However, because the plant has not yet been researched in humans, especially to know its effectiveness in preventing and curing cancer. The use of soursop to fight cancer has been strongly debated. Consult with your doctor before trying herbal medicines made of soursop for treating cancer.

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