Guyabano, also known as soursop, is fruit of Annona muricata. It has a rough, leathery green skin with spikes that give it its dotted appearance. The edible flesh is white and fibrous with black, indigestible seeds. The pulp can be used to make preserved candies, sherbet, ice cream flavoring and fresh juice.
It can be mixed with milk to make shake or juice. You can also make it into fruit bar. Sweet meat called dodol sirsak in Indonesia is prepared by boiling the pulp in water and added with sugar until mixture hardens. Many street vendors sell guyabano to be eaten ripe or mixed into refreshment. The guyabano leaves can be used to tenderize meat. It is also used to make smoothies.
The fruit is a good source of carbohydrates, vitamin B1, Vitamin B2 and vitamin C. It is currently being under study for treatment of certain infections and as a potential anti-cancer. They also use guyabano to make tarts. The bark of guyabano is also dried and used to make tea. It is said to provide many health benefits such as anti-cancer and anti-diabetic.
Guyabano is also said to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and lower the blood pressure. The edible pulp is rich in fiber and is also a source of potassium. It is low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also popularly known as Guanabana in Spanish and graviola in Brazil. The vitamin C content contributes to stronger immune system.
Guyabano has been used in herbal or folk medicine as emetic, antispasmadodic and sudorific [to cause sweat] that makes it good for fever. The guyabano leaves boiled in water in a process called decoction is used for killing head lice and bedbugs. The decoction of the leaves may be taken internally or added to bathing water for management of fever.
The fresh leaves of guyabano are crushed to facilitate the healing of skin eruptions. The poultice of the young guyabano leaves is applied topically [to the skin externally] to relieve pain caused by rheumatism and for skin infections such as eczema. When applied to wounds, it may even result to absence or lightening of scars. The decoction is also used as wet compress applied to inflammation like swollen feet.
The fruit juice not only serves as refreshment. It may also help in the treatment heamaturia, urethritis and liver diseases. The different parts of guyabano including seeds, leaves, bark and fruit is being studied for their potential anticarcinogenic effects wherein it shows ability to kill cancer cells while not affecting the normal cells.
The seeds may be inedible when eating the fresh fruit, but some find use in them by pulverizing the seeds and mixing the powder with soap and water to be used as effective spray against leafhoppers, armyworms and caterpillars.
In the Netherlands, the leaves of the guyabano are used as sleep inducer by placing them inside pillows or putting them on top of the mattress. The leaves are said to have sedative and tranquilizing effects. The concoction of the leaves may alos be used to treat inflamed mucous membrane of the respiratory tract or catarrh. The rich vitamin C content is also good for treatment of scurvy. The fruit has diuretic effects, and may be used to treat dysentery.
A study in animals induced with diabetes mellitus, and then given guyabano has shown that guyabano has the ability to lower blood sugar levels. It may also protect the liver and increase the level of antioxidants. Its liver protecting property is said to be attributed to its ability to decrease lipid peroxidation and the indirect enhancement of insulin production and increase of antioxidants.