The fact is that, even though modern medicine has made great strides in the past few decades, conventional cancer treatments remain expensive, exhausting and bring with them a whole array of unwanted side effects such as pain, skin irritation from radiation and nausea, vomiting and mouth sores from chemotherapy.
With all these problems, it is little wonder why so many patients battling cancer seek natural treatments that are as effective as traditional therapies but without the horrific side effects. While there are many lines of investigation into natural cancer treatments, one of the most promising of these is the soursop, which one study showed to be more effective than a chemotherapy drug at eliminating cancer.
What is Soursop?
Soursop is a tree which is native to many parts of South and Central America and is used in Brazil, the West Indies, Jamaica and Guyana for its medicinal benefits. The use of soursop for medical purposes precedes European settlement here and goes back for nearly 3,000 years. Nearly all parts of the plant, including the leaves, roots, fruit and bark, have traditionally been utilized.
The soursop plays an important role in folk and indigenous medicine in this section of the world. It has been used for a variety of ailments including heart conditions, arthritis and other joint problems, asthma and liver complaints. It has also proven effective against parasites. And modern science is beginning to realize that it might just hold the key for newer and better cancer treatments.
Modern Research on Soursop
Serious attention began to be paid to soursop in the wake of a study back in 1996 that looked at the effect of the active compounds in soursop on colon cancer. Researchers involved in this study, to their amazement, found that soursop was actually much more effective at targeting and killing off cancer cells (while leaving healthy cells intact) than one of the more common chemo drugs called Adriamycin.
Adriamycin has been nicknamed the “red devil”, not only because of its strong red shade but because of the terrible side effects it brings with it, including the risk for fatal cardiac damage. The main problem with the “red devil” and many other chemo drugs is that it kills off both cancer cells and healthy tissues alike. Soursop does not appear to have this problem.
Sadly, not too many studies have been done on soursop since this one, but those which have been conducted have proven promising as well. A study in 1999 showed that soursop was effective in treating prostate cancer in particular, while another in 2002 found that it could help stop the development of liver cancer. More recently, in 2011, it was also shown to be able to slow the growth of breast cancer tumors.
Hopefully, in the future, more lines of inquiry will be followed to more fully understand the anti-carcinogenic properties of this fruit and future studies will lead to the development of an effective cancer drug which does not prove to be more terrible than the disease it is trying to treat.
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