Before the colonization of the Americas, sweetsop was an important foodstuff and medicine to indigenous tribes. It is a medium-sized shrub, with purple-flecked, jade-colored flowers that grow in clusters. The mature fruit has a purple or black coloring when ripe, and it is covered in leathery scales. When the outer skin is removed, the flesh has a gooey consistency and sweet smell and taste. Other common names include custard apple, sugar apple, bull’s heart, and bullock’s heart.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Tropical Central America, tropical South America, Southern Mexico, Caribbean, Asia, Australia, Philippines, Florida
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, hypotensive, emollient, and treats skin conditions, burns, lice, arthritis, sore muscles, rheumatism, gout, indigestion, diarrhea, painful menstruation, colic
Sweetsop fruit can be eaten raw and is often added to desserts, jellies, and jams. For skin conditions and burns, make a poultice with the unripened fruit’s flesh. It can also be used as a facial mask and to soothe skin irritations and acne. Sweetsop leaves can be brewed or used as a decoction to help with digestive problems. Philippine shamans use the bark and roots to make a tonic to help with colic, indigestion, and diarrhea.