Tag Archives: Annonaceae

Ficus carica

Botanical Name: Ficus carica
Family:    Moraceae
Tribe:    Ficeae
Genus:    Ficus
Subgenus:Ficus
Species:    F. carica
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Rosales

Common Name : Common fig  or simply  Fig

Habitat: Ficus carica is  native to the Middle East and western Asia, it has been sought out and cultivated since ancient times, and is now widely grown throughout the temperate world, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant.

Description:
Ficus carica is a gynodioecious (functionally dioecious),deciduous tree or large shrub, growing to a height of  10.00 to 20.00 feet and Spread  10.00 to 20.00 feet with smooth white bark. Its fragrant leaves are 12–25 centimetres (4.7–9.8 in) long and 10–18 centimetres (3.9–7.1 in) across, and deeply lobed with three or five lobes. The complex inflorescence consists of a hollow fleshy structure called the syconium, which is lined with numerous unisexual flowers. The flower itself is not visible outwardly, as it blooms inside the infructescence. Although commonly referred to as a fruit, the fig is actually the infructescence or scion of the tree, known as a false fruit or multiple fruit, in which the flowers and seeds are borne. It is a hollow-ended stem containing many flowers. The small orifice (ostiole) visible on the middle of the fruit is a narrow passage, which allows the specialized fig wasp Blastophaga psenes to enter the fruit and pollinate the flower, whereafter the fruit grows seeds.  Fig pollination and fig fruit.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Flower: Insignificant
Fruit: Showy, Edible

The edible fruit consists of the mature syconium containing numerous one-seeded fruits (druplets). The fruit is 3–5 centimetres (1.2–2.0 in) long, with a green skin, sometimes ripening towards purple or brown. Ficus carica has milky sap (laticifer). The sap of the fig’s green parts is an irritant to human skin.

Cultivation:
The common fig is grown for its edible fruit throughout the temperate world. It is also grown as an ornamental tree, and the cultivar ‘Brown Turkey’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Figs can be found in continental climates with hot summers as far north as Hungary and Moravia, and can be harvested up to four times per year. Thousands of cultivars, most named, have been developed as human migration brought the fig to many places outside its natural range.

Two crops of figs are potentially produced each year. The first or breba crop develops in the spring on last year’s shoot growth. In contrast, the main fig crop develops on the current year’s shoot growth and ripens in the late summer or fall. The main crop is generally superior in both quantity and quality to the breba crop. However, some cultivars produce good breba crops (e.g., ‘Black Mission’, ‘Croisic’, and ‘Ventura’).

There are basically three types of edible figs:
*Persistent (or common) figs have all female flowers that do not need pollination for fruiting; the fruit can develop through parthenocarpic means. This is a popular horticulture fig for home gardeners. Dottato (Kadota), Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Brunswick, and Celeste are some representative cultivars.

*Caducous (or Smyrna) figs require cross pollination by the fig wasp with pollen from caprifigs for the fruit to mature. If not pollinated the immature fruits drop. Some cultivars are Smyrne (Lob Incir in Turkey) – (Calimyrna in the Great Central Valley USA), Marabout, Inchàrio, and Zidi.

*Intermediate (or San Pedro) figs set an unpollinated breba crop, but need pollination for the later main crop. Examples are Lampeira, King, and San Pedro.
The fig likes dry sunny sites, the soil dry or drained. Excessive growth has to be limited to promote the fruiting. It thrives in both sandy and rocky soil. As the sun is really important it is better to avoid shades. Some varieties are more adapted to harsh and wet climates.

Propagation:
Figs plants are easy to propagate through several methods. Propagation using seeds is not the preferred method since vegetative methods exist that are quicker and more reliable, that is, they do not yield the inedible caprifigs. However, those desiring to can plant seeds of dried figs with moist sphagnum moss or other media in a zip lock bag and expect germination in a few weeks to several months. The tiny plants can be transplanted out little by little once the leaves open, and despite the tiny initial size can grow to 1 foot (30 cm) or more within one year from planting seeds.

