As more and more people turn to alternative sources of medicine that are not comprised of man-made chemicals, many natural substances are gaining popularity. Among these is a natural material known as Soursop. Soursop is a broad-leafed evergreen, flowering tree with fruit that looks like an over-inflated cross between a green apple and a pineapple, which can grow up to fifteen pounds. It is native to Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia where it is grown commercially for the making of juice, sorbet, ice cream, candy, and smoothies (the fruit has the taste of pineapple mixed with strawberries). The entire tree – leaves, fruit, bark, and root – is valued for its medicinal properties that have been used to treat an incredible number of ailments, maladies, and diseases, ranging from backaches to cancer. The benefits of soursop are truly worth considering, and below are just a few.
- Hair and skin problems: Soursop is good at treating a number of hair problems such as split ends, dandruff, and falling hair, greying, and head lice. To derive these benefits make a tea from the leaves and use it as a hair rinse. The natural ingredients in the leaves, when mashed until soft and applied directly to the affected area, are good at treating eczema as well as skin infections such as acne.
- Treating blood disorders: Because the tree is rich is rich in iron, teas made from soursop fruit and leaves are great for treating anemia and increasing red blood cell count. It is also good for reducing hypertension; and because of its antibacterial properties, it is very effective in curing infections. Placing a whole fresh leaf on a cut, sore, or wound should help healing progress more quickly than when left untreated.
- Treating Breast Cancer: An online article published by Cancer Centers of America discussed a study released in in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, published in 1997, indicated that chemical composites extracted from soursop fruit were more effective at destroying culture breast cancer cells than chemotherapy. Soursop leaves have been shown to kill cancer cells 10,000 times more effectively than other treatments, with the added benefit that it does not harm healthy cells. Soursop has also been found to be very effective in treating the side-effects of chemotherapy. The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry was not alone in its findings. The Health and Sciences Institute has published more than one paper pronouncing that soursop leaves were very effective in killing cancer cells without harming the rest of the body. The National Cancer Institute came to the same conclusion, even the University of Purdue and other universities around the world found similar findings. No further studies have been done however, because soursop is a natural substance, and therefore cannot be patented. However, in some countries it has been used as a treatment for colon, prostate, and lung cancers with some success.
- Disorders of the organs: Soursop leaf tea can treat gallbladder problems, liver ailments, and it can even lower glucose levels in diabetics by stimulating increased insulin production by aiding the beta cells in the pancreas.
- Nutrient Content: Both the leaves and the fruit of the soursop tree contain high levels of Vitamins A and B, and C, fiber, iron, potassium, calcium. Soursop leaves also contain gentisic acid, annonacin, annocatalin, and anonol that strengthen the immune system.
- Immune system booster: soursop tea can be used to perk up and feel better quicker when getting over a cold or flu. Some even think it will slow the progress of AIDS.
- Sleep aide: in the Caribbean soursop tea has been used for centuries as a treatment for insomnia, or one can just put a few fresh leaves into their pillow for that effect.
- Painful swollen feet: to reduce the discomfort brew some soursop tea and use as a foot soak.
- Arthritis and gout: soursop leaves can be mashed and rubbed on joints to reduce the pain.
These are just some of the valuable contributions that soursop offers to human health, and as natural cures and treatments are becoming more and more popular, soursop is one more powerful substance in the collection for human wellness. In the current age of “The Global Marketplace” and internet interconnectedness, this exotic medicine chest is easily and rather inexpensively acquired. A quick search on Amazon will show that you can buy the leaves, 30 for five dollars, or 200 for fifteen dollars. If you want the tea already processed and in little individual-serving teabags it is under thirty dollars for a box of 40. If you prefer capsules or vitamins you can get them from a supplement company in bottles of 100 or 200 with no prescription required (but please notify your doctor if you choose to try these remedies so side effects and changes to your condition can be monitored). For those who live in a tropical climate a tree can be purchased for $35 to $90 depending on the size of the tree at time of delivery.
Soursop is, indeed, a natural health substance that is worth considering for any number of maladies a person may be suffering, and from which relief and healing are desired.Image Source: flickr.com