Also known as graviola and soursop, custard apple is a native perennial fruit that’s native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. It originated in Peru and has many beneficial nutritional and health properties. Find out what custard apple or soursop fruit can be used for in the following article.
Characteristics of custard apple or soursop
Custard apple or soursop fruit is made up of mostly water, and the pulp contains dozens of nutrients – among them are high levels of vitamin C, which helps maintain healthy and balanced levels of the body’s antioxidants.
This fruit also contains protein, mineral salts, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and lipids. It’s also helpful to know that it has a high caloric content because of the carbohydrates it contains, so if you’re dieting you’ll want to eat this in moderationStill, custard apple pulp can be consumed either as a juice or mixed with water, and it provides excellent diuretic benefits. It helps regulate bodily functions by fighting high blood pressure, respiratory diseases (mostly colds), detoxing the liver and maintaining overall liver health, and regulating blood sugar levels (which is ideal for people who have diabetes).
You can also consume the leaves of the custard apple tree – this is especially helpful for people suffering from the mumps, anxiety, or insomnia. Using both the leaves and flowers of the plant you can make a tea and sweeten it with honey to treat colds or other illnesses, or to promote healing after surgery.
Custard apple has very few side effects, but it’s not advisable for pregnant women to eat it in excess (a small amount is fine on occasion). The whole plant can be consumed – i.e. leaves, fruit, flowers, stems, roots, and bark, and all have medicinal properties. The leaves contain the most “powerful” properties, and in South America are taken as a tea or other liquid. The pulp is usually used for making smoothies, juices, ice creams, and desserts. Its taste is sweet and delicious.
Other names for the custard apple include cherimoya, Brazilian paw paw, graviola, guanábana, sapote, annona, and pehne – it all depends on the language spoken in the region where it’s grown. Regardless, the scientific name is Annona muricata, and it’s a fruit.
Medicinal uses of custard apple
The powdered seeds can be used as an insect repellent if smeared on the skin while the water contained in the leaves can help remove lice and nits when applied topically to the scalp.
You can make a tonic by blending three custard apple leaves with a cup of water and drink every morning for a week to ease the side effects of chemotherapy or other strong medication.
Eating the green (unripe) custard apple fruit can help fight jaundice, a disease of the liver that affects skin color by turning it yellowish. Just cut the fruit into three large pieces, remove the seeds, and blend the pulp. Strain the liquid and sweeten it with honey before drinking, as it has a slightly bitter taste.
- Make a tea with the leaves of this plant and use it to contain internal bleeding
- A complete list of custard apple’s medicinal properties:
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Treats asthma, a disease characterized by difficulty breathing
- Prevents cancer cells from reproducing
- Reduces the increase in blood sugar or glucose (diabetes)
- Combats liver disorders in general
- Reduces tremors and abnormal tissues that increase in size
- It’s an excellent insecticide, helping repel insects like mosquitoes
- It’s a wonderful amebicide, fighting parasites like roundworm
- It’s an expectorant, helping to treat all kinds of respiratory-related illnesses, including bronchitis or asthma
- It’s a vasodilator, as the leaves help improve circulation and prevent leakage
- The leaves have sedative qualities, serving to calm the nerves, reduce stress, and help promote better sleep
- It’s antimalarial, counteracting the symptoms of this disease, which is characterized by fever, headache, and muscle pain
- Promotes lactation, ideal for women with low or difficult production of breast milk
- It’s antispasmodic, helping to prevent or treat involuntary muscle contractions
- It’s antiulcer which helps wounds heal more quickly and is also good for gastritis
- It’s antidiarrheal, whether caused by infection or poor food quality
Side effects of custard apple
Because it is antimicrobial, if consumed in high doses, custard apple can disrupt the body’s production of intestinal flora and cause constipation or diarrhea. Custard apple should be eaten in moderation, starting with a low dose and then increasing your intake slowly over many days or weeks.
Additionally, because it’s a vasodialator that lowers blood pressure and reduces heart rate, it’s not recommended for people who have heart or circulatory problems. Nor is it a good idea for pregnant women to consume custard apple, although it can promote lactation if not enough milk is produced after delivery.
Custard apple and cancer
We should include a paragraph about the relationship between custard apple and cancer. It’s a potent anti-cancer agent, which has been demonstrated by multiple studies. The bark, fruit, leaves, and roots of custard apple act at the cellular level, destroying harmful cells while alleviating the side effects of chemotherapy – especially vomiting, nausea, and motion sickness.
Custard apple helps fight the following cancers: breast, ovary, colon, lymphatic, liver, thyroid, pancreas, prostate, kidney, and lungs.