Edible Uses:
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, and used in jam-making. Most commercial production is in dried or otherwise processed forms, since the ripe fruit does not transport well, and once picked does not keep well. The widely produced fig newton or fig roll is a biscuit (cookie) with a filling made from figs.

Nutrition value and phytochemicals:
Dried figs are a rich source (> 20% of the Daily Value, DV) of dietary fiber and the essential mineral, manganese, while vitamin K and numerous other minerals are in moderate content (USDA, right table).

Figs contain diverse phytochemicals, including polyphenols such as gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, syringic acid, (+)-catechin, (?)-epicatechin and rutin

Medicinal Uses:
Ficus carica L. (Moraceae), its wide variety of chemical constituents, its use in traditional medicine as remedies for many health problems, and its biological activities. The plant has been used traditionally to treat various ailments such as gastric problems, inflammation, and cancer. Phytochemical studies on the leaves and fruits of the plant have shown that they are rich in phenolics, organic acids, and volatile compounds. However, there is little information on the phytochemicals present in the stem and root. Reports on the biological activities of the plant are mainly on its crude extracts which have been proven to possess many biological activities. Some of the most interesting therapeutic effects include anticancer, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, and antimicrobial activities. Thus, studies related to identification of the bioactive compounds and correlating them to their biological activities are very useful for further research to explore the potential of F. carica as a source of therapeutic agents.

Figs are used for their mild, laxative action, and are employed in the preparation of laxative confections and syrups, usually with senna and carminatives. It is considered that the laxative property resides in the saccharine juice of the fresh fruit and in the dried fruit is probably due to the indigestible seeds and skin. The three preparations of Fig of the British Pharmacopoeia are Syrup of Figs, a mild laxative, suitable for administration to children; Aromatie Syrup of Figs, Elixir of Figs, or Sweet Essence of Figs, an excellent laxative for children and delicate persons, is compounded of compound tincture of rhubarb, liquid extract of senna, compound spirit of orange, liquid extract of cascara and Syrup of Figs. The Compound Syrup of Figs is a stronger preparation, composed of liquid extract of senna, syrup of rhubarb and Syrup of Figs, and is more suitable for adults.

Figs are demulcent as well as nutritive. Demulcent decoctions are prepared from them and employed in the treatment of catarrhal affections of the nose and throat.

Roasted and split into two portions, the soft pulpy interior of Figs may be applied as emolient poultices to gumboils, dental abscesses and other circumscribed maturating tumours. They were used by Hezekiah as a remedy for boils 2,400 years ago (Isaiah xxxviii. 21).

The milky juice of the freshly-broken stalk of a Fig has been found to remove warts on the body. When applied, a slightly inflamed area appears round the wart, which then shrivels and falls off. The milky juice of the stems and leaves is very acrid and has been used in some countries for raising blisters.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_fig
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=c944
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/974256/
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/figcom12.html

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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.

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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Paw Paw

Botanical Name: Asimina triloba,
Family:
Annonaceae
Genus:
Asimina
Species:
A. triloba
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Magnoliales
Names: The name, also spelled paw paw, paw-paw, and papaw, probably derives from the Spanish papaya, perhaps because of the superficial similarity of their fruit. Pawpaw has numerous other common names, often very local, such as prairie banana, Indiana (Hoosier) banana, West Virginia banana, Kansas banana, Kentucky banana, Michigan banana, Missouri Banana, the poor man’s banana, and Ozark banana.

Habitat: Native to North America.They are understory trees found in well drained deep fertile bottomland and hilly upland habitat.


Description:
It is a small, tropical~looking tree, seldom taller than 25 feet. Grown in full sun, the Pawpaw tree develops a narrowly pyramidal shape with dense, drooping foliage down to the ground level. In the shade it grows tall, with a more open branching habit, horizontally held leaves, and few lower limbs. Pawpaw (Asimina) is a genus of small clustered trees with large leaves and fruit. The genus includes the largest edible fruit indigenous to the continent.  Pawpaw is in the same family (Annonaceae) as the custard-apple, cherimoya, sweetsop, ylang-ylang and soursop, and it is the only member of that family not confined to the tropics.

