Anona Tropical Tea

Don't be scared off by the green leathery skin and flexible, curved spines of the soursop (Annona muricata). No, it is not an alien fruit but a tropical fruit, unique not only in form but also in its taste.

Also known as guyabano (in the Philippines) and graviola (in Brazil), the soursop is roughly oval or heart-shaped, quite heavy for its size, and packed with delicious and creamy white, fibrous pulp. If picked when mature and then naturally ripened, it is fragrant and sweet but with a touch of tartness. Ripe soursop is versatile; it can be eaten raw or processed into unique ice cream, smoothies, jelly, nectar and fruit juice, by itself or mixed with other tropical fruit and ingredients. You can mix soursop nectar with rum or coconut water for unusual cocktails and punch. When mature but still unripe, soursop can also be cooked as a vegetable.

The origin of Annona muricata has been identified by scholars as the West Indies and tropical America. It is still quite popular, especially in Cuba and Mexico where the fruit is sold in local markets. It has migrated to and is widely cultivated in China, Australia, Africa and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines. This tropical tree is relatively small, about 30 feet maximum in height, with deep green glossy leaves and yellow, fragrant flowers. It is a true child of the tropics and needs warmth, humidity and abundant water. Unfortunately the tree only bears 12-24 fruits each year and in many places, demand outstrips supply.

Over time, people in places where the Annona muricata grew found other uses for the fruit and other parts of the tree. In Peru people used its leaves to make a herbal drink. So did the people of Guyana and Brazil. In Jamaica, Haiti and the Western Indies, the fruit and its juice were used for medicinal purposes. In other cases, tea was brewed from the soursop's bark and leaves. In the Philippines, tea is brewed from Annona muricata flowers. Neuleaf Anona Tea, pleasant and invigorating, is made from wild crafted and carefully selected, naturally processed flowers. Neuleaf Graviola Tea, on the other hand, is made from soursop's pure dried twigs and leaves.