Soursop Leaves Ease Fibromyalgia Pain (New Study!)

 

Soursop Leaves (Graviola) Help Fibromyalgia Symptoms

 

A new animal study from the University of Seville has indicated that supplementing with an extract of soursop leaves (also known as Annona muricata L.,  graviola, guyabano, and in Latin America, guanábana)  may prevent fibromalgia pain, as well as the accompanying anxiety and depression.

Researchers from the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Seville have recently published a study in which they state that diets supplemented with aqueous extract of Annona muricata L. leaves can prevent the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, so improving the lives of these patients.

Ana María Quilez from the Medicinal Plants research group at the University of Seville states that in pharmaceutical form, and in the correct dosage,

 

“[Soursop] … can reduce the chronic pain, anxiety and depression that accompany this disease [fibromyalgia].”

 

The soursop leaf extract being referred to comes from the traditional preparation using decoction.  Decoction is the process of extracting the essence of something; in this case, the decoction of the sourop leaves through heating or boiling, resulting in a concentrated extract.

This study was carried out over one month using 60 five-week old female rats in the laboratories of the Faculty of Pharmacy. The animals were divided into six groups that were fed a standard diet supplement with different quantities of this plant.

After the results obtained by the researchers, the next step will be to carry out clinical tests with patients, to corroborate the extract’s activity and establish the safe and effective dose in humans.

This study was made available online in June 2018 ahead of final publication in print in October 2018.

 

Soursop Leaves

Leaves of the species Annona muricata L. come from a tree of between 4 and 6 meters in height, from the botanical family Annonaceae. They are simple leaves, oblong and egg-like or oblong and elliptical in shape, and between 5 and 15 cm in length.

This species is native to the tropical areas of the Americas and is especially abundant in the Amazon region, and is usually cultivated for its medicinal use.

The leaves have different ethnomedical uses according to their country of origin.

The most important uses in traditional medicine, scientifically validated in pre-clinical tests, are for inflammation, pain, infections, diabetes and cancer.

 

Soursop Benefits

The most important uses in traditional medicine, scientifically validated in pre-clinical tests, are for inflammation, pain, infections, diabetes and cancer.

 

High in Antioxidants

Test-tube studies show that soursop is high in antioxidants, which may help prevent cell damage and could lower the risk of chronic disease.

One test-tube study looked at the antioxidant properties of soursop and found that it was able to effectively protect against damage caused by free radicals.

Another test-tube study measured the antioxidants in soursop extract and showed that it helped prevent damage to cells. It also contained several plant compounds that act as antioxidants, including luteolin, quercetin and tangeretin.

 

Anti-Cancerous Properties

Although most research is currently limited to test-tube studies, some studies have found that soursop could potentially help eliminate cancer cells.

 

Soursop could potentially eliminate cancer cells.

 

One test-tube study treated breast cancer cells with soursop extract. Interestingly enough, it was able to reduce tumor size, kill off cancer cells and enhance the activity of the immune system.

Another test-tube study looked at the effects of soursop extract on leukemia cells, which was found to stop the growth and formation of cancer cells.

 

Fights Bacterial Infections

In one test-tube study, extracts of soursop with varying concentrations were used on different types of bacteria known to cause oral diseases.

Soursop was able to effectively kill off multiple types of bacteria, including strains that cause gingivitis, tooth decay and yeast infections.

Another test-tube study showed that soursop extract worked against the bacteria responsible for cholera and Staphylococcus infections.

 

Anti-Inflammatory

 

Chronic inflammation leads to many health issues.

 

Some animal studies have found that soursop and its components may be able to help fight inflammation.

In one study, rats were treated with soursop extract, which was found to decrease swelling and alleviate inflammation.

Another study had similar findings, showing that soursop extract reduced swelling in mice by up to 37%.

Though research is currently limited to animal studies, this may be especially beneficial in the treatment of inflammatory disorders like arthritis.

In fact, in one animal study, soursop extract was found to decrease the levels of certain inflammatory markers involved in arthritis.

 

Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Soursop has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels in some animal studies.

In one study, diabetic rats were injected with soursop extract for two weeks. Those who received the extract had blood sugar levels that were five times lower than the untreated group.

Another study showed that administering soursop extract to diabetic rats reduced blood sugar levels by up to 75%.

These animal studies use a concentrated amount of soursop extract that exceeds what you might get through your diet, so supplementing would be necessary to reach similar therapeutic levels.

 

It May Prevent Peptic (Stomach) Ulcers

According to a 2014 study on rodents, graviola showed antiulcer abilities. It helped protect the stomach’s mucous lining. It also helped prevent free radical damage to the digestive tract.

