Why Is Soursop Illegal in US & Why People Think This Fruit is Banned?

On one side, social media exaggerates the benefits of Soursop; on the other side, we’ve sites saying it is illegal and banned to purchase this tropical native fruit in the US.

After extensive research, I conclude that Soursop isn’t completely banned in the USA. You can still enjoy its nectar and juices from Amazon and Walmart.

So, why do people think it is illegal or banned?

The reason is, Soursop isn’t easily available in the US market and also it is costly. Second reason is FDA issued legal regulation on the companies that marketed Soursop as the best treatment for cancer.

It all started when the FDA issued regulations over the marketing of Soursop as a medicine for treating cancer.

Though a study in 2017 stated that Soursop had shown positive results when used to treat prostate cancer cells, it was on mice and not humans.

Without proper scientific study on humans, the Food and Drug Administration of the USA can’t allow any natural supplement to be claimed as a treatment for cancer.

Apart from this, consumption of Soursop can cause Parkinson’s disease and trigger neurotoxicity related to the nervous system.

There is no scientific evidence to back about the claims about Soursop benefit for cancer. Moreover, excess consumption of this fruit can harm diabetic patients.

Based on these findings, the FDA has issued a regulation about not using it for medicine. As it is difficult to grow this tropical plant, you won’t see any Soursop in the market.

The Invasiveness of Soursop is another reason why it isn’t grown in the US.

To peel more layers of this fruit, let’s dwell deep into the nativity and nutrients in Soursop plant.

What is Soursop?

soursop is illegal in the US

Also known as Graviola, Soursop is a tropical fruit native to South America and Southeast Asia.

Despite its name, it is sweet and tastes like pineapple or a combination of apple and strawberry.

Soursop is the common name of the Annona muricata tree. With dark green prickly skin and banana-like creamy texture, Soursop is known to prevent inflammation and contains various phytochemicals and annonaceous acetogenin compounds that may inhibit cancer cells. (Source

However, its cytotoxic effect isn’t backed by any scientific study on humans.

Its creamy texture is used in smoothies, ice creams, and sorbet for culinary purposes.

Low in calories and rich in fiber and vitamin C, Soursop exhibits antioxidant properties that can reduce chronic diseases.

Despite these nutrients and studies, there is no scientific study on humans. Apart from this, it has shown toxicity in some cases, which I’ll discuss later in this article.

Why Is Soursop Banned in the US?

To be honest, it is not banned completely in the US.

There are some regularities and restrictions on the use of this fruit in the USA because of neurotoxicity, as claimed by the FDA.

Soursop is banned in the US because of its neurotoxic compounds that can cause neurodegenerative disorders.

Is it illegal in the US?

No, Soursop is not illegal, nor is it completely banned in the US. However, you should consider it as an alternative treatment to cure cancer.

The below-mentioned reasons are why Soursop is illegal or banned in the US.

Why Soursop Is Illegal?

There can be multiple reasons for banning Soursop, starting from the most possible reason:

  • Soursop includes neurotoxic compounds that can be dangerous to the nervous system. Source: FDA
  • Neurodegenerative disorders may include Parkinson’s disease.
  • A study on Caribbeans who consumed lots of Soursop concluded that they developed certain nerve changes. (Source)
  • Frequent consumption of Soursop may damage the liver and kidneys, too.
  • While some studies suggest the benefits of reducing blood pressure in animals, no human trials have been conducted to support this claim.

Drinks or foods that include some amount of Graviola can’t harm you. This is why you can buy Soursop nectar and juices without legal repercussions.

Also, excess intake can damage your nervous system.

Can you get Soursop in the US?

Yes, you can get Soursop in the USA. But you can rarely find it in the US market.

Due to travel restrictions from USDA to avoid pests and disease risks to American agriculture, you don’t see lots of them in the US market.

Apart from this, it is not easy to grow these tropical fruits. It takes 3 to 5 years to grow a Soursop tree.

Subtropical climate like Florida is suitable for growing Graviola trees.

Rumors about its ban in the US started due to the FDA regulating its use for treating cancer.

