What is Guanabana?

guanabana fruit
Young, green guanabana (soursop) fruit hanging from branch of a tree.

Guanabana is the Spanish term for the soursop fruit. It grows on the graviola tree and develops as a spiny green and curved pod that has white flesh and seeds inside. It tastes very much like a combination of strawberry and manage, with a slight citrus flavor.


The fruit and its leaves can be found under the name guanabana in Jamaica, Mexico and South America. The guanabana tree, also referred to a graviola tree,  is about 15 to 20 feet high and can be found in tropical rain forests. It grows as far north a south Florida, but it is highly susceptible to frost and will die if the climate gets too cold.

Guanabana and cancer

The fruit has all kinds of medicinal qualities. It has been used to treat cancer in natural medicine. Many cancer survivors swear by it. While there is not direct proof that it alone can cure cancer, it has been shown to reduce tumors in extensive laboratory studies. Besides eating the flesh of the fruit, cancer fighters also drink tea made of the leaves of the guanabana tree. These are shiny and green. They are about two to three inches long. When air dried they can be soaked in boiling water to produce a lovely herbal flavored tea that tastes like green tea with a slight vanilla sweetness to it.

Medicinal uses for guanabana

Besides treating cancer, practitioners of natural medicine also use the guanabana fruit, bark and leaves to treat a variety of ailments. They include stomach and digestive discomfort, including dysentery. Its 3/4 inch brown black seeds, which look like fat watermelon seeds, can be ground into a paste as a tincture on skin to help stop inflammation, treat pimples and other dermal eruptions. Guanabana tea is famous for helping people naturally relax and can be used to treat insomnia. It has a natural calming effect. It is also known to be used to calm nervous disorders.

Guanabana as food

Guanabana is also a favorite ingredient in candies, ice cream, drinks, including smoothies and punches. There are lots of recipes available. See this amazing recipe for a great soursop based punch.

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