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Pawpaws are shrubs or small trees, reaching heights of 2 to 12 m tall. The northern, cold-tolerant common pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is deciduous, while the southern species are often evergreen.

The leaves are alternate, simple ovate, entire, 20 to 35 cm long and 10 to 15 cm broad.

The fetid flowers are produced singly or in clusters of up to eight together; they are large, 4 to 6 cm across, perfect, with six sepals and petals (three large outer petals, three smaller inner petals). The petal color varies from white to purple or red-brown.

The fruit is a large edible berry, 5 to 16 cm long and 3 to 7 cm broad, weighing from 20 to 500 g, with numerous seeds; it is green when unripe, maturing to yellow or brown. It has a flavor somewhat similar to both banana and mango, varying significantly by cultivar, and has more protein than most fruits.

The fruits are quite popular, but the shelf life of the ripe fruit is almost non-existent, for it soon ripens to the point of fermentation. Those who wish to preserve the fruit for the future do so by dehydration, making it into jams or jellies, or pressure canning by using the numerical values for bananas. In southern West Virginia pawpaws are made into a native version of banana nut cake or fruit cake, and baked inside canning jars, the lids heat-sealed to keep the food for at least a year.

* Bark: Dark brown, blotched with gray spots, sometimes covered with small excrescences, divided by shallow fissures. Inner bark tough, fibrous. Branchlets light brown, tinged with red, marked by shallow grooves.
* Wood: Pale, greenish yellow, sapwood lighter; light, soft, coarse-grained and spongy. Sp. gr., 0.3969; weight of cu. ft. 24.74 lbs.
* Winter buds: Small, brown, acuminate, hairy.
* Leaves: Alternate, simple, feather-veined, obovate-lanceolate, ten to twelve inches long, four to five broad, wedge-shaped at base, entire, acute at apex; midrib and primary veins prominent. They come out of the bud conduplicate, green, covered with rusty tomentum beneath, hairy above; when full grown are smooth, dark green above, paler beneath. When crushed they have a scent similar to a green bell pepper. In autumn they are a rusty yellow, which make spotting pawpaw groves possible from a long distance. Petioles short and stout with a prominent adaxial groove. Stipules wanting.
* Flowers: April, with the leaves. Perfect, solitary, axi
llary, rich red purple, two inches across, borne on stout, hairy peduncles. Ill smelling. The triloba refers to the shape of the flower, which is not unlike a tricorner hat.
* Calyx: Sepals three, valvate in bud, ovate, acuminate, pale green, downy.
* Corolla: Petals six, in two rows, imbricate in the bud. Inner row acute, erect, nectariferous. Outer row broadly ovate, reflexed at maturity. Petals at first are green, then brown, and finally become dull purple and conspicuously veiny.
* Stamens: Indefinite, densely packed on the globular receptacle. Filaments short; anthers extrorse, two-celled, opening longitudinally.
* Pistils: Several, on the summit of the receptacle, projecting from the mass of stamens. Ovary one-celled; stigma sessile; ovules many.
* Fruit: September, October

Cultivation: Pollinated by scavenging fruit flies, carrion flies and beetles, the flowers emit a weak to no scent which attracts few, if any, pollinators, thus limiting fruit production.

Larger growers sometimes locate rotting fruit or roadkill meat near the trees at bloom time to increase the number of pollinators. Asimina triloba is the only larval host of the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.

Asimina triloba is often called prairie banana because of its banana-like creamy texture and flavor.

The pawpaw is native to shady, rich bottom lands, where it often forms a dense undergrowth in the forest. Where it dominates a tract it appears as a thicket of small slender trees, whose great leaves are borne so close together at the ends of the branches, and which cover each other so symmetrically, that the effect is to give a peculiar imbricated appearance to the tree.

