If someone handed you a large, green, egg-shaped, spiny object, what would you do with it? What if you opened it and found acidic fibrous pulp inside? Would you say, “this is gross, I don’t know what to do with it” and throw it away?
If you did, you would miss out on the mysteries of the soursop plant. All parts of this tropical tree have purposes employed for centuries. Some people even use the bark for tanning.
Is your interest piqued? Continue reading this article to find more interesting uses and facts about the soursop plant. We will also explore where the plant grows and other weird factoids.
What Is a Soursop Plant?
The scientific name of the soursop plant is the Annona muricate. The small tree, muricate, is native to Mexico and Central and South America. It also grows in the West Indies, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean islands.
This tough tree has also found its way onto some Pacific islands. It’s categorized as “sparingly naturalized” in French Polynesia. Tonga, Hawaii, and the Galapagos Islands report the presence of muricate on their islands as well.
This fruit tree is part of the custard-apple family. It produces spicy odiferous leaves.
If you never heard of this plant, it may surprise you to learn that it’s been around for centuries. Now let’s delve into the fascinating and weird facts about the soursop plant.
1. How Long Has It Been Around?
The soursop was first described by Oviedo in 1526. It was among the first fruit trees taken from South America to the Old-World Tropics. It was then spread to western Africa, Asia, and Australia.
While the tree has successfully grown in Israel, it has never produced fruit.
In 1964, the Research Laboratories of Nestle Products named the soursop among the three most promising tropical fruits along with the guava and passionfruit. It’s said to have distinctive aromatic qualities. They were also recognized for their suitability in making nectar and jelly.
2. Weed, Plant, or Tree?
This invasive species grows well in poor soil and propagates by both seeds and cuttings. The Global Compendium of Weeds describes the muricate as an “agricultural weed, cultivation escape, environmental week, naturalized, weed”.
On the positive side, it’s considered a low-risk plant, meaning that it’s not currently a major threat. But, it’s a weed.
3. Do You Have Trouble with Pests?
Many people crush the seeds of the soursop to make pesticides. They are useful in fighting southern armyworms and pea aphids.
4. Do You Need a Yolk for Your Ox?
The wood of the muricate is pale, aromatic, and soft. This wood is lightweight and not very durable. Yet, people have found it useful as oxen yokes. It’s known for not causing hair loss on the ox’s neck.
5. Are You Battling Lice or Bed Bugs?
If you have ever fought lice or bed bugs, you know about the agony and frustration this can cause. Did you know that the oil from the soursop seed kills lice? If you boil the leaves from the muricate tree, the resulting liquid is lethal to head lice and bed bugs.
6. Is Fishing a Favorite Pastime?
The soursop fruit is used in the Virgin Islands as bait in fish traps. Use caution, though, as the seeds and roots can be poisonous to fish.
7. Having Trouble Sleeping?
Stress often contributes to insomnia. Stress can cause the body to change the release of certain hormones that regulate the sleep cycle. Soursop tea, also called Graviola tea, helps decrease your stress and anxiety.
Brew up a nice cup of Graviola tea and drift off into a restful sleep.
8. Do You Suffer from Parasitic Infections?
Residents of rural Latin and South America are more prone to contracting gastrointestinal parasites. One common remedy is tea brewed from the soursop leaves. The International Journal of Molecular Science reported the benefits of this tea in improving gastrointestinal symptoms.
9. Does Joint Pain Interfere with Your Life?
Brazilian researchers performed animal experiments to look at the anti-inflammatory properties of soursop. The study concluded that the A. muricate plant has properties that decrease swelling. They also reported that it blocks painful sensations in the body.
You may wish to try rubbing the liquid from the boiled leaves on painful areas. This might help with the pain of gout or arthritis. It can soothe as well as increase your flexibility.
10. Are You Tired of Those Lines and Wrinkles?
You may have found your fountain, or powder, of youth. Start by taking out your frustration by pulverizing the soursop seeds into a powder. Apply this powder to your skin to help decrease lines and wrinkles.
This topical application can also decrease the appearance of age spots and blemishes. Create a paste and apply it as a mask. Relax as you feel your natural glow return to your skin.
Where Can You Buy a Soursop Plant?
If you’ve found this article interesting, you may be asking where to buy soursop plants. You can buy this plant online in many different forms. For example, you can buy tea leaves, tea bags, fresh fruit, freeze-dried fruit, and combo packets.
Soursop is also offered in a frozen pulp form. You will find videos to show you the many uses of this plant as well.
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