Graviola: its Effectiveness and Precautions

Graviola: its Effectiveness and Precautions

Graviola extract contains chemicals called Annonaceous acetogenins. Different research groups have established that these chemicals have antitumorous properties.1-12 Acetogenins are inhibitors of enzyme processes that are only found in the membranes of cancerous cells and this is why they destroy cancer cells but not healthy cells. Local populations have used the tree for thousands of years to treat everything from arthritis to liver problems.


Generally the fruit and fruit juice is taken for worms and parasites, to cool fevers, to increase mother's milk after childbirth (lactagogue), and as an astringent for diarrhea and dysentery. In Jamaica, Haiti and the West Indies, the fruit and/or fruit juice is used for fevers, parasites, as a lactagogue, and diarrhea; and the bark or leaves are used as an antispasmodic, sedative, and nervine for heart conditions, coughs, grippe, difficult childbirth, asthma, asthenia, hypertension and parasites.

Research focused on a legendary healing tree called Graviola. Parts of the tree-including the bark, leaves, roots, fruit, and fruit seeds-had been used for centuries by medicine men and native Indians in South America to treat heart disease, asthma, liver problems, and arthritis. Going on little documented scientific evidence, the company poured money and resources into testing Graviola's anti cancerous properties-and they were shocked by the results. Graviola was a cancer-killing dynamo.

Mulungu and Graviola have been used for hundreds of years by the indigenous people of the Amazon as natural anti-depressants. Graviola is used to relieve spasms and reduce depression. The bark leaves and roots of Graviola have sedative, antispasmodic and hypotensive properties. Some of these studies show graviola to have anti-viral, anti-parasitic and potent anti- cancer properties. However we do not know if graviola has the same properties if ingested as a supplement in humans.

The fruit is sold in local markets in the tropics, where it is called guanábana in Spanish-speaking countries and graviola in Brazil. The fruit pulp is excellent for making drinks and sherbets and, though slightly sour-acid, can be eaten out of hand. Generally, the fruit and fruit juice are taken for worms and parasites, to cool fevers, to increase mother's milk after childbirth, and as an astringent for diarrhea and dysentery. The crushed seeds are used against internal and external parasites, head lice, and worms.

As one of graviola’s mechanisms of action is to deplete ATP energy to cancer cells, combining it with other supplements and natural products which increase or enhance cellular ATP may reduce the effect of graviola. The main supplement which increases ATP is a common antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10 and for this reason, it should be avoided when taking graviola. In the Peruvian Andes a leaf tea is used for catarrh (inflammation of a mucous membrane), and the crushed seed is used to kill parasites.

In addition, the fruit was shown to contain a serotonin uptake inhibitor. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in the experience of joy. Another way to increase the "serotonin joy system" is to consume compounds that mimic serotonin, acting in the brain like serotonin. An extract from the Graviola fruit was shown to contain three compounds that act like serotonin in the brain. Researchers have suggested that these alkaloids might be linked to atypical Parkinson’s disease in countries where the seeds are employed as a common herbal parasite remedy. Therefore, using the seeds and root of graviola is not recommended at this time.

The anti-anxiety herbs marketed by Amazon Botanicals contain these two herbs, and makes the user feel happier. They are made from fully natural sources and are therefore free of harmful side effects. Both these anti-anxiety herbs are fast acting and work effectively. They are faster than St. John's Wort, and free of side effects and liver toxicity that other herbs like Kava Kava induce.

A tea is made from the Graviola root, bark and leaves as a sedative and a nerve tonic, as well as to help maintain healthy glucose levels. In other parts of the world, such as the Polynesian Islands, Graviola tea is consumed daily to elevate mood and increase quality of life. Graviola tea taken orally or applied on the skin is also used as an insect repellent.

In the Brazilian Amazon a leaf tea is used for liver problems, and the oil of the leaves and unripe fruit is mixed with olive oil and used externally for neuralgia, rheumatism, and arthritis pain. It is also used for diabetes and as a broad-spectrum internal and external antimicrobial to treat bacterial and fungal infections. It’s also a powerful digestive cleanser - and it improves the immune system by enhancing the ability of white blood cells to neutralize pathogens.

