For centuries people have been reaping the health benefits of soursop leaves. In fact, the soursop plant is often referred to as the ‘miracle tree’, but do you know why?
It’s because Soursop boasts anti-cancer properties. It is said that the biochemical composition of Soursop is a thousand times more effective than radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
However, soursop leaves aren’t just effective for cancer. In fact, they provide several other health benefits that many people out there are unaware of.
In this post, we’ll focus on the top eight most important health benefits of soursop leaves.
What is Soursop?
Before we explore the benefits of soursop leaves, you should first understand what Soursop actually is.
Soursop or Graviola is a flowering tree. It is native to Mexico, Cuba, Central America and certain parts of India.
Southeastern China is a large distributor of Soursop and it imports the plant, fruit and leaves to Western and Eastern Africa and Australia.
Soursop is used in traditional medicines for treating many ailments and diseases. This plant can treat diabetes, hypertension, inflammation, parasitic infections, rheumatism, and a few other conditions.
The soursop fruit can be eaten and holds therapeutic value. It is a good anti-arthritic agent. The extracts of the fruit fight worm and parasitic infections.
Soursop leaves possess antispasmodic properties and can treat inflammation and hypoglycemia.
These properties are attributed to the metabolites of the plant. Tannins, terpenoids, coumarins, alkaloids, saponins and other phytochemicals are found in soursop plant.
Health Benefits of Soursop Leaves
As we Americans are forever searching for healthy foods and drinks to aid in our overall well-being, many remain relatively unknown because they are not part of the latest health “fad”.
Soursop leaves are no exception, though we believe it’s time to shine is coming sooner rather than later.
Here are our favorite eight health benefits of soursop leaves:
Soursop Leaves Tea for Sleep
If you ask the people living in the Caribbean about what they do to get a good night’s sleep, most of them will say that they use Soursop leaves.
In the West Indies, these leaves are usually used as a sedative while the people of the Netherlands Antilles brew the leaves to make Soursop tea that enhances sleep.
Soursop leaves can even be put into a pillowcase to help a person sleep better due to its muscle relaxant activity and will act as sedatives to help you sleep.
If you are suffering from insomnia, we suggest you sip on a glass of Soursop tea to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Soursop Leaves for Diabetes
Diabetes is steadily on the rise around the globe, especially in western countries like America.
It’s one of the deadliest diseases known to man with extremely high-risk consequences. The long-term impact of the disease includes damage to arteries and blood vessels inside the brain, legs, and heart.
Soursop leaves are known to have anti-diabetic properties. Daily administration of 100 kg of Soursop extract to rats revealed strong glycemic control.
Soursop treatment in mice also reduced serum creatinine levels and blood sugar levels.
It also had positive effects on liver enzymes and it balanced their activity.
The levels of triglycerides and cholesterol were also restored by the administration of Soursop, while the extract of the plant had a favorable effect on antioxidant enzymes in rats.
Soursop fruit also has anti-diabetic properties.
While Soursop fruit and leaves may help people with diabetes, we suggest you consult your healthcare practitioner before using it to avoid any adverse side effects.
Soursop Leaves for Weight Loss
Tea prepared using soursop leaves may help with weight loss.
But eating soursop fruit and using soursop leaves in their raw form isn’t associated with weight loss and there is no scientific evidence to suggest that soursop can help an individual lose weight.
Soursop Leaves for High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is dangerous as it can increase the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
In less-developed countries, soursop is often used to help fight high blood pressure.
A 2012 study conducted on mice found that soursop helped lower blood pressure without causing the heart rate to increase.
Researchers stipulated that the hypotensive abilities of the herb are attributed to a peripheral mechanism that involves antagonism of calcium ions.
Soursop Leaves for Cancer
Research has shown that soursop leaves are effective in fighting cancer.
Studies demonstrate cytotoxic and antiproliferative effects of soursop against breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, mouth cancer, ovary cancer, cervix cancer, liver cancer, blood cancer, and skin cancer.
The active bio-ingredients in soursop leaves are known as annonaceous acetogenins or AGEs.
They are responsible for the anti-cancer properties found in the plant and its leaves because they inhibit a cancer cell protein called the mitochondrial complex, which is known to naturally kill cancer cells by reducing cancer cells’ ability to grow and spread in the body.
One of the reasons soursop leaves are considered effective for cancer treatment is that the starvation of energy is only observed in the cancer cells while healthy cells aren’t affected.
This means that soursop leaves are an effective natural alternative to traditional cancer medicines.
Soursop Leaves for Teeth
Soursop leaves contain both fungicidal and bacterial.
This inhibits the growth of Candida albicans, Porphyromonas gingivalils, Streptococcus mitis, and Streptococcus mutans. These strains are known to cause oral diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.
Experiments have reported positive antimicrobial effects of soursop leaves.
They were extremely potent against the Candida albicans fungus. These results demonstrate that soursop leaves are effective in the treatment of some oral disorders due to the plant’s anti-inflammatory fighting and antioxidant properties.
Scientists and dentists hope that in the future soursop leaves may be used to treat chronic dental problems and oral cancers.
Soursop Leaves for Controlling Inflammation
Soursop leaves can be used in different forms for treating various inflammation disorders.