 

It May Treat Herpes

Graviola is considered an alternative treatment for herpes, but the supporting evidence is still coming in. A 2012 study showed antiherpes activity with graviola in the laboratory.

According to a 1999 study, graviola extract may have antiviral effects against herpes simplex 2 virus (HSV-2). HSV-2 is responsible for most cases of genital herpes outbreaks.

In vitro, graviola was toxic to HSV-2 cells.

 

It May Lower Blood Pressure

A 2012 study on rats found graviola helped reduce blood pressure without increasing heart rate.

According to researchers, the herb’s hypotensive abilities are due to “peripheral mechanisms involving antagonism of Ca²⁺ [calcium ions].”

 

Soursop Flavor

With aroma similar to pineapple, the flavor of the fruit has been described as a combination of strawberries and apple, and sour citrus flavor notes, contrasting with an underlying creamy texture reminiscent of coconut or banana.

 

How Soursop is Eaten

Soursop has a strong, naturally sweet flavor, and is is most often enjoyed raw.

Often, soursops are cut in sections and the flesh eaten with a spoon. The seeded pulp can be torn or cut into bits and added to fruit cups or salads, or chilled and served as dessert with sugar and a little milk or cream.

Dried soursop leaves can be processed into tea or supplement.

For years, seeded soursop has been canned in Mexico and served in Mexican restaurants in New York and other northern cities.

Most widespread throughout the tropics is the making of refreshing soursop drinks (called champola in Brazil; carato in Puerto Rico).

For this purpose, the seeded pulp may be pressed in a colander or sieve or squeezed in cheesecloth to extract the rich, creamy juice, which is then beaten with milk or water and sweetened.

Or, the seeded pulp can be blended with an equal amount of boiling water and then strained and sweetened.

 

Soursop leaves are made into medicinal teas.

 

From juices to ice creams and sorbets, soursop is a popular ingredient found throughout South America and can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways, such as adding it to smoothies and baked goods.

The leaves are also made into teas.

When selecting fruit, pick one that is soft or let it ripen for a few days before eating. Then simply cut it lengthwise, scoop out the flesh from the rind and enjoy.

 

Keep in mind:

Avoid eating soursop seeds.

The seeds of the soursop should be avoided, as they have been shown to contain annonacin, a neurotoxin that may contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease.

 

 

Soursop Nutrition Data

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*

Calories 61.3-53.1
Moisture 82.8g
Protein 1.00g
Fat 0.97g
Carbohydrates 14.63g
Fiber 0.79g
Ash 60g
Calcium 10.3 mg
Phosphorus 27.7 mg
Iron 0.64 mg
Vitamin A (B-carotene) 0
Thiamine 0.11 mg
Riboflavin 0.05 mg
Niacin 1.28mg
Ascorbic Acid 29.6 mg
Amino Acids:
Tryptophan 11 mg
Methionine 7 mg
Lysine 60mg

*Analyses made at the Laboratorio FIM de Nutricion, Havana, Cuba.

 

Soursop Tea

Soursop (Graviola) tea is available as a pure tea, or as a blend (usually with black or green tea).  You can also brew tea from the whole leaves.

 

How to Brew Soursop Tea

Brewing for Flavor

Brewing soursop tea for flavor is much like brewing a regular cup of herbal tea. Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of your favorite Graviola Tea, add boiling water and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the leaves before drinking.

If you are using whole soursop leaves, take 2 to 3 graviola leaves for one to two cups of tea. Add leaves to water and let simmer for at least 10 minutes. Remove leaves before serving.

This short brewing time allows you to extract the enough flavor from the leaves and herbs for a well balanced cup of tea.

 

Brewing for Health

Brewing soursop tea to extract the maximum health benefits requires more time.

Here are three useful methods:

Omura Organic Soursop Leaves

1. If using a blend, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of tea per cup of boiling water and let steep for a minimum of 10 minutes. You can steep for up to 20 minutes, but may have to reheat the tea before drinking. A tea candle is useful to keep the tea hot while infusing. You may want to try a few different brewing lengths, so as to achieve your preferred extraction of flavors. Generally you can steep tea bags for less time than  whole leaves.

2. If using whole soursop leaves, add 1 to 3 leaves, depending on their size, for 1 to 2 cups of water. Cover pan and simmer the leaves for 20 to 30 minutes.

3. A third method is to add the whole graviola leaves or blend to a pot with one liter (one quart) of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and and let boil uncovered until the water has been reduced by half.

