Graviola (Annona Muricata)

Botanical Name :Annona Muricata
Family: Annonaceae
Genus: Annona
Species: A. muricata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Magnoliales

Common names:
#English:Graviola, Brazilian pawpaw, soursop, prickly custard apple, Soursapi
*Ewe: Evo
*Template:Lang-ad
*Akan: Aborofontungu
*Spanish: guanábana, guanábano, sinini, anona, catche, catoche, catuche, zapote agrio
*Chamorro: laguaná, laguana, laguanaha, syasyap
*German: Sauersack, Stachelannone, Annona, Flaschenbaum
*Fijian: sarifa, seremaia
*French: anone muriquee, cachiman épineux, corossol épineux,anone, cachiman épineux, caichemantier, coeur de boeuf, corossol, corossolier epineux
*Haitian Creole: kowosòl
*Indonesian: sirsak
*Malay: Durian Belanda
*M?ori: k?tara‘apa, k?tara‘apa papa‘?, naponapo taratara
*Dutch: zuurzak
*Portuguese: graviola, araticum-grande, araticum-manso, coração-de-rainha, jaca-de-pobre, jaca-do-Pará, anona, curassol, graviola, pinha azeda
*Samoan: sanalapa, sasalapa, sasalapa
*Swahili: mstafeli
*Tahitian: tapotapo papa‘a, tapotapo urupe
*Thai:  (tu-rian-tet)
*Vietnamese: mãng cou xiêm, mãng cou gai
*Filipino: guyabano

Habitat : Graviola trees are native to the Caribbean and Central America but are now widely cultivated – and in some areas, escaping and living on their own – in tropical climates throughout the world.These trees are tolerant of poor soil and prefers lowland areas between the altitudes of 0 metres (0 ft) to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft). It cannot stand frost.

Description:
Graviola is a small, upright, evergreen tree that can grow to about 4 metres (13 ft) tall.
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Stems and leaves:
The young branches are hairy.
Leaves are oblong to oval, 8 centimetres (3.1 in) to 16 centimetres (6.3 in) long and 3 centimetres (1.2 in) to 7 centimetres (2.8 in) wide. Glossy dark green with no hairs above, paler and minutely hairy to no hairs below.

The leaf stalks are 4 millimetres (0.16 in) to 13 millimetres (0.51 in) long and without hairs.

Flowers:
Flower stalks (peduncles) are 2 millimetres (0.079 in) to 5 millimetres (0.20 in) long and woody. They appear opposite from the leaves or as an extra from near the leaf stalk, each with one or two flowers, occasionally a third.
Stalks for the individual flowers (pedicels) are stout and woody, minutely hairy to hairless and 15 millimetres (0.59 in) to 20 millimetres (0.79 in) with small bractlets nearer to the base which are densely hairy.

Petals are thick and yellowish. Outer petals meet at the edges without overlapping and are broadly ovate, 2.8 centimetres (1.1 in) to 3.3 centimetres (1.3 in) by 2.1 centimetres (0.83 in) to 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in), tapering to a point with a heart shaped base. Evenly thick, covered with long, slender, soft hairs externally and matted finely with soft hairs within. Inner petals are oval shaped and overlap. 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in) to 2.8 centimetres (1.1 in) by 2 centimetres (0.79 in). Sharply angled and tapering at the base. Margins are comparatively thin, with fine matted soft hairs on both sides. The receptacle is conical and hairy. Stamens 4.5 millimetres (0.18 in) long and narrowly wedge-shaped. The connective-tip terminate abruptly and anther hollows are unequal. Sepals are quite thick and do not overlap. Carpels are linear and basally growing from one base. The ovaries are covered with dense reddish brown hairs, 1-ovuled, style short and stigma truncate.

Fruits and reproduction:
Dark green, prickly (or bristled) fruits are egg-shaped and can be up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long, with a moderately firm texture. Flesh is juicy, acid, whitish and aromatic.

Abundant seeds the average weight of 1000 fresh seeds is 470 grams (17 oz) and had an average oil content of 24%. When dried for 3 days in 60 °C (140 °F) the average seed weight was 322 grams (11.4 oz) and were tolerant of the moisture extraction; showing no problems for long-term storage under reasonable conditions.

Edible Uses:
Graviola is a member of the family of custard apple trees called Annonaceae and a species of the genus Annona known mostly for its edible fruits. Annona muricata produces a fruit that is usually called soursop due to its slightly acidic taste when ripe.

Medicinal Uses:
 Indigenous Traditional Use:
Graviola has a long history of use by Indigenous people of the Amazon Basin who use all parts of the Graviola tree – the bark, leaves, roots, fruits and seeds – for various ailments. For example, the fruit and seeds are used for intestinal health, namely to eliminate intestinal parasites and for stomach and bowel discomforts. Women also eat paw paw (the fruit of Graviola) or drink its juice to increase lactation. Teas are 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 Brazil, Indigenous people crush Graviola leaves and blend the oozing oil from the leaves with the Graviola fruit. This preparation is used topically for the alleviation of muscle and joint pain.

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Aside from its medicinal use, Graviola fruit is eaten regularly throughout South America as a delicious and refreshing fruit during a hot summer day.

Scientific Studies – Mechanism of Action:
Many of the indigenous applications of Graviola have been substantiated by science, and further exceptional properties have been discovered.

First, the nerve tonic, calming and mood elevating properties of Graviola have been demonstrated through several studies. The calming effect on the whole body has been linked to the ability of Graviola leaf extract to lower blood pressure.

In addition, the fruit was shown to contain a serotonin uptake inhibitor. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in the experience of joy. When serotonin is released at the synaptic level, stimulating the post-synaptic neuron, the effect of serotonin is stopped by recapturing serotonin within the pre-synaptic terminal. This process is called “reuptake.” A way of enhancing the “joy system” in the brain and alleviating mood swings is to increase the
concentration of serotonin in the synaptic cleft by blocking the reuptake of serotonin. Compounds that block this process are called “serotonin reuptake inhibitors,” commonly referred to as SRI. Several common medications are SRI. 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.

Another interesting application of Graviola, well known by Indigenous people, is its ability to repel insects. In 1988 a patent was filed describing the insecticidal properties of annonin, a natural compound present in Graviola. Since then, shampoo and skin care products have been
developed for the management of lice. However, the claim to fame of Graviola is its cytotoxic.properties, which means its ability to kill cells. Cytotoxic often refers to the ability to kill cells that are not functioning properly and which can put the whole body at risk. More than 34 cytotoxic compounds have been isolated from Graviola, some of them being up to 100 million times more potent than commonly used cytotoxic compounds. 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. However, given the demonstrated properties of Graviola, and given the role of the immune system in eliminating dysfunctional cells, we can say that Graviola is a natural plant that can support the functions of the immune system in an exceptional manner.

Other Benefits & uses:

For a bug-free hike in the woods!:
To repel insects” add some Graviola extract to a glass of juice or water and drink it# You can
also put a small amount of extract in your hand and rub your skin with it.*

Intestinal health:
Taking Graviola extract daily will help maintain a good intestinal environment.*

Mood elevation:
Graviola contains components known to enhance the “serotonin joy system” of the brain#
Drink some Graviola extract in water daily or as needed.*

FOR IMMUNE SUPPORT
Taking Graviola daily will help support immune functions.

Known Hazards:The compound annonacin, which is contained in the seeds of soursop, is a neurotoxin associated with neurodegenerative disease.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.amazonsuperfoods.com/Science/graviola.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annona_muricata

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