Discovery Fit & Health
Graviola, a Latin American rainforest tree, has been part of traditional medicine in the Caribbean region for a long time. The unripe fruit of this evergreen is said to treat diarrhea and dysentery and fever treated with its root bark. It is also used to eradicate parasites in the digestive system and even to get rid of lice. A calming tea can be made from the roots, leaves and bark, and it is thought to be helpful for high blood pressure. The leaves can be applied to wounds to accelerate healing.
Graviola leaves, stems and seeds contain chemicals called annonaceous acetogenins, which have properties that aid in killing cancer cells without harming healthy cells. In particular they are thought to be successful in targeting cancer cells that are resistant to anti-tumor drugs and that have survived chemotherapy. Scientific studies are at an early stage, however, and many claims regarding the powers of graviola are still unsubstantiated. Wellness guru Dr. Andrew Weil recommends against its use as a supplement [source: Weil].
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