There has been a lot of media attention on a Brazilian fruit named Graviola, or Soursop, that has claims to treat and banish cancer, detox the liver, treat heart disease, and reduce inflammation in the body and in the joints. The reason for all this buzz, many alternative medicine, and naturopathic practitioners say, is because there have been over 20 years of scientific studies that all point to Graviola’s miracle ability to banish such chronic diseases. But depending on which educational site you visit and where the resource originates from (traditional western medical practice or alternative approach) the support and belief with or against Graviola is spun.
Graviola is very easy to grow and eat (just like you would a cactus fruit or any other fruit you cut in half and eat the fleshy meat part). Actually, the whole plant from the roots to the leaves and fruits are used as medicine. And to all the recent popular demand and over-harvesting of “miracle” foods (plants, fruits, nuts, seeds and berries) found in the Asian, Central and Southern Americas, I would like to simply note that though amazing healing qualities may lie in these such foods, there is no ONE-CURE-ALL- food in the world. It takes a holistic approach to optimal health and well-being. Back to Graviola. Researchers are even saying people living with cancer can forgo traditional cancer therapies and eat Graviola as a natural and more effective cancer treatment method that is 10,000 times more effective. Sound too good to be true? Sound just like every other drug/food/treatment promise? Let’s look a little more into this miracle fruit!
The statistics of people getting cancer in this modern age is simply staggering. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 12.5 million people are currently living with cancer in the United States alone (though the U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country). We may be living longer as a race of people but we are definitely not living healthier as a whole. The out of pocket payments for natural and alternative medicine treatments and therapies are growing exponentially every year, as more and more citizens are seeing the loopholes in traditional western medicine and seeking a more preventative and non-invasive-way to better, chronic disease free, optimal living.
Let’s look at graviola, and why all the public attention, for example. In either promoting or defending this relatively “new” to the public “super miracle fruit”, it has been deemed that the pharmaceutical giants know about its anti-cancer properties have proven to curtail existing cancers, but it is very inexpensive to grow and import, so the money is not there to turn a steep profit (like drugs have proven to be for decades). Keeping graviola’s secret healing properties (as well as other alternative healing foods and techniques) in the shadows is how the pharmaceutical giants stay alive. Marketing their drugs after every other short 30 second commercial all day, continuously, on the media feeds (television, internet, radio and print ads) boost branding and confidence toward potential buyers.
On the other side of the fence, there really is not a lot of “scientific data” out there to justify the statistical evidence people who work off of “numbers” need to make graviola’s claim valid across multiple disciplinary boards. Small size samples, unreliable data, no follow ups on subjects and not many double blind studies throughout the world has been done over time. Does this mean that graviola is not what people claim it is? Should chemotherapy still be the number one go-to for cancer treatment in today’s modern society?
In the South American societies, aside from anti-viral uses to rid parasites and viruses and to decrease inflammation, graviola is used to treat depression symptoms, blood in urine, depression, motion sickness, induce vomit and eliminate the bowels, treat herpes and diseases that are transmitted through sand fleas, induce labor in pregnant women and to calm nerves.
Like I stated earlier in the article, there are simply too many mixed opinions for people to lay all their eggs in the graviola basket. While I am a firm believer that alternative medicine treatments should be explored over traditional modern and popular cancer treatments on the market today (pharmaceutical drugs, radiation and chemotherapy), I would urge people to look at side effects of all treatments. What I like about naturopathic, holistic, traditional Chinese Medicine and alternative medicine is that no drugs are used. Drugs always have side effects, and often flood the body systems and organs with harmful residue that hurt beneficial functioning.
There are possible side effects to graviola, even though it is a natural fruit.
⚠ Neural dysfunction and degeneration leading to symptoms reminiscent of ⚠ Parkinson's Disease
⚠ Dangerous for women who are pregnant, as it can disrupt the normal healthy growth of the fetus
Sources: Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Livestrong.com, memorial sloan-kettering, How stuff works.com, graviolacancer.net, WebMD., onlypurenature.com (featured photo)