How to Make Soursop Tea from Leaves (Plus Proven Benefits)

Soursop tea, made with fresh or dried leaves, has a wonderful mild, herbaceous flavor that can be enjoyed piping hot or iced cold. I usually make the tea by boiling young leaves for about 10 minutes before steeping for another 10 minutes.

The tea’s health benefits have also attracted some attention, which I’ll discuss after details of making the tea. If you enjoy exotic teas like this, stop by my recipes for lemongrass, holy basil and cocoa tea.

soursop tea in a teacup with soursop leaves on the side

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How to make soursop leaf tea


This tea recipe only requires two ingredients: soursop leaves and water.

Soursop (Annona muricata) is also called graviola, guyabano, or guanabana. I usually use fresh, young soursop leaves for this recipe but more mature, dried leaves also work well to make the tea. And you can get the leaves on Amazon.

Soursop leaves - young and mature

Soursop tea recipe

Easy Soursop Tea Recipe

Soursop tea or soursop leaf tea has this wonderful unique flavor – think of it as a mild herbaceous taste.
Cook Time10 minutes
Steeping Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Caribbean
Keyword: soursop tea
Servings: 2
Author: Ros


  • 3 cups water
  • 3 – 4 young soursop leaves


  • Wash leaves.
  • Add water to a small saucepan on medium heat. Bring to a boil.
  • Add soursop leaves to boiling water. Boil for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Turn off heat. Allow to steep for another 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Sweeten and serve immediately warm or with ice.

Soursop tea benefits

There are lots of claims floating around about the benefits of soursop tea. Many of the claims – especially the anticancer ones – are NOT conclusive and NOT clinically proven. In fact, there are very few clinical studies on the tea itself.

Traditionally, the tea is used to treat:

  • infections
  • arthritis
  • rheumatism.

Based on several pharmacological studies (including this 2018 study), soursop was found to have beneficial properties like:

  • anti-cancer
  • anti-tumor
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-parasitic
  • anti-malarial
  • anti-ulcer

Soursop contains annonacin

Annonacin is a compound in soursop tea and juice. It is a proven lethal neurotoxin, meaning too much of it will have toxic effects on your nervous system. Annonacin can also adversely affect your metabolism.

Researchers linked the neurotoxicity of annonacin to increased cases of Parkinson’s in Guadeloupe, an island in the Caribbean.

And a 2014 animal study found large doses of annonacin caused brain lesions to develop in the animals. In fact, the researchers showed similarities between the brain lesions in the animals and in the Guadeloupean patients.

As an alternative view, many scientists believe it is impossible to link the Parkinson’s cases directly to the consumption of soursop.

So what’s the bottomline? Too much soursop tea may be bad for you.

Soursop tea and cancer

There are lots of articles online that suggest soursop tea as a cancer cure. Patients globally including in Jamaica and Trinidad have reported consuming the tea while undergoing treatment. But, soursop has NOT been clinically proven to treat cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK:

“In laboratory studies, soursop extracts can kill some types of liver and breast cancer cells… A more recent study showed that soursop pulp extract has an effect on prostate cancer cells in mice…There isn’t reliable scientific evidence that graviola works as a cancer treatment.. We don’t know whether it can work as a cancer treatment or not.”

This 2022 study did a review on soursop and its anticancer effects. It listed the clinical research and findings for soursop:

  • in a colorectal cancer study in 2017 with 28 patients, the ones receiving soursop extracts saw their “serum selectively impede the expansion of colorectal cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.”
  • in an earlier 2009 study with 20 colorectal cancer patients who had their tumors removed, soursop extracts caused anti-inflammatory responses in the patients which suppressed proteins (interleukin-6) linked to tumor formation.
  • this 2014 clinical case report discussed findings for one 66 year old woman with breast cancer. She supplemented her prescribed anticancer medication with soursop leaf extract and over an extended period became stable.

The same 2022 review also mentioned patients taking soursop leaf extract had pain relieving and gastroprotective benefits.

So, it is highly unlikely soursop tea can cure cancer patients without proper medical intervention and supervision. The neurotoxic effects must be monitored. That said, you can still enjoy an occasional cup of soursop leaf tea, ill or not.

Disclaimer: none of the above is medical advice. Please consult your doctor about the benefits and effects of using this tea.

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One Comment

  1. I have experienced a restful sleep whenever I drink a cup of soursop leaf tea with a drop of honey before bedtime. I use the dried leaves for the tea. Thanks for your information.

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