Soursop is a fantastic fruit that is expected to have many health benefits, but have you ever considered that there may be benefits of soursop leaves as well? The health benefits of soursop leaves are just as numerous as that of the fruit itself; they can prevent and cure many types of cancer and significantly increase immunity levels.
Soursop leaves can be used to make tea for regular consumption, and you can also get already-made tea bags that contain soursop leaves to make things easier for you.
However, in this guide, we want to show the many uses and health benefits of soursop leaves, so from today, you will not only consume the fruits, but you will also take advantage of the leaves to improve your health.
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What are Soursop Leaves?
The soursop fruit (Annona muricata), also known as Graviola, is an edible and delicious fruit from a flowering evergreen tree commonly found in Central America, Cuba, Mexico and some African countries.
While the soursop fruit has its benefits, the leaves of the plant have been used in traditional medicine for many years to treat several illnesses and diseases, such as rheumatism, inflammation, diabetes, hypertension, parasitic infection and other conditions.
The plant derives its medicinal properties from its many active metabolites and phytochemicals, including alkaloids, terpenoids, saponins, tannins, and so on.
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Health Benefits of Soursop Leaves
May Aid Cancer Treatment
The soursop leaf extract has antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects that can fight against breast, prostate, blood, colon, liver, ovary, respiratory organs, skin, mouth and cervical cancers. Studies have shown that the bio ingredient in this medicinal leave can reduce the size of some tumour cells and kill specific cancer cells.
The active bio ingredient contained in soursop leaves is called annonaceous acetogenins (AGEs); they inhibit the mitochondrial complex 1, a cancer cell protein, thereby stopping the growth of cancer cells.
Helps to Treat Insomnia
One of the most potent health benefits of soursop leaves in traditional medicine is its muscle-relaxing and soothing effects that help treat insomnia. If you have trouble sleeping or relaxing, especially at night, the tea from these leaves can help you fall asleep faster, and you will wake up feeling rejuvenated.
Soursop leaf extract has been proven to have glycemic control; it improves glucose metabolism in the body. Soursop leaves have been used for some experimental treatment in rats to significantly reduce blood glucose and serum creatinine levels.
In addition, the soursop leaf extract also balanced the activity of liver enzymes and restored the total cholesterol and triglycerides in rats. So it is believed to work in man as well, and it has been used for this purpose by many people in traditional medicine.
Promotes Oral Health
One of soursop leaves’ most intriguing health benefits is their fungicidal and bactericidal properties. They can prevent the growth of Streptococcus mitis, Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans and Porphyromonas gingivalis.
These strains of bacteria and fungi cause many oral diseases. Fortunately, studies have shown that soursop leaf extract is very potent in preventing and treating oral disorders caused by these organisms. Soursop leaves can be used against oral microbes to improve oral health.
Treatment of Rheumatism
Rheumatism is commonly observed in older people, it causes great pain and discomfort, but it can be avoided and helped with soursop leaves, a natural treatment. So you can get soursop leaf extract or mash the leaves till it is smooth and apply them on the affected area twice daily, and after some time, you should see some changes and improvement.
Improves Stress and Anxiety
The leaves of the soursop plant contain asimilobine and anonaine; these are compounds with soothing properties that act on the central nervous system. They interact with serotonin (a neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation in the brain) and improve stress, mood and anxiety. Hence, taking a glass of soursop leave tea can help you relax and destress after a long day at work.
Soursop leaves have about 117 compounds with anti-inflammatory, wound healing and antioxidant properties, which are very strong for fighting inflammation. However, more studies are still required to ascertain the exact effect of their inflammatory properties.
Soursop leaf extract can inhibit inflammatory mediators like IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-6, and nitric oxide (NO), and in higher doses, it has proven to be anti-nociceptive (blocking pain). So the soursop leaf extract can help heal inflammatory conditions like rheumatism, cystitis, ulcers, open wounds, arthritic pain, and so on, with almost no toxicity.
How to use Soursop Leaves
The best possible way to use soursop leaves is to brew tea with them. It is not advisable to ingest raw soursop leaves because no studies prove it is safe.
So on that note, you can get the soursop leaves in a pot, add water and bring it to a boil, turn off the heat and let it steep for 10 to 20 mins. Strain the water, and you can serve it cold or hot. Aside from this method, you can get already made soursop leave tea bags to add to a cup of hot or cold water like your regular Lipton tea and drink.
Side Effects of Soursop Leaves
Soursop leaves may also lower blood pressure below the normal range, so individuals with low blood pressure or those on blood-pressure-lowering medications must be cautious while using soursop leaves so it doesn’t negatively affect their blood pressure.
There is no prescribed dosage for soursop leaves or tea and no reports of toxicity; however, it will be best if you don’t take it in higher doses without consulting a healthcare provider.
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Soursop leaves have many nutrients and medicinal properties; tea made from the leaves can improve your overall health and aid the treatment and prevention of several ailments. Now that you know some of the health benefits of soursop leaves, you should include them in your routine.
However, do not forget that these leaves are only beneficial when taken in moderation; excessive use can lead to other complications. This is because there is no approved dosage for these leaves; hence, you can’t ascertain their effects on your body. However, if you must, it is advisable to seek medical advice.