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 originally from Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan African countries, but people have been cultivating the trees for their fruits in many parts of Belize, Mexico, and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
In the Philippines, the common name of this plant is guyabano. The trees grow well in the tropical climate, bearing large ovoid edible 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 medicine enthusiasts due to its health and medicinal properties.
Guyabano trees have oval leaves 7-20 cm in length, with pointy ends. The color of the leaves is dark green, with a smooth and shiny texture. The leaves are valued for their medicinal properties due to the large number of nutrients and active compounds present in them.
Guyabano leaves are rich in vitamin B, vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, phosphorous, iron, calcium, 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 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 are looking 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 will have subsided.
1. Treats Disease
The most widely known benefit of guyabano leaves tea is their ability to prevent and treat disease.
Guyabano leaf tea contains certain compounds, including annonacin, annohexoling, annonacin, anonol, anomurine, that can inhibit the growth of diseased cells.
The tea is even said to be more effective than chemotherapy treatment, despite the fact that it’s 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 chemotherapy. In addition, the compounds selectively target diseased cells, while leaving the healthy cells alone. Therefore, it has no worrying side effects.
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The tea is effective at fighting many kinds of diseased cells, including breast disease, prostate disease, colon disease, liver disease, and others.
To get this benefit, you just have to drink guyabano leaf tea every morning and evening for a number of 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 disease treatment are the ones which are not too young or too old. The ripe leaves have the most potent bioactive compounds.
The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry published a report studying the effectiveness of the 14 types of Annonaceous acetogenin found in the extract of guyabano. These acetonegins inhibit the growth of multidrug resistant diseased cell lines.
The study discovered that some of the acetogenins found in the extract were more effective at inhibiting the development of disease cells even when compared to the chemo drug Adriamycin.
Thus, this concludes that guyabano leaf tea and extract can be a potent medication, especially for multidrug resistant tumors.
2. Reduces Levels of Blood Sugar
Besides treating disease, another popular benefit of guyabano leaf tea is its ability to treat diabetes.
A group of scientists published their report in the 2008 African Journal of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine. They looked into the effect of guyabano leaf extracts in diabetes melitus-induced rats.
The test subjects were injected 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 noting that there haven’t been any studies that research the effects of guyabano leaf tea and extract on humans in regard to diabetes.
However, people in Southeast Asia have been using the tea as herbal medication for diabetes and continually reporting positive effects, especially when paired with adopting a healthy diet.
3. Treats Liver Damage
The same journal also reported another study involving animals with diabetes mellitus. The ones that were fed with the extract of guyabano leaves experienced an impressive increase in the levels of antioxidants in their blood.
Surprisingly, another effect of the consumption was reduced liver damage in the test animals. These findings suggested that the guyabano leaves demonstrate a beneficial protective effect on hepatic tissue.
Possibly, this is achieved by lowering the lipid peroxidation and improving insulin and antioxidant 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 systems. The virus causes infections in different parts of the body, like genital herpes and oral herpes.
In 2012, the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science published a study about scientists’ findings on the ability of guyabano leaf extract to inhibit the growth of the herpes virus.
The laboratory test confirmed the belief that guyabano may provide a cure to herpes. While other forms of the herpes infection should also receive topical application of the leaf extract, you will be able to treat oral herpes by drinking the tea. Its antiviral properties will attack the virus and prevent its spread.
5. Eases Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Our fast-paced modern lifestyle 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 for psychological problems are still inaccessible to many people, guyabano leaves have long been celebrated for their calming and sedative effects.
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 alleviate stress and anxiety.
Drinking the tea after work or on a hectic, stressful day will provide you with the 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 leaf tea on depression. The three types of alkaloids in the leaves (annonaine, asimilobine, and nornuciferine) demonstrated the potential to alleviate depression by stimulating serotonin receptors.
The release of serotonin causes feelings 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 leaf 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 leaf tea since a long time ago. In that area of the world, guyabano tea and fruit are said to be the secret to a good sleep.
7. Improves Immune System
Drinking guyabano leaf 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 dysfunction 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 the elements that attack your body. When they’re at peak performance, your immune system will be heavily improved. You will be protected against various diseases.
To improve your immune system, boil 4-5 guyabano leaves 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’s 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. The tea is able to remove toxins, excess salt, chemical substances, and other harmful materials that reside in the gastrointestinal tract due to unhealthy food consumption.
In many areas, people use the leaves to naturally cure dysentery. The anti-inflammatory properties in the leaves cause gut parasites and harmful bacteria to die in the hostile environment.
Because of this, when you drink guyabano leaf 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 and vitamin C, as well as a large number of other active substances, it can regulate your bowel movements. This is done by stimulating the movement of your gastrointestinal system and the colon.
Difficulty in keeping a regular bowel movement schedule will bring you a lot of pain and disorder. Failure to defecate every day will make your stool harder and make you suffer from constipation.
Prolonged constipation will cause inflammation of the vein in the anus area, known as hemorrhoids. Once there is an inflammation, bleeding may also accompany the pain.
Guyabano leaf tea has been celebrated by some cultures as a traditional herbal remedy for constipation.
10. Has Antibacterial Properties
Guyabano leaf tea is good at cleansing your gastrointestinal system because of its antibacterial properties. The antibacterial properties also make the tea good at fighting staph infections and disinfecting wounds.
A report published by Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo mentioned that the leaf extract was effective against Vibrio cholerae and Staph aureus.
11. Treats Respiratory Problems
When taken as a tea, guyabano leaves are 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 the airway and relieve congestion.
It is said that the hot tea and steam have strong potentials to act as an expectorant 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 irritation that occurs in the respiratory tracts. Guyabano leaves tea will also eradicate viruses and pathogens in the phlegm and mucus, which will speed up your healing.
12. Preserves Youthful Look
Guyabano leaf tea not only helps your organs stay healthy, but it also helps your appearance stay looking 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, such as wrinkles, dark spots, pigmentation problems, and even chronic diseases related to aging, will be delayed.
13. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
The power of guyabano leaf 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 the cardiovascular system.
By drinking the tea, your metabolism will be supported, resulting in reduced heart stress. It also maintains a healthy blood circulation system.
It eases the 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 blood pressure, so it will benefit people who suffer from hypertension. Balancing blood pressure will reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
14. Eases Gout Arthritis
The anti-inflammatory properties of guyabano leaf tea helps soothe and cure 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 leaf tea will help ease the symptoms and solve the problems by getting rid of the purine substances from your body.
In fact, guyabano leaf 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’s 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 a sign that the uric acid has started to become 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 like back pain. Using an ergonomic chair at work may help ease 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 leaf tea regularly to ease the pain. It is effective at alleviating pain when you drink the strong tea every day.