Written by: Katarina Subotich

Common name: Guanábana, Soursoap, Cherimoya, Brazilian paw paw, Graviola.

Botanical name: Annona muricata

Family: Annonaceae

 Guanábana is a small evergreen tree that grows usually  5-6m in hight. It has dark, oval leaves and bears edible fruit that can be 10-15 cm in diameter. The fruit is green in color with white flesh inside. Guanábana is native to tropical areas of Central and South America.

All parts of guanábana are used as a medicine in tropics:

-fruit is used against warms and parasites, to bring down fevers and as astringent in diarrhea

-crushed seeds are used for parasites, head lice

-the bark, roots and leaves are considered sedative, antispasmodic and nervine.

 The current research is focused on particular group of chemicals naturally occurring in guanábana. They are know as Annonaceous acetinonis and have very selective actions towards  cancer cells. Acetinonins are acting as inhibitors on enzymatic processes in tumorous cell membranes ( those enzymes do not exist in membranes of the healthy cells and that explains its selective action). Acetinonins have affinity for cancer cells that developed multiple drug resistance (MDR). Certain cancer cells have developed intracellular pump that pushes away anticancer agents before they can get inside the cell and destroy it. Acetinonins do inhibit the work of this mechanism and cut the supply of ATP to the intracellular pump and, without the energy supply, the cancer cell eventually die.

In Puerto Rico, this plant is traditionally used to boost immune system, improve digestion, fight parasites and as anticanceous agent.

Product containing Guanabana: Guanabana extract.