Amazing health benefits of Katu Anoda | Daily News

Amazing health benefits of Katu Anoda

Annona muricata/ Katu Anoda/ Soursop (as it is known in English) is a species of the genus Annona. The Anonna genus contains approximately 166 species. Sri Lanka has just four varieties. Katu Anoda (soursop or annona muricata), Weli Anoda (sweetsop, sugar apple, annona squamosa), Matti anoda (custard apple, bullock’s heart, annona reticulate), and the Cherimoya (annona cherimola). All four varieties are largely found in home gardens. Today Green Thumbs speaks to Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Dravyaguna Vignana, Senior Lecturer, Dr. S.D. Hapuarachchi on Katu Anoda, the delicious fruit that is a boon to Sri Lanka coming to us from the other side of the world - West Indies and South America, introduced to the tropics by the Portuguese and Spanish in the 16th Century. It is a fruit that’s popular for its delicious flavor and impressive health benefits.

Dr. Hapuarachchi. 

Lankans who have eaten the fruit tell us that when you eat Katu Anoda it tastes a bit like a Pineapple while the soft central stem tastes a bit like a banana. However, when eating Katu Anoda it is like no other fruit! A healthy soursop can grow up to a foot long. When ripe, it is soft but firm, with a few blackish tinges on its pale green skin. It's best enjoyed whole, scooped with a spoon and deseeded, but also makes a wonderful smoothie mixed with honey with or without milk, or whipped up with plain yogurt or paired with ice cream. Unripe soursop makes a delicious spicy stir-fry, sliced and tempered with onions, garlic and chilis, curry leaves and curry powder, and simmered in light coconut milk.


“The flavour of the fruit has been described as a combination of strawberry and pineapple, with sour citrus flavor contrasting with an underlying creamy flavor reminiscent of coconut or banana. Some people describe the flavor as a blend of pineapple and mango. The pulp is used to make fruit nectar, smoothies, fruit juice drinks, as well as candies, sorbets, and ice cream flavorings,” said Hapuarachchi.

Hapuarachchi further pointed out that in Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ethiopia, it is a common fruit, often used for dessert as the only ingredient, or as an agua fresca beverage (Aguas frescas are light non-alcoholic beverages made from one or more fruits, cereals, flowers, or seeds blended with sugar and water).

“In Colombia and Venezuela, it is a fruit for juices, mixed with milk. In Cuba, a thick smoothie made of soursop pulp, milk and cane sugar goes by the name of champola. Ice cream and fruit bars made of soursop are also very popular.

The seeds are normally left in the preparation, and removed while consuming, unless a blender is used for processing. In Indonesia, dodol sirsak, a sweetmeat, is made by boiling soursop pulp in water and adding sugar until the mixture hardens. In the Philippines, it is called guyabano, derived from the Spanish guanabana, and is eaten ripe, or used to make juices, smoothies, or ice cream.

Sometimes, they use the leaf in tenderizing meat. In Vietnam, this fruit is called Mang Cau Xiem (Siamese Soursop) in the South, or Mang Cau (Soursop) in the north, and is used to make smoothies, or eaten as is,” pointed out Hapuarachchi.



Elsewhere in the world, the Anoda has other curative uses. According to Materia Medica of British Guiana, a drunk man will sober up if his head is rubbed with soursop leaves that have been immersed in a bowl of water into which the juice of couple of limes has been squeezed.

* In the Netherlands Antilles, the leaves are stuffed into pillows or strewn on beds for a good night's sleep.

* In Africa, young Anoda shoots and leaves are used to remedy gall bladder ailments, coughs, catarrh, diarrhea, dysentery and indigestion

* The leaves are said to have a cooling effect and also aid in the delivery in childbirth.

* Anoda leaf compresses are applied on inflamed skin and swollen feet. Chewed leaves mixed with saliva are used to get rid of scar tissue.

* A poultice of mashed leaves is used to cure eczema and other skin afflictions as well as rheumatism.



A typical serving of this fruit (Katu Anoda) is low in calories yet high in several nutrients like fiber and vitamin C. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of raw soursop contains: Calories: 66 Protein: 1 gram Carbs: 16.8 grams Fiber: 3.3 grams Vitamin C: 34% of the RDIPotassium: 8% of the RDI Magnesium: 5% of the RDI Thiamine: 5% of the RDI

Soursop also contains a small amount of niacin, riboflavin, folate and iron.



High in Antioxidants - Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize harmful compounds called free radicals, which can cause damage to cells. Test-tube studies show that soursop is high in antioxidants, which may help prevent cell damage and could lower the risk of chronic disease. One test-tube study looked at the antioxidant properties of soursop and found that it was able to effectively protect against damage caused by free radicals.

It can help fight bacteria - Test-tube studies show that soursop has antibacterial properties and may be effective against some strains of bacteria responsible for disease, although more studies are needed.

In one test-tube study, extracts of soursop with varying concentrations were used on different types of bacteria known to cause oral diseases. Soursop was able to effectively kill off multiple types of bacteria, including strains that cause gingivitis, tooth decay and yeast infections

It could reduce inflammation - Animal studies show that soursop extract could reduce inflammation and may be useful in the treatment of certain inflammatory disorders.

It may help stabilize blood sugar levels - Some animal studies have found that soursop extract could significantly reduce blood sugar levels.

Many parts of the fruit are used medicinally, including the leaves, fruit and stems.