Although it is a delicious and nutritious fruit, it has never been cultivated on the scale of apples and peaches, primarily because only frozen fruit will store or ship well. It is also difficult to transplant because of fragile hairy root tentacles that tend to break off unless a cluster of moist soil is retained on the root mass. Cultivars are propagated by chip budding or whip grafting.
Uses:
In recent years the pawpaw has attracted renewed interest, particularly among organic growers, as a native fruit which has few to no pests, and which therefore requires no pesticide use for cultivation. The shipping and storage problem has largely been addressed by freezing. Among backyard gardeners it also is gaining in popularity because of the appeal of fresh fruit and because it is relatively low maintenance once planted. The pulp is used primarily in baked dessert recipes and for juicing fresh pawpaw drink or drink mixtures (pawpaw, pineapple, banana, lime, lemon and orange tea mix). In many recipes calling for bananas, pawpaw can be used with volumetric equivalency.

The commercial growing and harvesting of pawpaws is strong in southeast Ohio. The Ohio Pawpaw Growers’ Association annually sponsors the Ohio Pawpaw Festival at Lake Snowden near Albany, Ohio.

Because of difficult pollination, some may believe the flowers are self-incompatible. Cross pollination of at least two different varieties of the plant is recommended. The flowers produce an odor similar to that of rotting meat to attract blowflies or carrion beetles for cross pollination. Lack of pollination is the most common cause of poor fruiting, and growers resort to hand pollination, spraying fish emulsion, or to hanging chicken necks or other meat to attract pollinators.

This colonial tree has a strong tendency to form colonial thickets if left unchecked. It is ideal for creating a swift-growing habitat particularly in areas where frequent flooding can threaten erosion. The root systems are capable of holding streambanks steady, and grow well even in cold hollows with little exposure to winter sunlight.Click to learn more:...(1) ……(2).


Constituents & Uses:
The leaves, twigs, and bark of the tree also contain natural insecticides known as acetogenins, which can be used to make an organic pesticide[citation needed]. Pawpaw fruit may be eaten by foxes, possums, squirrels and raccoons. However, pawpaw leaves and twigs are seldom bothered by rabbits or deer. Bears particularly enjoy the fruit.

The delicious and nutritious fruit look like short, fat bananas. They have a fragrant aroma, a custardy texture, and a tropical taste. The best ones are rich, creamy and sweet, reminding some people of banana cream pie. Compared to apples, peaches and grapes, Pawpaw is higher in food energy, and has more than double the amount of vitamin C, and is much higher in minerals. It is higher in protein, fiber, and carbohydrate. It has a much higher content of amino acids in a good balance. It has mainly unsaturated fatty acids, and is a good source of linoleic and linolenic acids. They are high in antioxidants. Pawpaws are related to the tropical Annonacae, such as the Cherimoya .

History
The earliest documentation of pawpaws is in the 1541 report of the de Soto expedition, who found Native Americans cultivating it east of the Mississippi River. The Lewis and Clark Expedition depended and sometimes subsisted on pawpaws during their travels. Chilled pawpaw fruit was a favorite dessert of George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson was certainly familiar with it as he planted it at Monticello. The Ohio Pawpaw Growers’ Association lobbied for the pawpaw to be the Ohio state native fruit in 2006; this was made official in 2009.

Medicinal Properities:
Growers hope that potential medical use will eventually lead to increased market demand from the pharmaceutical industry.

The seeds also have insecticidal properties. Some Native American tribes dry and powder them and apply the powder to children’s heads to control lice; specialized shampoos now use compounds from pawpaw for the same purpose.

Currently, pawpaw extract is being reviewed as an alternative cancer treatment alongside conventional and approved treatments. This is not meant to replace conventional treatments, but is being examined for acetogenins and ATP production. Because acetogenin contents vary widely from tree to tree, only standardized extracts are acceptable.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pawpaw
http://www.blossomnursery.com/pawpaw_TREE_&_FRUIT.html

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