It can’t treat cancer, as there is no scientific evidence to back this claim.

Relying on such natural alternatives for cancer treatment can be dangerous.

Is it illegal to grow Soursop in the US?

You can grow Soursop in central and northern Florida, southern California, southern Arizona, and southern Texas, as the climatic conditions in these regions are ideal for tree growth.

You should choose a warm spot to grow Soursop, as the temperature below 50F isn’t ideal for its growth.

Growing Soursop – a Complete Guide

As Soursop isn’t a commercial crop, there are few studies and fewer cultivated varieties.

You can grow Soursop from seed. But, you should wait 3-5 years for the tree to bear the fruit.

Fortunately, you can also propagate the Soursop tree from cuttings.

Seed germination indoors

Wash Soursop seeds and sow them in a pot filled with peat moss.

Maintain moisture and keep the pot indoors in a shady spot.

After 15-30 days, seeds start to germinate.

Continue to provide the required moisture and indirect light.

Outdoor Planting

When the seedlings reach 12 inches of height, transplant them to a warmer and sunny spot.

Your region should be free from frost and must be sub-tropical climatic conditions.

  • Plant the seedlings in the ground and add old compost to the plant hole.
  • Spread 2-3 inches of mulch around the plant to avoid weed growth and retain moisture.


Depending on the climatic conditions in your region, water your Soursop plant.

Keep the soil moist and allow the soil to dry between watering.

In cooler climates, reduce watering the plant to avoid overwatering issue.


Soursop trees need 6-8 hours of sunlight to thrive. Ensure it gets ample amount of light exposure.


Choose a well-balanced fertilizer once a year.

It is recommended to conduct a soil test before applying fertilizer.

Depending on the nutrients in the soil, you should add nutrients.


Harvest the fruit when it is still firm.

Pluck the fruit and ripe it indoors.

You can expect the harvest in 3-5 years of planting.

Is Soursop Safe to Eat?

Soursop is sweet and tastes like pineapple. 

It is safe to consume this fruit, but seeds are toxic.

Some studies claim that excess consumption can lead to nervous disorder.

Tea made of Soursop leaves isn’t recommended for pregnant ladies.

However, eating juices and creams with Soursop in them is completely safe.

Patients with chronic diseases should consult a physician before consuming Soursop for medicinal benefit.

Health Benefits of Soursop

Besides being delicious, Soursop may reduce inflammation, and its antioxidant ability can reduce cellular damage.

Research has stated that anticancer elements in Soursop can reduce cancer in mice. More research needs to be conducted on humans.

Other health benefits include:

  • Studies state that Soursop extract was shown to reduce yeast and bacterial infection.
  • Extracts of Soursop may reduce inflammation, as the study states it reduces swelling and inflammation in rats.
  • It may reduce blood sugar levels. A study was conducted on mice. (Source)

As mentioned, most studies are carried out on animals, and human studies aren’t conducted much to back the benefits of Soursop.

So, it is recommended not to consume fresh Soursop in excess. However, you can eat extracts added to juice and creams.

Side-effects of Soursop

Though it is known for its health benefits, consuming excess Soursop has side effects.

  • Neurotoxicity: A study claims that Caribbean’s who consumed excess Soursop where reported with nervous disorder.
  • It can reduce blood pressure: People with hypertension can find this helpful, but frequent consumption may lower blood pressure for normal humans.
  • Allergic reaction: It may trigger allergic reactions in some people, like itching, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
  • Higher consumption may damage the liver and kidneys.
  • Tea made out of Soursop leaves isn’t good for pregnant women.
  • FDA states that those who consumed Soursop, including children, experienced vomiting right after a few minutes.


To conclude, Soursop is not completely banned in the US. However, the FDA issued regulations on using it as medicine for treating cancer. It also stated that its consumption can be toxic.

Due to its toxicity and invasiveness, Soursop is termed illegal in the US. However, you can find creams and juices with extracts of this tropical fruit.

It might be confusing, as rumours about its ban and illegality are all over social media. But, to be honest, it is not safe to eat excess Soursop.