Family: Annonaceae (sugar apple family)
Genus: Annona
Botanical name: Annona muricata
Sanskrit: Lakshmanaphala
Hindi: Sharifa
English: Sugar Apple, Custard apple, Brazilian pawpaw, soursop, prickly custard apple, Soursapi
Malayalam: Mullaatha
Sugar Apple is a small, upright, evergreen tree that can grow to about 4 metres (13 ft) tall. 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. 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 terminates 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. 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.
The fruit contains significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B2.
Many sites on the internet advertise and promote soursop /graviola capsules as a cancer cure.
According to Cancer Research UK, "there is no evidence to show that graviola works as a cure for cancer" and consequently they do not support its use as a treatment for cancer. A court case relating to the sale in the UK of Triamazon, a soursop product, resulted in convictions on four counts related to selling an unlicensed medical product. The judge said that the drug had not been tested on human beings, was not licenced for use in UK markets and could cause symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease. The Federal Trade Commission in the United States determined that there was "no credible scientific evidence" that the extract of soursop sold by Bioque Technologies "can prevent, cure, or treat cancer of any kind."
Sugar Apple
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