No evidence that soursop leaves are better at 'curing' cancer than chemotherapy

By: Rahul Adhikari
January 4 2024

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
No evidence that soursop leaves are better at 'curing' cancer than chemotherapy

Viral video falsely claims that whole soursop leaves are stronger than chemotherapy at curing cancer. (Source: Instagram/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

There is no scientific evidence available to prove soursop leaves can cure cancer. Experts state that soursop only has some limited health benefits.

Claim ID 827c8529

What is the claim?

A video has been circulating on social media claiming that whole soursop leaves are stronger than chemotherapy at curing cancer. In the short clip, two disembodied hands are seen washing a bunch of dry leaves and boiling them. A voiceover in the background says, “Cancer is a word and the meaning of the word is abnormal cell growth and what soursop has been proven to do is to regulate abnormal cell growth by being able to identify the abnormal cell growth…” 

The video also carries the inlaid text that reads, “Soursop Whole Leaves 10,000 times STRONGER than Chemotherapy.” The video was shared on Instagram, where it gained over 780 likes at the time of publishing. An archived version of the post can be viewed here.

However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that soursop leaves can cure cancer. 

What did we find?

Soursop leaves, also known as graviola leaves, come from the soursop tree, a tropical evergreen fruit tree found in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. 

According to the London-based charitable organization Cancer Research UK, graviola is promoted as an alternative cancer treatment. Their website notes that while some graviola extracts can help to treat infections with viruses or parasites, rheumatism, arthritis, depression, sickness, there is no scientific evidence or studies that prove that soursop leaves work as a cure for cancer in humans. The cancer research organization also warns against some chemicals in graviola and states that websites and magazines that promote graviola as a cancer treatment do so without any reliable evidence.

A 2018 review of several studies found that graviola has anti-cancer properties and other health benefits. However, the review noted that the traditional acclaimed benefits needed to be validated in human trials. 

A 2020 study investigating the anti-cancer effect of graviola on mice suggested that the plant exerts its anti-tumor effect through the regulation of the tumor cell cycle and by inducing apoptotic signals. However, the study doesn’t conclusively prove the effectiveness of soursop leaves on humans. 

Experts on using soursop to cure cancer

Logically Facts reached out to Dr. Sameer Kaul, Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi for more information on the matter. Dr. Kaul said, “As of now, there is no scientific evidence supporting the anti-cancer claims of soursop or Lakshmanphal (the Hindi name of the fruit). However, scientific evidence for its mild anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal action does exist, much like for papaverine or turmeric, etc. The fact that it contains antioxidants, like other beta-carotene-containing green leafy vegetables, leads to assumptions that it has a cancer-preventive or cancer-treating role. But these claims are unscientific and fallacious.” 

Dr. M. Ponraj, an oncologist at Thangam Hospital of PMRC, Palakkad, Kerala, said, “We don’t use any such leaves to treat cancer. The treatment of cancer depends on various factors like stage, age, and the physical condition of the patient.”

The verdict

There are no clinical trials or scientific studies that prove that soursop leaves can cure cancer in humans or are stronger than chemotherapy. Medical experts have noted that while the leaves do have some health benefits, there is no evidence proving their effectiveness against cancer. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before