Came across an interesting blog post about the many uses, and pharmaceutical potential, of the soursop (Annona muricata) plant:
In the Caribbean it has been used to combat high blood pressure, and to heal skin rashes, the crushed fresh leaves are applied directly on the skin for faster healing. It is also used in the fight against insomnia. Soursop extracts are considered to be antispasmodic, sudorific and emetic. In some communities the leaves are even boiled and employed to kill bedbugs and head lice.
To reduce fever, the leaves are boiled and taken internally or the leaves are added to bathing water and is said to have the same effect. Young soursop leaves are also applied on the skin to alleviate rheumatism and other skin infections like eczema. Applied during the healing of wounds, this can result in less or no skin scars. The decoction can also be used as a wet compress on swollen feet and other inflammations.
The juice of the fruit is taken orally as a herbal remedy for urethritis, haematuria and liver ailments. Pulverizing the soursop seeds and mixing it with soap and water is used as effective spray against caterpillars, armyworms and leafhoppers on plants.
While the traditional uses of the drugs are well known, the scientific community is beginning to take notice. In a recently concluded study from Purdue University, researchers were able to show that the soursop leaves are able to kill cancer cells effectively, particularly cancer cells in the prostate, pancreas, and lung.
Despite the many proven properties of the soursop and its impressive scientific record, oddly enough, there are no large scale studies in humans on the effects of what must be considered the wonder tree. As in every good thing here are some words of warning: research carried out in the Caribbean has suggested a connection between consumption of sour sop and some forms of Parkinson’s disease due to the very high concentration of annonacin. Scientists therefore warn against extensive consumption of the fruit. The seeds are also considered to be toxic and should not be consumed.
For more information, take a look at the original blog post, which includes a list of references so that you can follow the data back to its sources.