Studies conducted on rats show their painkilling, antioxidant and wound-healing effects.
Leaves are applied topically for their neuralgic and anti-rheumatic effects and they can heal wounds and abscesses.
Soursop extracts can also provide relief from inflammatory conditions like arthritic pain, skin rashes, parasites, dysentery, fever, cystitis, rheumatism, and malaria.
The extract inhibits several inflammatory mediators including nitric oxide, IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α.
Soursop leaves may also prove effective in healing open wounds, edema, lesions, and ulcers without any toxicity.
Soursop Leaves Contain Antioxidants
Soursop is rich in antioxidants and these antioxidants are attributed to many of the benefits of this plant and its leaves.
Antioxidants can help neutralize harmful free radicals which may cause damage to the cells in the body.
Research has shown that antioxidants can play a critical role in reducing the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and a few other diseases.
Further research on soursop’s antioxidant properties found that it was able to protect against damage that free radicals cause.
Another study showed that antioxidants in soursop extract helped prevent cells from being damaged.
The extract also contains plant compounds – like quercetin, tangeretin, and luteolin – that act as antioxidants.
It is important to note that all these studies have been conducted in test tubes and more research is required to determine the benefits of antioxidants in Soursop for human beings.
Soursop Leaves Questions and Answers
Q. What are the Side Effects of Soursop Leaves?
- May Worsen Parkinson’s Disease
Several researchers have shown that the chemical found in Soursop is present in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Patients who are suffering from this disorder should avoid using/eating Soursop as it can potentially worsen the symptoms.
- Neurotoxicity Issue
Some researchers warn against the overuse of soursop tea.
They believe that over-consumption of this tea can lead to an issue related to neurotoxicity, which is a form of brain damage that may disrupt the neurons over time.
The symptoms include sexual dysfunction, headache, and memory loss.
This is one reason why we always recommend you consult a physician before introducing any new foods or drinks to your diet.
Soursop tea should always be consumed in moderation.
Low Blood Pressure
Experiments conducted on mice suggest that soursop leaves may reduce blood pressure levels in the body.
People with low blood pressure should, therefore, avoid using/consuming soursop as the consequences can be dangerous.
If you are using the soursop leaves to manage high blood pressure, watch out for the damage as over-consumption can lead to many problems including diarrhea and vomiting.
Q. How Can You Use Soursop Leaves?
Brewing tea with them is perhaps the ideal way to use soursop leaves.
This is because ingesting raw soursop leaves might not be safe and there is no information to suggest that the leaves can be eaten in their raw form.
Soursop leaves can be brewed in two different ways. We’ll show how:
Take a teapot and add 1 tablespoon of Soursop tea blend in it. Next, add boiling water to it and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. Strain the leaves and serve hot.
You can also use whole Soursop leaves. If you are using them, boil water in a teapot. Put two to three leaves in the boiling water and allow them to simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the leaves and serve hot.
- Add 1 liter of water in a teapot
- Add the Soursop tea blend or whole Soursop leaves to the pot and heat the water.
- Allow the water to boil. Keep the lid off and let it boil until the water in the pot is reduced by half
- Then turn off the stove and let it steep for about 15 minutes
- Drink it hot or warm
You can also add lime juice, honey or mint leaves to improve the taste.
There isn’t any specific dose for soursop tea. Animal studies haven’t shown any signs of toxicity even at high doses.
Q. Can Soursop Leaves be Eaten Raw?
Soursop fruit is typically eaten raw but not the leaves.
The fruit is cut in half and the flesh is scooped out.
But, Soursop leaves should not be consumed in their raw form as there is no publication recommending the ingestion of Soursop leaves so we strongly suggest not consuming them at all.
Q. Does Soursop Tea Help You Lose Weight?
Soursop tea may help with weight loss. But eating Soursop fruit isn’t associated with weight loss and there is no scientific research suggesting that Soursop can help people lose weight.
Q. Where to Buy Soursop Leaves?
As we mentioned earlier, soursop leaves and fruit – while extremely healthy to drink or eat – are still flying under the radar of most health enthusiasts and therefore not available at most major retailers.
The best place to buy soursop leaves is on Amazon or at local specialized health food stores.
Well, there you have it – our favorite health benefits of soursop and as you now know, this powerful and potent plant provides countless health benefits.
Soursop can help you sleep better, control inflammation, and aid weight loss.
It’s also good for teeth and can lower blood pressure levels to manage hypertension.
But, perhaps the most profound health benefit of Soursop leaves is its cancer-fighting abilities.
Cytotoxic and anti-proliferative effects of Soursop have been demonstrated against several types of cancer including breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, mouth cancer, ovary cancer, cervix cancer, liver cancer, blood cancer, and skin cancer.
As we noted, soursop leaves do have some side effects, but they are rare and aren’t something that should prevent you from using them.
One essential thing you should remember is that Soursop leaves shouldn’t be consumed in their raw form – ever. Instead, you should always brew them and drink the tea prepared with them.
We hope you find our take on the benefits of Soursop leaves helpful.
If you have any more questions about soursop leaves, leave a comment or contact us here and we will respond in a timely manner.
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