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Annona squamosa


Annona asiatica, Annona tuberosa [30].

Vernacular Names:


Buah Nona, Seri Kaya, Nona


Seri Kaya




Atis, Ates, Yates


Cay mang Cau




Pu Uon Xu, Phan lechi




Gandagaatra, Sitaa Phala, Shubha, Suda, Ganda, Gutea (Sanskrit), Sharifaa, Sitaphal (Hindi), Sitaaphalam, Siththa (Tamil), Atta (Bengal, Sri Lanka); Anusa (Gujerati); Seetapandu (Telagu); Sirpha (Malayalam);








Apele tonga


Custard Apple, Sugar Apple, Sweet-sop


Allier, Pomme-cannelle




Talapo Fua pekepeke

Latin America

Guanabana, Caramuyo

West Africa

Tubabu Susun

Rodrigues ISland

Atte [29]

General Information


Annona squamosa is a member of the Annonaceae family. It is a tree or large shrub with can grow up to 5m high, with a smooth and low trunk and numerous patent, rounded branches. The leaves are petiole, alternate, oblong, mostly acute, entire, nerved, glaucous beneath which measures 6-15cm long. The petioles are short, thickened below. The peduncles are lateral, generally two flowered. The flowers are pendent. The calyx in three triangular acute segments and small. The petals: three exterior ones measuring 2.5cm long, lanceolate, triquetrous, of a thick and fleshy texture, glabrous, moderately spreading, green without, pale within, and having a deep purple-coloured depression at the base of each; three interior petals minute. The stamens forming a very compact, broad ring or circle around the pistils, obtuse. The filament is very short. The cells of the anther is longitudinal, occupying the same plane as the filament. The pistils collected into a compact, cone-shaped body, very small, each with a capitate and somewhat acute stigma. The fruit is compound, large, soundish or oval, of a yellowish green colour, embossed with prominent, oblong and somewhat imbricated, obtuse, adnate scales, which in maturity spreas and are more depressed; internally filled with as many pulpy cells as there are united fruits, some being abortive, the rest one seeded. They radiate from a central, oblong-acuminated receptacle, from which, when ripe, the pulp readily separates. The seeds are oblong, deep brownish-black, compressed, with a pale swelling at the hilum or albumen filled with numerous transverse, brown lines of clefts.[2]

Plant Part Used

Leaves, bark, root, seeds and fruit [1][2][3]

Chemical Constituents

(-)-isokaur-15(16)-en-17,19-dioic acid; (-)-kauran-16 alpha-ol-19-oic acid; (-)-kauran-19-al-17-oic acid; cis-4-deoxyannoreticuin; (2,4-cis and trans)-Mosinone A; (2,4-cis and trans)-squamoxinone; (2,4-cis and trans)-squamolinone; (2,4-cis and trans)-9-oxoasimicinone; 1H-Cycloprop(e)azulene; 4-deoxyannoreticuin; 16 alpha,17-dihydroxy-(-)-kauran-19-oic acid; 16 alpha-methoxy-(-)-kauran-19-oic acid; 16 beta,17-dihydroxy-(-)-kauran-19-oic acid; annonin I; anonin VI; annonacin; annonacin A; annonastatin; annomosin A; anonaine; annosquamosin C; annosquamosin D; annosquamosin E; annosquamosin F; annosquamosin G; annotemoyin-1; annotemoyin-2; bisabolene; bisabolene epoxide; bullacin B; bullatacin; bullatacinone; caryophyllene oxide; cholesteryl glucopyranoside; cherimolin-1; cherimolin-2; daucosterol; germacrene D; kaur-16-ene; liriodenine; mosin B; mosin C; motrilin; moupinamide; reticulatain-2; sachanoic acid; samoquasine A; squamocenin; squamocin; squamocin-B; squamocin-I; squamocin-O; squamosamide; squamostatin-D; squamostatin-E; squamostanin-A; squamostanin-B; squamotacin

Traditional Used:

Gastrointestinal Diseases

The leaves, bark and unripe fruit is considered to possess strong astringent properties and this has been taken advantage of and used in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery. The roots on the other hand is purgative and is used in the treatment of constipation and bloody dysentery. Alkaloids from the roots exhibit antispasmodic activity. The fruits is also considered invigorating, antibillious and antiemetic.[1] In Ayurveda the unripe fruit is given for diarrhea, dysenstery and atonic dyspepsia.[3]

Respiratory Diseases

The fruits has expectorant properties and used to treat productive cough in India.[1]  Alkaloids in the roots has bronchodilatory properties. In Brazil the leaves forms part of a cough remedy syrup.[2]

Inflammatory Diseases

The dried powdered unripe fruits is used by the Indians to treat ulcers while the ripe fruit in paste form added to betel leaves form a good poultice to induce suppuration of tumours (abscesses).[1] The Viadas on the other hand recommend bruising the ripe fruit and mixing it with salt to cause malignant tumours to suppurate. Paste of the leaves is applied to non-healing ulcers.[3]

