Soursop, botanically known as (Graviola guyabano) is the fruit of broadleaf and flowering tree Annona Muricata. It grows in the tropical regions of South America, Asia, and Africa. It could be mistaken for a spiky avocado.
The fruits are large and oval-shaped. The green exterior, which is covered by spines, covers stringy flesh.
Traditionally, soursop is used to cure certain ailments. Both the fruits and leaves have great benefits to the body, but we’ll discuss the health benefits of soursop leaves.
Nutritional Values of Soursop Leaves
Soursop leaves are loaded with a high level of potassium which helps maintain a normal level of fluid in the cells; zinc which heals damaged tissues; copper, which helps the body make red blood cells and keeps nerve cells healthy.
Niacin, riboflavin, alkaloids, acetylation, and genins are beneficial components of soursop leaves.
Health Benefits of Soursop Leaves
Below are some of the health benefits of soursop leaves based its nutritional profile and some medical studies available.
1. Helps fight against cancer
Soursop leaves contain acetogenins (ACGs) which aid cancerous cell death. It also blocks cancer cells from growing and metastasizing.
According to 2016 in-vivo and in-vitro research, soursop leaves fight against certain breast cancer cell lines.
2. Boosts immune system
Antioxidants which are major components of soursop leaves, keep the cell healthy by destroying disease-causing free radicals in the body.
Vitamin B1, Zinc, and selenium present in soursop leaves boost the immune system and prevent infections.
An evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine journal suggests that soursop leaves boost human immunity and reduce the harmful effects of oxidative stress in the body.
3. Antidiabetic Properties
Soursop leaves have been used in herbal medicine for it’s anti-diabetic effects.
A 2019 study showed that extracts of soursop leaf was able to significantly decrease blood glucose levels in streptozotocin-induced diabetic white rats.
Another study demonstrated the antidiabetic potential of soursop leaf extract (Annona muricata L.) In the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
4. Fights Infection
Another potential health benefit of soursop leaves is it’s ability to treat infections. In fact, for decades, soursop leaves have been used to treat a variety of infections.
There’s also some medical evidence that supports that claim. A 2019 study showed that soursop leaves contain several important phytochemicals, have a great potential as active antibacterial agents and could help treat skin infections.
5. May Improve Oral Health
Soursop leaves might also play a role in improving oral health. A 2016 in-vitro study investigated the anti-microbial efficacy of soursop leaf extract (Annona muricata) on oral pathogens.
The results of the study showed that to an extent, the soursop leaf extract, when used against oral pathogens, has significant anti-microbial and fungicidal properties.
6. May Boost Fertility
A lot of claims have been made regarding soursop leaves and fertility. There’s a little chance that soursop leaves may help boost fertility.
According to a 2021 study, soursop juice enhanced seminal antioxidant defence and semen quality in rabbits. At the same time, another study shows that soursop juice improved spermatozoa fertility and oxidative status in roosters. Hence, soursop leaves may help with fertility, but the effects on humans are not known, and there’s a need for more research.
How to prepare soursop tea (Graviola tea)
- 6 pieces of soursop leaves (fresh or dried)
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of honey or sugar (optional)
- Rinse the leaves thoroughly
- Pour 1 cup of water into a pot and put it on heat
- Add the leaves and lower the heat
- Allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 15 minutes
- Remove the pot from heat and strain the mixture into a teacup
- Add the sweetener to improve the taste of the tea
Extracts from soursop leaves have a lot of health benefits which makes it one of the most beneficial leaves to the human body. Although there may be some potential health benefits of soursop leaves, there is still a need for more research and studies to ascertain the effects on humans. However, always consult your doctor before using soursop leaves for any treatment.
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