This information describes the common uses of Graviola, how it works, and its possible side effects.

Common Name

Guanabana, Soursop, Custard apple, Brazilian paw paw

How It Works

Graviola showed anticancer effects in lab studies. Human data are lacking.

Extracts of graviola have been shown to be effective against a number of viruses, bacteria, and parasites in test tubes. Laboratory studies have also shown graviola to be effective against some types of cancer cells. It contains chemicals called acetogenins, which are thought to be the active ingredient. However, substances derived from graviola damaged nerve cells and caused neurological side effects similar to Parkinson’s disease in laboratory and animal experiments. In addition, some animal studies suggest long-term use may increase the risk of other neurological diseases. Graviola may also affect nuclear imaging because it has been shown to decrease the uptake of radiopharmaceuticals used in such procedures.

Purported Uses

  • To treat cancer
    Graviola has been shown effective against cancer cells in lab studies. Human studies have not been conducted.
  • To treat herpes
    Graviola is effective against the herpes virus in laboratory experiments. Clinical studies have not been conducted
  • To fight infections
    Lab studies indicate that graviola may prevent certain infections. Human data are lacking.

Do Not Take If

You are taking blood pressure medications: Graviola had blood pressure lowering effects in mice, and may have additive effects when taken with drugs for reducing hypertension. Clinical relevance is not known.
You are taking diabetic medications: Graviola had blood sugar lowering effects in mice, and may have additive effects when taken with hypoglycemic drugs. Clinical significance is  not known.

Side Effects

  • Laboratory and animal studies showed that compounds in graviola cause movement disorders and myeloneuropathy (neuropathy that affects the myelin sheath), with symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease. Clinical relevance is not known.