Other uses

The seeds are considered abortifacient and is applied to the uterus to procure abortion in India.[1][3] The heart shaped fruit is considered a sedative to the heart.[1] Fresh leaves when crushed and inserted into the nostrils can cut short fits of hysteria and faintaing according to Ayurvedic practitioners.[3] The leaves has insecticidal activities and is used to remove head lice by applying a mixture of seed powder and leaf juice on the scalp. In Cuba, the leaves are taken to reduce gouty arthritis.[1]

Pre-Clinical Data


Cytotoxic activity

Like other members of the Annonaceae family, A. squamosa too have an array of acetogenin which produces cytotoxic effects. Amongst the acetogenin compounds isolated from various parts of the plant are bullatacin, bullatacinone and squamone from the bark, with tetrahydrosquamone and bullatacinone showing selectivity to MCF-7 human breast carcinoma. [5] Another compound isolated from the bark squamotacin also a bioactive acetogenin showed selectivity for hyuman prostate tumour cell line (PC-3) with a potency of over 100 million times that of Adriamycin.[6] Three mono-tetrahydrofuran (THF) ring acetogenins, each bearing two flanking hydroxyls and a carbonyl group at the C-9 position isolated again from the bark ((2,4-cis and trans)-Mosinone A, mosin B and mosin C) showed selectivity against human pancreatic tumour cell line, PACA-2, with potency 10-100 times that of Adriamycin.[7] Hopp DC et al. further isolated three new Annonaceous acetogenins, 4-deoxyannoreticuin, cis-4-deoxyannoreticuin, and (2,4-cis and trans)-squamoxinone which showed moderately significant cytotoxicities to six human tumour cell lines with (2,4-cis and trans)-squamoxinone showing selectivity against the pancreatic cell line (PACA-2).[8] The same authors isolated another range of acetogenins from the bark of A. squamosa and identified bullacin to be selectively cytotoxic to MCF-7 (human breast adenocarcinoma) cell line.[9]

The seeds of A. squamosa also contained annonaceous acetogenins which have cytotoxic activities as evidenced by studies done by Pardhasaradhi et al. They found that both organic and aqueous extracts induced apoptosis in MCF-7 and K-562 cells by nuclear condensation, DNA fragmentation, induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS0 generation and reduced intracellular glutathione levels suggesting that induction of apoptosis by both extracts is through oxidative stress. [10] Of the 8 mono-tetrahydrofuiran (THF)-type annonaceous acetogenis isolated and characterized by Liaw et al. [11] Squadiolins A & B showed potency against human Hep G2 hepatoma cells and significant cytotoxic activity against human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Squafosacin B also exhibited significant cytotoxic activity against human Hep G2 and 3B hepatoma and MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Antimicrobial activity

Antiviral activity

The isolation of 14 kaurane derivatives and kaurane diterpines compounds had lead to the isolation of 16beta,17-dihydroxy-ent-kauran-19-oic acid. This compound showed significant activity against HIV replication in H9 lymphocyte cells with an EC50 value of 0.8mg/mL.[12]

Anthelmintic activity

The seed extract of A. squamosa showed anthelmintic activity against sheep nematode Haemonchus contortus. The isolated compound was found to be able to inhibit the hatching of eggs of H. contortus.[13]

Antibacterial activity

From the leaf cuticular wax, Shanker isolated two related compounds ie. 11-hydroxy-16-hentiaccontanone and its isomer 10-hydroxy-16-hentiacontanone. They tested these compounds against selected Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial strains and selected fungal strains and found them to have antibacterial and antifungal activities.[14] Essential oil distilled from the bark of A. squamosa showed significant antimicrobial activity against Baccillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus.[15]

Antiheadlice activity

Various parts of A. squamosa has been used traditionally to eliminate headlice. Tiangda et al. [16] found that the organic solven extracts of the seeds and leaves were effective in reducing the population of headlice by up to 99% in a group of school girls. The petroleum ether extract seem to be the most effective even against benzyl benzoate emulsion. Intaranongpai et al. [17] obtained oleic acid and triglyceride with one oleate ester from the hexane seed extracts. These compounds were able to kill headlice within 11-50 minutes.

