Long Story Short
Graviola has long been used by people around the world to treat a variety of illnesses and health conditions. And in recent years, a growing number of people have said it can also be a powerful way to treat cancer.
Graviola, also commonly called soursop, is a plant that grows in tropical regions throughout South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. People native to those regions have long used the plant’s bark, leaves, roots, and fruit to treat all sorts of health conditions including everything from parasites to viral infections to rheumatism, arthritis, and depression.
More recently, graviola has become popular as an alternative to chemotherapy. Many people have said that graviola can be significantly more powerful than chemo. As a result, it’s now possible to buy graviola pills and extracts from health food stores and online vendors.
Miracle Healer Or Internet Hoax?
By far the boldest claim people have made about graviola is that it’s 10,000 times more effective at treating cancer than chemotherapy. But that claim has been called into question by all sorts of people.
Skeptics see these claims as nothing more than a hoax with no real evidence to support it. But graviola believers say that pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in limiting how much the plant is researched. And that, they say, is why there isn’t very much evidence to support their claims.
To sift through the debate, here’s a review of what actual researchers have to say about graviola.
The 10,000 times more effective claim comes from a 1996 study. It analyzed graviola seeds and found a number of chemicals with potential health benefits. One of those chemicals was used to treat a certain type of colon cancer. Researchers concluded that the chemical in the graviola seeds “was 10,000 times the potency of adriamycin,” one of the main forms of chemotherapy.
But this seems to be one of the only sustained studies of the plant. WebMD says simply “graviola contains many chemicals that may be active against cancer, as well as disease-causing agents such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites.”
And Cancer Research UK points out that, “in laboratory studies, graviola extracts can kill some types of liver and breast cancer cells that are resistant to particular chemotherapy drugs. But there haven’t been any studies in humans. So we don’t know whether it can work as a cancer treatment or not.”
A Familiar Dilemma
In the end, it seems that the biggest challenge facing graviola is that we just don’t have enough research to satisfy the mainstream medical industry. This is a familiar dilemma for many folks in the medical cannabis community.
Like graviola, humans have long used cannabis as a form of medicine. And there’s a growing number of patients, survivors, and researchers who say that cannabis can be an effective way to treat cancer. Yet people continue debating whether or not these claims are true.
Cannabis skeptics say there’s not enough research to reach any real conclusions. But supporters of medical cannabis point out that there is in fact a large body of research showing that cannabis can fight cancer cells.
In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse quietly updated its fact sheet about cannabis last fall. It now says: “recent animal studies have shown that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others.”
“Evidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana can shrink one of the most serious types of brain tumors.”
The Final Hit
One way or another, both graviola and cannabis have been forced to the margins of the mainstream medical establishment.
There are large groups of people who claim that both plants have amazing cancer-treating properties. Yet skeptics continue to say we haven’t researched either plant enough to know for sure.
And while that’s probably true for graviola, it might not be as relevant for cannabis. There is actually a significant amount of research on cannabis and cancer.
Either way, though, if these plants are as good at fighting cancer as people say they are, we owe it to ourselves to find out.