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Organic Antiguan Soursop Bush Tea

George-Skye Williams George-Skye Williams

In 2003 Researchers in Taiwan reported that the main annonacin in the Graviola seed, was highly toxic to ovarian, cervical, breast, bladder and skin cancer cells.  Earlier in 1976, the National Cancer Institute while conducting scientific research found that the leaves of the Graviola plant effectively attacked and destroys cancer cells.  It doesn’t stop there, the same thing happened in a study at Perdue University.  Studies have been conducted even in China and again the Graviola strikes gold.

In an assessment of Graviola, published in the December 2008 issue of the “Journal of Dietary Supplements” by U.S. researchers Lana Dvorkin-Camiel and Julia S. Whelan, found that Graviola is effective against various microbial and parasitic agents and also displayed specific effectiveness on the Herpes Simplex Virus. So what is Graviola?  It is called by many other names.  My Spanish friends call it guanábana. Indonesian people call it "Sirsak" and in the Philippines it is known as Guyabano, the scientific name is “Annona Muricata L,” all these names for the fruit we in Antigua call, Soursop. 

In the early part of this year I was in Antigua and just before I was to return to Florida a friend wanted to give me some tea bush to take back for my mother.  I told him that as much as I would like to I was afraid that at 6 foot 4, big and of a very dark hue, bringing bush through customs was not a wise thing to do but I would ask customs when I get to Miami if this is something I could do safely without getting into trouble.  On my second trip, I asked a friend to bring me some Soursop bush since I have heard there is a very high demand for it and earlier I saw it in a local health food store in Lauderhill selling it for $12.00 US for about an ounce.  I thought to myself who would sell Soursop bush or a better question, who would buy Soursop bush?  When I came though Miami, I declared to customs just like they told me to that I had the tea leaves and they directed me to the agriculture department who checked out my stash.  I was cleared as they explained the fact that I declared I had the bush and it was not illegal was the way to go.  If I had not declared it then I may have gotten arrested and incurred a $300.00 fine.

For the next week I dried the leaves and put a couple of handful in 1 quart zip lock bags and on Saturday I took 8 bags to the Organic market in Coconut Grove and laid them on the display table.  Needless to say the first customer, a tourist from Asia knew exactly what is was and ask how much was a bag going for, I was shocked.  I fumbled for a moment, and then blurted $5.00!  She handed me a $5 bill and I handed her the Soursop bush in the Ziploc bag.  I could hardly hold a straight face as throughout the day 5 other people bought the dried Soursop leaves my friend gave me in Antigua from a tree in his yard in St. Johnston Village.  Yep, last Saturday I made $30.00 US, for less than a pound of ORGANIC ANTIGUAN Soursop bush.  

I went home and jumped on the computer and started my research, the information I found was amazing.  Did you know that scientists and researcher have said that Soursop leaves are 1000 time more effective on cancer cells than chemotherapy and that the fruit is about 10,000 times stronger with no known confirmed side effects?  So why even do Chemo?  That is a question for someone else, however the question I have today is:  We say things a tough in Antigua and Barbuda and we know the tourist, banking and other industries are slow to nil, so how come we are not promoting our agriculture and looking at other markets like promoting ORGANIC ANTIGUAN Soursop.  One customer tells me she gets it in capsules.  We claim that we have no natural resources but I cannot accept that theory.  I also discovered that the Neem bush the one we say keeps away mosquitoes is also being marketed.  These and other herbs and trees grow wild all over Antigua & Barbuda and can be marketed to the world. 

I also discovered a new type of pharmacy that only dispenses natural products and herbs.  When I go into some of the largest supermarkets and health food stores in the US, I find many products from Trinidad, Jamaica and even Haiti.  So how come Antigua can’t do this as well?  Is it because we do not have the natural resources or is it because there is no political will or those in charge is really not about doing the work that can get this done?  Last year I attended the South Eastern Natural Food Expo in Orlando, Florida.  It was an eye opener.  There I discovered millions of dollars being made by small and large companies.  There were packagers and marketers, sellers and buyers and industry experts, everything you need to get into the business with every kind of support you need to be a success in the business. 

Two days ago I pureed some green Soursop leave added an egg and cooked it in Shea Butter creating a paste or mask.  I am hoping that is will be effective for treating acne.  Two days later it looks like there was improvement. This could be another good use for ORGANIC ANTIGUAN Soursop.  If you go to Amozon.com you will find Soursop selling in various forms.

Imagine instead of government officials flying around the world hobnobbing with nothing to show on their return, sending our farmers and Entrepreneurs to these events to build relationships, learning how business is done. Imagine the new industries and jobs we could creating?  Maybe instead of the same old excuses, i.e. the global economic crisis, we could be more proactive and less reactive. We could raise the standard of the economy.  Maybe instead of political relationships we build real business relationships that would benefit the people, Antiguans and Barbudans. Maybe instead of always looking for others to help us, we can help ourselves.   Maybe we can realize a vision of a harmonious and modernized Antigua & Barbuda; an economic powerhouse in the Caribbean; a country of equality of opportunity and justice irrespective of colour, creed or class.

Each Endeavoring All Achieving

George-Skye Williams

Nuff Respect




“Journal of Dietary Supplements”; Tropical American Plants in the Treatment of Infectious Diseases; Lana Dvorkin-Camiel and Julia S. Whelan; December 2008

“African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines”; Anti-hyperglycemic Activities of Annona Muricata (Linn); D.O. Adeyemi, et al.; October 2008


Last modified onFriday, 06 February 2015 16:55
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