Anti-inflammatory & analgesic activity

Caryophyllene oxide was isolated from the unsaponified petroleum ether extract of bark of A. squamosa. This compound exhibit analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities in doses of 12.5 and 25mg/kg body weight. The analgesic activity seems to be both centrally and peripherally mediated. [18] The seeds on the other hand contain cyclic peptides cyclosquamosin A, B, D, E, and H. The compound cyclosquamosin D was found to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines within the lipopolysaccharide and Pam3Cys-stimulated J774A.1 macrophages. [19] Yeh SH et al. [20] isolated 11 ent-kauranes from the stem of A. squamosa which showed immunomodulating effects in leukocytes. In another study they isolated 16beta,17-dihydroxy-ent-kauran-19-oic acid. This compound show antioxidant along with anti-inflammatory activities. [21]

Antioxidant activity

Antioxidant is a constant feature of most plants. A. squamosa is no exception to this rule. Various parts of the plant possesses anti-oxidant activity as evidenced by the various papers published on this. Gupta et al. [22] found that water extract of the leaves possess antioxidant activity as evidenced by increased activities of scavenging enzymes, catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), reduced glutathione (GSH), glutatione reductase (GR) and glutathione-s-transferase (GST) and decrease in malondialdehyde levels present in various tissues. When compared to other Annona species (Annona reticulata & Annona muricata) the anti-oxidant activity of A. squamosa was the least effective.[23]

Antidiabetic activity

Kaleem et al. looked into the antidiabetic activity of the leaves of A. squamosa. Their studies indicate that the aqueous extract of the leaves was able to significantly reduced blood glucose, urea, uric acid and creatinine, but increased the activities of insulin, C-peptide, albumin, albumin/globulin ratio and restored all marker enzymes to near control levels.[24][25] Gupta et al. [26] found that the ethanolic extract of the leaves also possesses antidiabetic properties as seen in its ability to reduce fasting blood sugar level by 73% in STZ-induced diabetic rats and by 53% in severly diabetic rabbits. This extract also reduce the level of total cholesterol by 49%, the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) by 72%, triglycerides by 29% and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) by 30%. They also found that the fruit pulp possesses antidiabetic properties too.[27] Panda et al. [28] found tha Quercetin-3-o-glucoside was responsible for most of the anti-diabetic and anti-oxidant activities of the leaves of A. squamosa.

Antihyperthyroidism activity

The extract of seeds of A. squamosa was evaluated for a possible ameliorative effect in the regulation of hyperthyroidism in mouse model. The results indicated that after 10 days of administration of the extract (200mg/kg) all the effects of hyperthyroidism was reversed including a decrease in the hepatic lipid peroxidation. It was also found the the seed extract was more effective than propyl thiouracil (a standard antithyroid drug). Quercetin, a component of the extract, could be a mediator of the anti-hyperthyroid activity.[30]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

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Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

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Interactions with drugs

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Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

