Anona muricata L.
Andean - Amazonian Natural Products
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Graviola Plant. Graviola Leaves

Its importance resides in the possibility of being used in the treatment of certain cancers due to the presence of substances in leaves as acetogenins, which have an similar activity to that of certain products that are used in chemotherapy.

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Acetogenin action in the cancer cells

The acetogenins are waxy substances resulting from the combination of long-chain fatty acids (C32 or C34) with a unit of 2-propanol in carbon 2 to form a terminal lactone (the lactone is the beginning of the chain). A study at the University of Pardue in California, showed that acetogenins can selectively inhibit the growth of cancer cells and also inhibit the growth of the tumor cells resistant to doxorubicin (chemotherapeutic drug), while maintaining the integrity of the cells of healthy tissue. In another study conducted by scientists at the University, it was shown that acetogenins of guanabana (Graviola) are extremely potent with an ED50 (lethal dose 50) of up to 10-9 micrograms per milliliter, proving to have 10,000 times the potency of adriamycin.

Studies conducted in 1998 and 2000 by McLaughlin, Chih HW and Chui HF have revealed that acetogenins are complex I inhibitors of the oxidative phosphoric chain, thereby blocking the formation of ATP and the energy needed in cancer cells that function by the P-glycoprotein pump. The acetogenins also inhibit ubiquinone oxidase, an NADH-dependent enzyme that is particular to the plasma membrane of the cancer cell. McLaughlin did his research with acetogenins Bullatacin and Bullatacinone.

Studies in the Caribbean suggest a connection between consumption of this fruit and atypical Parkinson's disease due to the high concentration of annonacina. Annonacina concentration in fruit (15 mg / fruit) or in the commercial nectar (36 mg / can) is one hundred times higher than the tea made from its leaves (140 g / cup).

As we can see the potential for therapeutic use of the leaves of this plant in assisting the treatment of certain malignancies is very large.  There are studies that show their activity and evidence is further supported by traditional medicine use, which includes cases of surface malignant tumors treated with a poultice of the leaves.

This plant is taken as an infusion of only 2 cups a day. Doses should not be exceeded due to the presence of annonacina in the leaves, the negative effects of which were described above regarding the formation of atypical Parkinson's.

Information exists regarding major achievements in treating certain malignancies with this plant (without exceeding the recommended doses), so there is an expectation that with more studies, particularly clinical, and its dissemination, we have other important therapeutic weapons provided by nature to combat this scourge.

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