Guyabano, also known as various local common names such as guanabana, graviola, pawpaw, mullaathaa, hanumanfal, and soursop, is a fruit-bearing tree of 5 to 7 meters high. The evergreen tree is originated from Central America, South America, the Carribeans, and sub-Saharan African countries, but people have been cultivating the trees for its fruits in many parts Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Guyabano is the common name of the plant in the Philippines. The trees grow well in the tropical climate, bearing large ovoidedible fruits covered with soft spines that protect its thin green skin and soft white pulp. The sweet and sour flavor of the fruit is reminiscent of strawberry and pineapple combined together. While guyabano trees have been cultivated for its fruit, the leaves have recently been the favorite of herbal medicines enthusiasts due to its health and medicinal properties.
Guyabano tree has oval leaves of 7-20 cm length with pointy ends. The color of the leaves is dark green with smooth and shiny texture. The leaves are valued for its medicinal properties due to a large number of nutrients and active compounds presenting in the leaves.Guyabano leaves are rich in vitamin B, vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, phosphorous, iron, calcium, and fiber, polyphenols, calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, and pantothenic acid.
The most popular way to get the benefits of guyabano leaves is by boiling them and drinking them as tea.It is easy to make guyabano tea. You just have to simply add some fresh or dried guyabano leaves to a pot of boiling water. The number of the leaves is adjustable to your preferred taste or the function that you look for. The tea will not lose its powerful benefits even when you drink it cold so you can boil the tea and put it in the fridge to drink later. However, you should not drink the tea after eight hours because the benefits have subsided.
1. Treats Cancer
The most widely known benefit of guyabano leaves tea is the ability to prevent and treat cancer. Guyabano leaves tea contains certain compounds that can inhibit the growth of cancerous cells and gradually cures cancer, including annonacin, annohexoling, annonacin, anonol, anomurine, and many others. The tea is even said to be more effective than a chemotherapy treatment despite the fact that it is a lot cheaper and easier to access.
The leaves contain a number of active compounds that are 10.000 times stronger and more effective than a chemotherapy. In addition, the compounds only selectively target cancerous cells, while leaving the healthy cells unattacked. Therefore, it has no worrying side effects.The tea is effective at fighting many kinds of cancerous cells, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, and others.
To get this benefit, you just have to drink guyabano leaves tea every morning and evening for some weeks. Boil 10 leaves and three glasses of water until you see only two glasses in the pot left. Let it cool and drink the tea directly in one sitting. On the third week, the effect of the tea will start to appear. The most effective guyabano leaves to use for cancer treatment are the ones which are not too young or too old. The ripe leaves will have the most potent bioactive compounds.
Some scientists reported their study in Journal of Medicinal Chemistry studying the effectivity of the 14 types of Annonaceous acetogenins found in the extract of guyabano to inhibit the growth of multidrug resistant cancer cell line. The study discovered that some of the acetogenins found in the extract were more effective and potent at inhibiting the development of cancer cells even when compared to the chemo drug Adriamycin. Thus, this concludes that guyabano leaves tea and leaves extract can be a potent medication, especially for multidrug resistant tumors.
2. Reduces The Level of Blood Sugar
Besides treating cancer, another popular benefit of guyabano leaves tea is its ability to treat diabetes. A group of scientist published their report in the 2008African Journal of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine that looked into the effect of guyabano leaves extracts in diabetes melitus-induced rats. The test subject was induced with diabetes melitus and then fed with the extracts of guyabano leaves for an extended period. The study reported positive effects of leveling down the blood sugar of the animal test subjects.
It’s worth to note that there haven’t been any studies that research the effects of guyabano leaves tea and extract on humans in regard to diabetes. However, people in Southeast Asia have been using the leaves tea as herbal medication for diabetes and continually reporting positive effects, especially when paired with switching the diet to healthier choices.
3. Treats Liver Damage
The same journal also reported another study involving some animals with diabetes melitus. The ones that were fed with the extract of guyabano leaves experienced animpressive increase in the levels of antioxidants in their blood. Surprisingly, another effect of the consumption was a reduced damage of the liver experienced by the test animals. These findings suggested that the guyabano leaves demonstrate thebeneficial and protective effect on hepatic tissue. Possibly, this is achieved by lowering the lipid peroxidation and improving insulin and antioxidants production.
4. Cures Herpes
A number of researchers demonstrated the potential benefit of guyabano leaves to cure herpes. The herpes virus is dangerous for people with weak immune system. The virus causes infections in different parts of the body, causes infections like genital herpes and oral herpes. In 2012, International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science published a study about scientists’ findings on the ability of guyabano leaves extract to inhibit the growth of the herpes virus.
The laboratory test confirmed the belief that guyabano may provide cure to herpes. While other forms of herpes infection should also receive topical application of the leaves extract, you will be able to treat oral herpes by drinking the leaves tea. Its antiviral properties will attack the virus and prevents its spread.
5. Eases Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
The high-paced modern life has brought emotional distress to a lot of people. Workplace demand and economic uncertainty are the sources of stress and anxiety experienced by a lot of people worldwide nowadays. While affordable treatment and medication to psychological and mental problems are still inaccessible to many people, apparently guyabano leaves have long been celebrated for its calming and sedating effects. The constant spikes of stress hormones will lead to detrimental effects on physical and mental well-being. Guyabano leaves possess soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that will alleviate the stress and anxiety.
Drinking the tea after work or on a hectic stressful day will provide you with some relaxation that your body and mind badly need. The relaxing and anti-anxiety effects have been proven through a study on the tryptophan content.This will also work when you’re feeling blue.