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  1) Botanical Info


  1. C. P. Khare Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary Springer, Verlag Berlin 2007 pg. 53 – 54
  2. James A. Duke, Rodolfo Vásquez Amazonian ethnobotanical dictionary CRC Press, Boca Raton 1994 pg. 22
  3. L. D. Kapoor  Handbook of ayurvedic medicinal plants CRC Press, Boca Raton 1990 pg. 41 – 42
  4. Marcello Pennacchio, Lara Jefferson, Kayri Havens Uses and Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke: Its Ethnobotany as Hallucinogen, Perfume, Incense & Medicine Oxford University Press New York 2010, pg. 42
  5. Li XH, Hui YH, Rupprecht JK, Liu YM, Wood KV, Smith DL, Chang CJ, McLaughlin JL. Bullatacin, bullatacinone, and squamone, a new bioactive acetogenin, from the bark of Annona squamosa. J Nat Prod. 1990 Jan-Feb;53(1):81-6
  6. Hopp DC, Zeng L, Gu Z, McLaughlin JL. Squamotacin: an annonaceous acetogenin with cytotoxic selectivity for the human prostate tumor cell line (PC-3).  J Nat Prod. 1996 Feb;59(2):97-9
  7. Hopp DC, Zeng L, Gu ZM, Kozlowski JF, McLaughlin JL. Novel mono-tetrahydrofuran ring acetogenins, from the bark of Annona squamosa,showing cytotoxic selectivities for the human pancreatic carcinoma cell line, PACA-2. J Nat Prod. 1997 Jun;60(6):581-6.
  8. Hopp DC, Alali FQ, Gu ZM, McLaughlin JL. Mono-THF ring annonaceous acetogenins from Annona squamosa. Phytochemistry. 1998 Mar;47(5):803-9.
  9. Hopp DC, Alali FQ, Gu ZM, McLaughlin JL.Three new bioactive bis-adjacent THF-ring acetogenins from the bark of Annona squamosa. Bioorg Med Chem. 1998 May;6(5):569-75.
  10. Pardhasaradhi BV, Reddy M, Ali AM, Kumari AL, Khar A. Differential cytotoxic effects of Annona squamosa seed extracts on human tumour cell lines: role of reactive oxygen species and glutathione. J Biosci. 2005 Mar;30(2):237-44.
  11. Liaw CC, Yang YL, Chen M, Chang FR, Chen SL, Wu SH, Wu YC. Mono-tetrahydrofuran annonaceous acetogenins from Annona squamosa as cytotoxic agents and calcium ion chelators. J Nat Prod. 2008 May;71(5):764-71.
  12. Wu YC, Hung YC, Chang FR, Cosentino M, Wang HK, Lee KH. Identification of ent-16 beta, 17-dihydroxykauran-19-oic acid as an anti-HIV principle and isolation of the new diterpenoids annosquamosins A and B from Annona squamosa. J Nat Prod. 1996 Jun;59(6):635-7.
  13. Souza MM, Bevilaqua CM, Morais SM, Costa CT, Silva AR, Braz-Filho R. Anthelmintic acetogenin from Annona squamosa L. Seeds. An Acad Bras Cienc. 2008 Jun;80(2):271-7.
  14. Shanker KS, Kanjilal S, Rao BV, Kishore KH, Misra S, Prasad RB. Isolation and antimicrobial evaluation of isomeric hydroxy ketones in leaf cuticular waxes of Annona squamosa. Phytochem Anal. 2007 Jan;18(1):7-12.
  15. Chavan MJ, Shinde DB, Nirmal SA. Major volatile constituents of Annona squamosa L. bark. Nat Prod Res. 2006 Jul 10;20(8):754-7.
  16. Tiangda CH, Gritsanapan W, Sookvanichsilp N, Limchalearn A. Anti-headlice activity of a preparation of Annona squamosa seed extract. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2000;31 Suppl 1:174-7.
  17. Intaranongpai J, Chavasiri W, Gritsanapan W. Anti-head lice effect of Annona squamosa seeds. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2006 May;37(3):532-5.
  18. Chavan MJ, Wakte PS, Shinde DB. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of Caryophyllene oxide from Annona squamosa L. bark. Phytomedicine. 2010 Feb;17(2):149-51. Epub 2009 Jul 2.
  19. Yang YL, Hua KF, Chuang PH, Wu SH, Wu KY, Chang FR, Wu YC. New cyclic peptides from the seeds of Annona squamosa L. and their anti-inflammatory activities. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jan 23;56(2):386-92.
  20. Yang YL, Chang FR, Hwang TL, Chang WT, Wu YC. Inhibitory effects of ent-kauranes from the stems of Annona squamosa on superoxide anion generation by human neutrophils. Planta Med. 2004 Mar;70(3):256-8
  21. Yeh SH, Chang FR, Wu YC, Yang YL, Zhuo SK, Hwang TL. An anti-inflammatory ent-kaurane from the stems of Annona squamosa that inhibits various human neutrophil functions. Planta Med. 2005 Oct;71(10):904-9.
  22. Gupta RK, Kesari AN, Diwakar S, Tyagi A, Tandon V, Chandra R, Watal G. In vivo evaluation of anti-oxidant and anti-lipidimic potential of Annona squamosa aqueous extract in Type 2 diabetic models. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Jun 19;118(1):21-5.
  23. Baskar R, Rajeswari V, Kumar TS. In vitro antioxidant studies in leaves of Annona species. Indian J Exp Biol. 2007 May;45(5):480-5.
  24. Kaleem M, Asif M, Ahmed QU, Bano B. Antidiabetic and antioxidant activity of Annona squamosa extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Singapore Med J. 2006 Aug;47(8):670-5.
  25. Kaleem M, Medha P, Ahmed QU, Asif M, Bano B. Beneficial effects of Annona squamosa extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Singapore Med J. 2008 Oct;49(10):800-4.
  26. Gupta RK, Kesari AN, Murthy PS, Chandra R, Tandon V, Watal G. Hypoglycemic and antidiabetic effect of ethanolic extract of leaves of Annona squamosa L. in experimental animals. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 May 13;99(1):75-81.
  27. Gupta RK, Kesari AN, Watal G, Murthy PS, Chandra R, Tandon V. Nutritional and hypoglycemic effect of fruit pulp of Annona squamosa in normalhealthy and alloxan-induced diabetic rabbits. Ann Nutr Metab. 2005 Nov-Dec;49(6):407-13
  28. Panda S, Kar A. Antidiabetic and antioxidative effects of Annona squamosa leaves are possibly mediated through quercetin-3-O-glucoside. Biofactors. 2007;31(3-4):201-10.
  29. H. Panda  Herbs cultivation and medicinal uses National Institute of Industrial Research New Delhi 2000 pg. 144
  30. Merrill: Loureiro’s “Flora Cochinchinensis” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society The American Philosophical Society Philadelphia 1935 pg.162
  31. Panda S, Kar A. Annona squamosa seed extract in the regulation of hyperthyroidism and lipid-peroxidation in mice: possible involvement of quercetin. Phytomedicine. 2007 Dec;14(12):799-805.

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