In the studies conducted by separate research groups all have confirmed significant anti-tumor, anti-cancer and selective toxicity against several different types of cancer cells which they studied. One of the eight published clinical studies demonstrated that one of the acetogenins in Graviola was selectively cytotoxic to colon adenocarcinoma cells. In Studies by the National Cancer Institute shown that the Annonaceous acetogenins were shown to possess 10,000 times the potency of adriamycin.

The healing powers of Graviola have been confirmed by three separate research groups, annonaceous acetogenins chemicals found in graviola have significant antitumorous properties and provide selective toxicity against various types of cancer cells (without harming healthy cells). Eight clinical studies have been published on the subject. Many of the acetogenins have demonstrated selective toxicity to tumor cells at very low dosages—as little as 1 part per million.

Several of the active ingredients kill malignant cells of 12 different types of cancer. Research has indicated, albeit 'in vitro', that several of the active ingredients (Annonaceous acetogenins) kill malignant cells of 12 different types of cancer including breast, ovarian, colon, prostate, liver, lung, pancreatic and lymphoma.

A recent report showed that they act directly at the ubiquinone-catalytic site(s) within complex I and in microbial glucose dehydrogenase. They also inhibit the ubiquinone-linked NADH oxidase that is peculiar to the plasma membranes of cancerous cells.

The C-10/C-11 and C-10/C-12 acetonides (1c, 2c) suggested relative stereochemistry and significantly enhanced the cytotoxicities against the A-549 human lung and the MCF-7 human beast solid tumor cell lines. One known onotetrahydrofuran acetogenin, gigantetronenin, not described previously from this plant, was also found.

Annona muricata (graviola) and Petunia nyctaginiflora (Solanaceae) were screened for their activity against Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) and clinical isolate (obtained from the human keratitis lesion). We have looked at the ability of extract(s) to inhibit the cytopathic effect of HSV-1 on vero cells as indicative of anti-HSV-1 potential.

An interesting in vivo study was published in March of 2002 by researchers in Japan, who were studying various acetogenins found in several species of plants. They inoculated mice with lung cancer cells.After completion they concluded that the main graviola acetogenin, annonacin was less toxic in mice. On considering the anti tumor activity and toxicity, annonacin might be used as a lead to develop a potential anticancer agent.

Precautions:

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) prevents making health claims. Therefore, one cannot recommend using the cytotoxic properties of Graviola for the treatment of any disease. The FDA has approved Graviola for use only to support immune function.

Graviola should be used only under the auspices of a knowledgeable health care provider. Pregnant and nursing women should not use Graviola, and it is not recommended for people who take antidepressants or blood pressure medications. Graviola has demonstrated significant in vitro antimicrobial properties.

Graviola has demonstrated uterine stimulant activity in an animal study (rats) and should therefore not be used during pregnancy.

When taking remedies from other cultures, it is best to take them using the same method as the native people. This would be as a tea made from the leaves. Taking preparations that have changed the form of the herb, or taking doses that are higher than in traditional use, or taking the herb for longer periods of time, can lead to health problems.

Chronic, long-term use of this plant may lead to die-off of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract due to its antimicrobial properties. Supplementing the diet with probiotics and digestive enzymes is advisable if this plant is used for longer than 30 days.

Graviola manufacturers generally do not standardize their products. The graviola products on the market typically advertise themselves as "freshly ground powder" of twigs, leaves, etc. This type of manufacturing process has two main advantages for the manufacturer--but not the customer. First, it is cheap to produce. Second, it is easy enough that just about anyone can do it.

A research was prompted by the observation that there is a relatively high incidence of Parkinson-like symptoms among the West Indian population, where the consumption of graviola fruit is popular. This means that extracts from which the alkaloids have been removed would be a safer option.

It has cardio depressant, vasodilator, and hypotensive (lowers blood pressure) actions. Large dosages can cause nausea and vomiting. Avoid combining with ATP-enhancers like CoQ10.the use of this plant is probably contraindicated in combination with MAO inhibitors and some prescription antidepressants. People taking anti hypertensive drugs should check with their doctors before taking graviola and monitor their blood pressure accordingly (as medications may need adjusting).

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