It is also used to cause vomiting and to empty the bowels. Some people use graviola to help them relax.
The leaves of the graviola tree have powerful anti-cancer properties coming from phytochemicals in the plant. The journal “Cancer Letters” published a study looking at the impact of graviola on pancreatic cancer. Supplementing with graviola stopped cancerous pancreatic tumor cells from replicating and caused them to die. Researchers suggest this natural medicine may prevent and treat cancer. The leaves may also be useful for treating skin cancer when applied topically.
Traditional medicines use graviola leaves as treatment for viral infections. An article published in “The Journal of Ethnopharmacology” in May of 1998 found that extracts from the leaves suppressed the herpes simplex virus. The herpes virus is spread through bodily fluids and often transmitted while kissing or through sexual contact.
According the University of Maryland Medical Center, up to 90 percent of the U.S. population has been exposed to one form of the virus and there is no cure. Some anti-viral medications can reduce the number of outbreaks or lessen symptoms. More research is needed to determine what role graviola can play in the treatment or prevention of herpes.