Some studies have also tested the effect of guyabano leaves tea on depression. The three types of alkaloids in the leaves, which are annonaine, asimilobine, and nornuciferine, demonstrated potentials to alleviate depression by stimulating the serotonin receptors. The release of serotonin is the cause of happiness and even euphoria. A study reported in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology also discovered that these alkaloids inhibit the binding of certain receptors in calf hippocampus resulting in anti-depressive effects.
6. Promotes Quality Sleep
Since guyabano leaves tea improves your mood and alleviates stress and anxiety, it also makes you more relaxed. This is the condition that you need to be able to sleep soundly. The Carribean people have understood this role of guyabano leaves tea since a long time ago. In the area, guyabano tea and fruit are said to be the secret to a good sleep.
7. Improves Immune System
Drinking guyabano leaves tea regularly will also boost your immune system. Just like the fruit, guyabano leaves contain a lot of vitamin C and other potent antioxidants that will protect you from the bad effect of free radicals. Free radicals speed up aging and cause chronic organ dysfunctions and health disorders.With the boosted antioxidants, your production of white blood cells will also be improved. White blood cells are your number one protection against elements that attack your body. When they’re at peak performance, your body immune system will be heavily improved. You will be protected against various diseases.
To improve your immune system, boil 4-5 leaves of guyabano with two or three cups of water until there is only a cup of water left. You should drink this tea every day to improve your body protection against diseases. You can also consume guyabano fruit along with the tea to supplement this immune system strengthening treatment.
8. Prevents Gastrointestinal Problems
Guyabano leaves have some potent diuretic properties. Thetea is able to remove toxins, excess salt, chemical substances, and other harmful materials that reside in gastrointestinal tract due to unhealthy food consumption. In many areas, people use the leaves to cure dysentery naturally.
The anti-inflammatory properties in the leaves cause gut parasites and harmful bacteria to die or unable to thrive in the hostile environment. Because of this, when you drink guyabano leaves tea regularly, you will be able to avoid various gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, dysentery, gas, diarrhea, and other problems that cause pain and irritation in the colon.
9. Makes Bowel Movement More Regular
Because guyabano leaves tea contains a high amount of fiber, vitamin C, as well as a large number of other active substances, it can regulate your bowel movement. This is done by stimulating the movement of your gastrointestinal system and the colon. Difficulty in keeping a regular bowel movement will bring you a lot of pain and disorder. Failure to defecate everyday will make your stool harder and make you suffer from constipation. Prolonged constipation will cause inflammation of the vein in the anus areaknown ashemorrhoid. Once there is an inflammation, bleeding may also accompany the pain. Guyabano leaves tea has been celebrated by some traditions as atraditional herbal remedy for constipation.
10. Has Antibacterial Properties
Guyabano leaves tea is good at cleansing your gastrointestinal system because of its antibacterial properties. The antibacterial properties also make the tea good at fighting staph infection and washing off wounds. A research was conducted to determine the antibacterial properties of the leaves. The report, which was published at Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo, mentioned that the leaves extract was effective against Vibrio cholerae and Staph aureus.
11. Treats Respiratory Problems
When taken as atea, guyabano leaves tea is effective in treating respiratory problems, including asthma, cough, and flu symptoms. People have been using the tea as one of the most powerful folk remedies for respiratory ailments because of its ability to clear out airway and relieve congestion. It is said that the hot tea and steam have strong potentials to act as anexpectorant that clears out the phlegm and mucus along the airway. As a result, your respiration system will be greatly improved.
The anti-inflammatory properties will also help you by soothing the irritation that occurs in the respiratory tracts. Guyabano leaves tea will also eradicate the viruses and pathogens in the phlegm and mucus which will speed up your healing.
12. Preserves Youthful Look
Guyabano leaves tea doesn’t only help your organs to stay healthy, but also your appearance to look beautiful.Guyabano leaves contain vitamin C and a number of other antioxidants that protect your body against the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are what accelerate the aging process. Stabilizing free radicals will make you age slower on a cellular level. The symptoms of aging will be delayed, such as wrinkles, dark spots, pigmentation problems, and even chronic diseases related to aging.
13. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
The power of guyabano leaves tea goes straight to your heart, strengthening it and protecting it. It has been known as a powerful herbal drink to boost the function of human’s cardiovascular system. By drinking the tea, your metabolism will be supported, resulting in the easier work of your heart. It also maintains healthy blood circulation system. It eases stress and strain on your arteries and blood vessels so your heart will have an easier job pumping blood to all parts of your body. The mechanism also lowers the blood pressure so it will benefit people who suffer from hypertension. Balancing the blood pressure which will reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
14. Eases Gout Arthritis
The anti-inflammatory properties of guyabano leaves tea helpsoothe and cures gout arthritis. The main cause behind gout arthritis is the inability of the kidneys to filter and clean purine substances from the blood stream. As a result, these toxins accumulate in the joints which will bring sharp pain that gets more intense as the night comes. Drinking guyabano leaves tea will help eases the symptoms and solves the problems by getting rid of the purine substances from your body.
In fact, guyabano leaves extract is a popular ingredient to treat gout arthritis in today’s market of natural or herbal medicines. You don’t have to buy the extract when you have access to fresh or dried leaves because it is also effective to drink as tea. Just boil six to ten of the leaves with two cups of water and drink the tea twice a day. In weeks, you will experience a reduced intensity of the pain, which is the sign that the uric acid has started to get removed from your body.
15. Alleviates Back Pain
Your daily activities like working in the same position all day cause a number of health problems, including back pain, which is very common. Using ergonomic chair at work may help eases the problem, but you will also need some pain killers when the back pain attacks. Rather than using chemical pain killers, you can drink guyabano leaves tea regularly to ease the pain. It is effective at alleviating the pain when you drink the strong tea every day.