KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - When medicine fails, humans go back to nature in search of an antidote for a plaguing disease
. And because most medicines have their roots in vegetables, herbs and trees, scientists and traditional healers have realized that some fruits and plants can be used in the treatment of some chronic diseases one way or another.
Of these is the annona fruit. Annoa is a genus of flowering plants in the pawpaw/sugar apple family, Annonaceae. It is a sweet tropical fruit, oval in shape and covered with a scaly green skin. The white pulp inside contains relatively black seeds.
Locally known by the Arabic name ‘gishta’, annona has originated in South and Central America. It is also grown in Portugal and Southern Italy. Researchers have indicated important health benefits for the annona, thanks to its contents of proteins, vitamins (particularly B-complex vitamins and c), in addition to a big sum of fibers and minerals such as potassium.
But the annona (or gishta), that was on display at fruit shops in the past, can no longer be seen at these shops in the Sudanese markets.
In a Sudanow survey many of the citizens asked mistook the fruit to the gishta (milk cream), extracted from milk, that happens to take the same name in the local language. Some citizens said they have heard about this fruit and have never seen or tasted it, though it is still grown in some parts of the country…It is now a forgotten fruit.
One citizen said he remembers its taste. "But where is it? And why has it turned into something like a myth. We can no longer see it at a market or a grocery! We hope its growers can send us some of it," he said.
But the annona is now gaining ground due to its newly discovered medical and health benefits.
The fruit is grown in the districts of the Blue Nile (southeast), Jebel Marra (Darfur in the far west) and the Gezira (central Sudan).
Research has considered annona a good protection from heart diseases (and their complications), Parkinson disease, osteoporosis and high cholesterol. It also improves brain function.
Most important is the news now circulating that annona is helpful in the treatment of 12 types of cancer, including breast, lung and pancreas cancers. Reports said annona has a remarkable effect on fighting tumor cells, similar to or even more effective than chemotherapy. Contrary to the case with chemotherapy, annona has no side effects, thanks to its vast content of antioxidants. This has prompted an international drug manufacturer to process the annona extract into a cancer drug with the name ‘graviola.’
Due to its high content of fibers, annona helps boost the bowel activity, thus protecting the digestive system against indigestion, constipation, flatulence and stomach worms and parasites.
Annona helps clean the colon and is helpful with colds, throat aches and prevents early aging due to its ability to renew human cells. It also prevents wrinkles, adds a gloss to the face and prevents hair fall.
Before it is consumed, Annona is washed, its skin peeled and then the fruit is sliced after its seeds are removed. It can also be taken as a juice. In this case sugar and milk can be added.