(December 3, 2008, Lisa Barger) “I read on this one website that there’s this new herb called graviola and it’s 1000 times better than chemo for cancer. Is that true?”
No, it’s not true. Graviola isn’t “new”, it hasn’t been studied in real, living humans and even if it had, nothing that we do know about it even remotely suggests that graviola is “1000 times more powerful than chemotherapy”.
What Graviola Really Is
Graviola is a known botanically as Annona muricata and despite claims that it’s found only “deep in the Amazon rain forests”, it’s actually native to both South America and the Caribbean. It is also known as soursop and guyabano.
And graviola isn’t “new”, either. It may have gotten a big boost from a 1998 study from Purdue University but it’s an herb that’s been known and used for both food and medicine for centuries.
Nor is it rare or endangered. In fact, thanks to Spanish explorers, this small tree now grows in temperate areas around the world—including such non-Amazonian areas as the Philippines.
Graviola Does Kill Cancer Cells
In 1998 researchers from Purdue University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmacal Sciences released findings from a study that isolated cancer-fighting compounds from the leaves of the graviola tree. Two of the compounds showed what scientists called “significant” anti-cancer activities against 6 human cancer cell lines, including cell lines that include prostate and pancreatic cancers.
But these were not studies done on humans with cancer. In fact, these weren’t “clinical studies” at all. They were laboratory experiments done in vitro. As promising as these experiments were, they were just that—experiments.
No Human Studies – None At All
To date, there have been no scientific studies of graviola done on humans at all. Reports on the internet of “amazing results” are lies spread to sell you an herb that you can purchase at any large health food store for a fraction of what those web sites will charge you.
Even Most Herbalists Say “No” To Graviola
In a 2007 Q&A segment on his web site Dr. Andrew Weil was asked about the “1000 times” claim about graviola. His response was quick and to the point, “None of this is true.”
His associate, Dr. Tieraona Low Dog—who is the director of education at the University of Arizona’s Program in Integrative Medicine—doesn’t recommend graviola, either. In fact, Dr. Low Dog goes so far as to say she wouldn’t even take it herself.
Also skeptical of graviola’s miraculous claims is Dr. Ralph Moss, who was a founding advisor to what is now the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In a 2003 article attributed to Dr. Moss, the author expresses skepticism toward most of the ridiculous claims and reminds readers once again that no actual human studies have ever been published on this “miracle cure-all”.
Kim, G., et al. (1998). Muricoreacin and Murihexocin C, Mono-Tetrahydrofuran Acetogenins, from the leaves of Annona muricata. Phytochemistry.
Republic of the Philippines Department of Agriculture. (2005). Anona Muricata Linn.
Weil, A. (2007). Graviola: A Worthwhile Botanical Against Cancer. Retrieved from http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400299/graviola-a-worthwhile-botanical-against-cancer on December 3, 2008.
Moss, R. (2003). Graviola and Cancer. Retrieved from http://www.denvernaturopathic.com/news/graviola.html on December 3, 2008.