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.

It is a small tree (8 to 10m. tall) that grows in almost all of cultivated tropical America. The fleshy fruit is 15 to 20 cm long, has a very pleasant taste and the flavor is used industrially for the preparation of juices, nectars, jams, ice creams, etc. In traditional medicine the fruits are used to combat rickets. The root, bark and leaves can be used to treat diabetes(infusion) and also as an antispasmodic. Leaves crushed with salt, applied as plasters are used to mature tumors. The leaves are also useful in cooking, as an anti-diuretic. But now its importance lies in the possibility of being used in the treatment of certain cancers, the presence of substances in the leaves such as acetogenins, which have an activity similar to that of certain products that are used in chemotherapy (as the adriamycin), without similar negative side effects.


Common names: Guanabana, Huanabano, Masasamba, Corosol, Graviola, Brazilian custard

It is a small tree (8 to 10m. tall) that grows in almost all of cultivated tropical America. The fleshy fruit is 15 to 20 cm long, has a very pleasant taste and the flavor is used industrially for the preparation of juices, nectars, jams, ice creams, etc. In traditional medicine the fruits are used to combat rickets. The root, bark and leaves can be used to treat diabetes(infusion) and also as an antispasmodic. Leaves crushed with salt, applied as plasters are used to mature tumors. The leaves are also useful in cooking, as an anti-diuretic. But now its importance lies in the possibility of being used in the treatment of certain cancers, the presence of substances in the leaves such as acetogenins, which have an activity similar to that of certain products that are used in chemotherapy (as the adriamycin), without similar negative side effects.

Traditional Use of Leaves of Graviola

The Graviola has a long history in the natural medicine and in the indigenous world for its properties. In the Peruvian Andes, a tea of graviola leaves is used to treat a cold, and the crushed seeds, to kill parasites. In the Amazon region, the roots of the bark and leaves are used against diabetes, as a sedative and antispasmodic. In Guyana, Indian tribes used the leaves and barks of the Guanabana (Graviola) as a tonic and sedative; and, in the Brazilian Amazon, a leaf tea is used to treat liver problems. In Jamaica, Haiti and Western Andes, the juice of guanabana is used to treat fever, parasites and diarrhea; and the bark and leaves are used as an antispasmodic, sedative and to treat coughs, flu and asthma.

It is recommended for constipation and for increase the intestinal flora. The pulp of Graviola has digestive effects and the juice of the ripe fruit have diuretic properties, besides for being a remedy for hematuria and urethritis. Also, the Graviola combats cramps, diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia, fever, flu, hypertension, insomnia, kidney ailments, stress, palpitations, pediculosis, ringworm and internal ulcers.

Other features include its antibacterial, ant parasitic, antispasmodic, astringent, cytotoxic, febrifuge, hypotensive, insecticidal, pectoral, sedative, stomachic, vasodilator and anthelmintic. In short, all parts of the tree have been used in herbal and traditional medicine