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Soursop: A Miraculous Fruit

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Soursop: A Miraculous Fruit

The tropical fruit soursop (also known as guanabana) may be more effective than chemotherapy at fighting cancer.

Burke/Triolo Productions / Botanica / Getty Images

A Sweet Fruit:

Soursop, which is also known as guanabana, is a large green, spiky fruit with white pulp that grows in tropical regions, such as the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Cuba, and northern South America. The fruit's sweet flavor makes it a popular choice for people to use in juice, smoothies, sherbet, ice cream, and candy.

While soursop's seeds can be toxic to people who consume too much of them, people can safely eat soursop after removing the seeds.

Healing Properties:

Not only does soursop taste good (despite its name), but it's also useful in treating and healing a wide array of medical problems, say people who use it for medicinal purposes. Soursop contains antimicrobial ingredients that can clear up fungal infections, bacterial infections, and intestinal parasites. People have also used soursop to lower blood pressure and treat depression and stress.

Miraculous Cancer Foe?:

But the reason why some people consider soursop a miraculous fruit is that it seems to be powerfully effective at treating cancer. While more research and clinical trials are needed to determine exactly how and why soursop fights cancer, some laboratory tests have shown it to be up to 10,000 more times effective than traditional chemotherapy drugs at slowing the growth of cancer cells, said a guide at Florida's Fruit and Spice Park, which grows tropical plants to study.

Soursop does even more than slow down cancer cell growth; it seems to be miraculously effective at killing cancer cells, as well. What's particularly exciting to researchers is that soursop compounds target just cancer cells for destruction, while leaving healthy cells unharmed in laboratory studies, such as those conducted at the Catholic University of Korea. Since traditional chemotherapy kills many healthy cells along with cancer cells, being able to selectively target just cancer cells would be a huge step forward in cancer treatment if a drug derived from soursop is eventually produced and approved for use in cancer patients.

Compounds from soursop leaves seem to be especially powerful against certain types of cancer -- lung, prostate, and pancreatic -- according to a Purdue University research study.

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