The additional steeping time extracts more of the benefits of the graviola leaf. You can either drink the tea at room temperature or reheat it. The downside to this method is the additional time from tea-pot to tongue.

 

Brewing Notes

Graviola tea and blends can be brewed directly in a cup or a teapot and then strained into a cup. A metal straining spoon also works well.

I recommend using a straining spoon or metal filter with very small holes, as soursop can leaves a fine residue which is less pleasant to drink.

You can also try a reusable cloth tea filter or a disposable, non-bleached paper filter.

If pan-boiling whole leaves, filter the tea when serving.

 

Recommended Soursop Teas

 

Pure Soursop Graviola Leaves Tea
Jans All Natural Graviola/Guanaban Leaves Tea

 

 

Soursop and Black Tea Blend
Mlesna Soursop/Black Tea
Soursop and Green Tea Blend
Mlesna Soursop Green Tea

 

Soursop Supplements

Soursop supplements are starting to become more popular, as news of its many health benefits become more widespread.  You may find it at one of the larger pharmacy or drugstore chains, and there are quite a few soursop supplement options at Amazon.

 

Soursop Graviola Leaf Supplements

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, look for a product made from the leaf of the soursop (graviola), rather than a product made from the fruit.  This can be found in powder form (add to smoothies, for example), capsules, or as a tinture. 

Royal Life Essentials Graviola Powder is a high quality graviola leaf powder.  It’s made without additives, and has excellent reviews.

Royal Life Essentials Graviola Powder

 

Superior Labs Pure Graviola is pure powdered soursop graviola leaf in a capsule format.  Again, this brand has excellent reviews.

Superior Labs Pure Graviola

 

 

 

 

 

Another option is this highly-rated Liquid Soursop Extract Tincture, which is made from organic dried graviola leaves.  

Graviola Soursop Extract

 

Soursop Graviola Fruit Supplement

To supplement your diet with the soursop fruit itself, you can find it in purée, powdered, or capsule form.  Note that these products don’t contain the soursop leaf.

This Primor Soursop Purée is provides a great way to add the sourop fruit to your diet.  It’s composed of 67% fruit, 32% cane sugar, 0.5% citric acid, and 0.5% ascorbic acid (vitamin C).  There is no high-fructose corn syrup, beet sugar, or artificial sweeteners.

Primor Soursop – Real Fruit Purée

 

This Pure Soursop Graviola Fruit Powder from Prescribed for Life is Non GMO and pesticide-free.

Prescribed For Life Graviola Natural Whole Fruit Powder

 

These Graviola Fruit Capsules from Sports Supplements are an easy option for supplementing with the soursop fruit. 

Sports Supplements Graviola

 

Soursop Side Effects

Soursop tea can have gastric side effects, if taken in large and strong quantities, so moderation should be used whenever consuming graviola leaf tea or the fruit of the same plant.

 

Neurotoxic Effects

Research has revealed that there are neurotoxins present in soursop that may be related to Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

However, these neurotoxins occur in many foods, typically in minimal amounts, and the direct link between neurotoxic effects and this tea remains unproven.

Also, as discussed, don’t ingest the seeds.

 

Digestive Disorders

The antimicrobial and antibacterial effects of this tea are remarkably strong, and just like an antibiotic prescription it can, over time, lower the positive bacteria found in our gut, leaving the body prone to acidity imbalances, poor digestion, and other gastrointestinal problems.  This result can be avoided by taking probiotics along with your soursop supplement.

 

Hypotension

If you suffer from low blood pressure or are on strong blood pressure-regulating medications, the hypotensive effects of soursop tea can cause dangerously low blood pressure, possibly resulting in weakness, dizziness, fainting, and headaches.  Use soursop with care if you suffer from low blood pressure.

 

Drug Interactions

People taking antidepressant medication, sedatives, blood pressure pills or drugs for neurodegenerative diseases should speak to a doctor before adding soursop to the health regimen, as this could result in drug interactions and complications.

 

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid using the supplements and teas (which can provide too much of soursop’s active ingredients), and instead opt for soursop purée.

 

Final Thoughts

Studies show that both the leaves and the fruit pulp of the soursop offer exciting promise for enhancing our health is a myriad of ways.

Fibromyalgia sufferers, in particular should consider supplementing with a graviola leaf extract, in the form of a tincture made from whole leaves, capsules, powder or extract. 

Have you tried soursop for fibromyalgia or another health issue?  I’d love to hear your experience with any form of either the leaves or the fruit!

 

 

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Amazing article, so informative! Soursop is an amazing plant and many people dont know much about it, articles like these make it easy to learn on how this plant can help your body. Thanks!

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Thanks for your feedback!

-LM