Soursop Health Benefits, Nutritional Constituents, & Medicinal Uses

Soursop fruit, also called guanabana, or Graviola fruit, is an outgrowth of Annona muricata.

It’s a prickly custard apple that grows both in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

It is rich in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, which helps the immune system to fight inflammation and bacterial diseases.

Soursop juice has many health benefits and healing potential because of the antioxidants.

It has anti-cancer properties, antimalarial, anticonvulsant, anti-diabetic, anti-arthritic, antiparasitic, hepatoprotective effect, and other health benefits of the fruit extract, which you will know as you read on. (1)

Health benefits of soursop fruit

Soursop anti-cancer benefits

Extracts from soursop leaves have shown anti-cancer properties.

In a study to confirm its effectiveness, 21 healthy mice were grouped into 3, and 2 groups, infected with cancer cells.

One of the infected group was treated with soursop leaf extracts for 28 days.

After the treatment, they killed the animals, harvest their lungs, spleen and other tissues for examination.

Complete deaths of cancer cells were seen in the treated group, improved immune system, and reduced inflammation was also recorded when compared with the untreated group. (2)

A similar study on test tubes also proved that Graviola juice can cure lungs and colon cancer. (3)

However, more studies are needed on humans, to know if the anticancer fruit works as it did on animals.

May help cure diabetes

Soursop leaf extract can help lower blood sugar levels, which is because of their antioxidant constituents.

Using 100 mg/kg of the extract on diabetic rats, lowered the blood sugar level by 75%, within 28 days.

The extract also lowered bad cholesterol levels, improving the activity of the enzymes in the body. (45)

Rich in antioxidants

Graviola Juice is rich in antioxidants, which is the root behind its medicinal power.

Antioxidants are compounds that stop free radicals from damaging cells in the body.

Several studies on soursop extract showed that it contains antioxidants like luteolin, quercetin, coumarin acid, and others which help neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals on the body. They also offer protection for DNA cells. (6)

Test tube studies also showed that antioxidants can prevent diabetes, cancer and heart disease. (6, 7, 8),

Soursop antibacterial benefits

Besides the antioxidant properties of soursop extract, the fruit also kills both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, when mixed with moringa seeds.

The mixture was effective against strains of escherichia coli, staphylococcus aureus, and cholera disease. (9)

The leaf extracts were also effective against strains of bacteria that cause gingivitis, tooth decay and yeast infections (10)

Soursop anti-inflammatory benefits

Unripe fruits of soursop have been reported to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

In a study to confirm their effectiveness, the extracts relieved pain and inflammation caused

by rheumatism and arthritis. (11)

May help control gut parasites

Parasites are organisms that live in another organism (the host) and get its food from the host.

You can get parasites by eating undercooked meat or using contaminated substances.

Once infected with the pathogen, they cause different diseases such as leishmaniasis, trypanosomiasis.

Using soursop seed and leaf extracts to control parasites have been promising, the leaf extracts have been used to control protozoal diseases such as leishmaniasis, and trypanosomiasis species.

They were also effective against gastrointestinal parasite as they showed 80-90% toxicity against their eggs and larvae within 6 to 8 hours of exposure. (12)

It can promote healthy skin

After long exposure to UV rays or sunlight, you develop a dark spot or acne marks on your skin.

This affects your skin colour and makes you look older, leaving you with no option than to remove the dark spot and brighten your skin.

Fortunately, soursop fruit can do that. Soursop juice contains a lot of antioxidants, mostly vitamin C  that helps to smoothen and brighten your skin.

It also protects the skin from the effects of UV light. (12)

It boosts the Immune System

The presence of abundant vitamin C  in soursop fruits helps to stimulate the production of white blood cells which helps to protect the body.

Frequent consumption of soursop juice can help improve the overall health of an individual.

The presence of antioxidant substances in it further helps to neutralize free radical substances and their effects.

May improve cholesterol levels in the Body

Bad cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke, it is caused by poor diet, age,

smoking, diabetes, and obesity.

Blood cholesterol levels may be reduced using soursop leaf extracts. It has been used on animals and the results were impressive.

However, its use on humans has not been documented.

Where to buy soursop

For those that do not have the custard apple in their garden, you can always buy soursop at your nearby fruit market.

It is always cheap, depending on your location. In Nigeria here, soursop fruit is less than one dollar.

How to eat soursop fruits

Eating a soursop fruit can be fun,  it tastes like pineapple fruit, very sweet and memorable.

Wondering how to eat the fruit, maybe you are a first-timer, here are the steps to follow.

1. Get ripe soursop from your garden or market. Ripe soursop is always soft, with yellow-green skin.

how to eat soursop fruit

2. Wash the fruit with clean water to remove dirt

3. Cut it into two and remove all the seeds, don’t eat it with the seed

4. Eat the inside and throw away the back.

Soursop side effects

Soursop fruit and extracts have been used to treat different diseases including diabetes and cancer in animal studies,

but its prolonged use on humans resulted in Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that damages nerve cells, leading to difficulty with walking incoordination, stiffness and shaking.

Studies have found that the seeds contain annonacin, a neurotoxin compound that may cause Parkinson’s disease. (13)

Soursop nutrition fact

Below is the nutritional fact of soursop. (14)

Soursop, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy276 kJ (66 kcal)
16.84 g
Sugars13.54 g
Dietary fiber3.3 g
0.3 g
1 g
Thiamine (B1)

0.07 mg

Riboflavin (B2)

0.05 mg

Niacin (B3)

0.9 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)

0.253 mg

Vitamin B6

0.059 mg

Folate (B9)

14 μg


7.6 mg

Vitamin C

20.6 mg


14 mg


0.6 mg


21 mg


27 mg


278 mg


14 mg


0.1 mg

Bottom line

Soursop is a healthy fruit with so much healing potential in animal studies, always including them in your diet to enjoy their benefits.

Note: don’t use them to cure disease because its healing power has only been tested on animals.