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Family Anonaceae
Annona squamosa Linn.

Fan li zhi

Scientific names  Common names 
Annona asiatica Linn. Ates (Tag.) 
Annona asiatica Vahl. Atis (Tag.) 
Annona cinerea Dunal Yates (Tag.)
Annona distincta Raeusch. Custard apple seed (Engl.)
Annona forskahlii DC. Sugar apple (Engl.)
Annona squamosa Linn. Sweetsop (Engl.)
Annona squamosa f. parvifolia Kuntze  
Guanabanus squamosus M.Gómez  
Xylopia glabra L.  
Annona squamosa L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Lin qin, Ma luo tuo, Yang bo luo. Fan li zhi.
DUTCH: Kaneelappel.
FRENCH: Annone écailleuse, Cachiman cannelle (Haiti), Pomme cannelle (Antilles).
GERMAN: Rahmapfel, Süßsack, Schuppenannone (Rehm) , Schuppen-Annone, Zimtapfel, Zuckerapfel.
HINDI: Raamaphal, Shariiphaa, Sitaphal.
ITALIAN: Mela canella, Pomo canella.
JAPANESE: Banreishi.
MALAY: Buah nona, Sarikaya (Prosea) (Indonesia), Seri kaya, Srikaya (Prosea) (Indonesia).
NEPALESE: Shariiphaa, Sariphal, Sitaaphal.
PORTUGUESE: Atá, Ateira, Cabeça-de-negro, Condessa, Coração-de-boi, Fruta da condessa, Fruta de condessa, Fruta do conde, Pinheira.
SANSKRIT: Gandhagatra, Shubba.
SPANISH: Ahate, Anón, Anón candonga, Anona blanca,Anona de Castilla, Chirimoya, Rinón.
THAI: Noina.

Atis is a small tree 3 to 5 meters in height. Leaves are somewhat hairy when young, oblong, 8 to 15 centimeters long, with a petiole 1 to 1.5 centimeters long. Flowers occur singly in the axils of the leaves, about 2.5 centimeters long, pendulous, hairy, three-angled, light green to yellow. Fruit is large, somewhat heart-shaped, 6 to 9 centimeters long, the outside marked with knobby polygonal tubercles. When ripe, the fruit is light yellowish-green. Flesh is white, sweet, soft, and juicy, with a mild and very agreeable flavor.

- Cultivated throughout the Philippines; occasionally spontaneous.
- Introduced from tropical America by the Spaniards.
- Now pantropic.

- The leaves yield an alkaloid, chloroplatinate.
- Anonaine, an alkaloid, is found in the bark, leaves and seeds.
- Seed yields an alkaloid, neutral resin, fixed oil.
- Seed contains a yellow, non-drying oil and an irritant which kills lice.
- Fruit peel extracts yielded alkaloids, proteins, carbohydrates, flavanoids, glycosides, saponins, and tannins. (28)
- Roots yielded two oxoaporphine alkaloids: liriodenine and oxoanalobine.
- Volatile oil study comprised mainly of α-pinene (1.0–11.9%), limonene (0.8–11.7%), β-cubebene (0.5–13.0%), β-caryophyllene (11.6–24.5%), spathulenol (0.8–9.0%), caryophyllene oxide (1.0–10.6%) and α-cadinol (3.3–7.8%). (
- Various solvent extracts of seeds showed the presence of flavanoids, coumarins, alkaloids, and terpenoids, with absence of saponins. (
- Study isolated 12 compounds from Annona squamosa viz., liriodenine (AS-1), moupinamide (AS-2),  -(-)-kauran-16 alpha-ol-19-oic acid (AS-3), 16 beta, 17-dihydroxy-(-)-kauran-19-oic acid (AS-4), anonaine (AS-5), 16 alpha, 17-dihydroxy-(-)-kauran-19-oic acid (AS-6), (-)-isokaur-15(16)-en-17,19-dioic acid (AS-7), squamosamide (AS-8), 16 alpha-methoxy-(-)-kauran-19-oic acid (AS-9), sachanoic acid (AS-10), (-)-kauran-19-al-17-oic acid (AS-11), daucosterol (AS-12). (

- The leaves, fruit and seeds are vermicidal and insecticidal.
- The unripe fruit is astringent, used for diarrhea and dysentery and dyspepsia.
- The bark is astringent and tonic.
- Roots make a drastic purgative.
- Leaves are emmenagogue, febrifuge, tonic
- Insecticide, antiovulatory, abortifacient.

- Studies have showed analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, cytotoxic, antioxidant, antilipimic, anti-ulcer, molluscicidal, genotoxic, vasorelaxant, hepatoprotective, larvicidal, anthelmintic, insecticidal properties.

Parts used
Leaves, fruit and seeds.

- Eaten raw or makes a delicious ice cream.
- The fermented fruit used to make cider.
- Salted bruised leaves used to hasten suppuration.
- Bark decoction is used as tonic and to stop diarrhea.
- Root has purgative action.
- Leaf decoction used for rheumatic baths to alleviate pain.

- For fainting and hysteria, crush fresh leaves and place over nose.
- For infected insect bites, pound and extract the juice from one unripe fruit and apply the juice directly to the affected areas, 3 times daily.
- For lice infestation of the head, atis has a herbal treatment regimen:
(1) Shampoo hair with gugo bark or any commercial shampoo daily for one week; with "suyod" combing twice daily.
(2) For lice eggs (nits), apply hot vinegar for half an hour after shampooing; then "suyod" (fine combing) thoroughly.
(3) Bedtime, pound 1/2 cup of atis seeds and mix with 1/4 cup of oil. Apply mixture thoroughly to the scalp and hair. Wrap the hair and head overnight. Shampoo in the morning and follow with fine tooth combing. Do daily for 3-5 days.
(4) Paste of the crushed seeds in water, applied to the scalp. The same used as abortifacient applied to the os uteri.
- In Northern India, young leaves used for diabetes.
- In Malaysia, used for skin infections, diarrhea, dysentery and UTIs.
The blackened aborted atis fruit is a preferred by some healers as an ingredient in the making of the "unton," used for bales.

Anti-Inflammatory / Cyclic Peptides:
Study yielded two new cyclic peptides, cyclosquamosin H and I, together with six known cyclic peptides, squamin A, squamin B, cyclosquamosin A, D E and cherimolacyclopeptide B from the seeds. Compound 7 showed an inhibitory effect on the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Cytotoxicity / Anticancer:
Extracts of A squamosa fruit pericarp was tested for cytotoxic activity against Dalton's lymphoma cells and HeLa cells. The chloroform extract was found cytotoxic to the different cell lines tested and suggests the potential for AS fruit pericarp for the development of treatment for cancers.
(1) Study results showed that A. squamosa extract has an antihyperglycemic effect and alleviated liver and renal damage associated with STZ-induced diabetes mellitus in rats. (2) Study of aqueous leaf extracts were investigated on STZ-nicotinamide induced diabetic rats. The diabetic groups treated with aqueous leaf extract were compared with standard glibenclamide.
Anti-Cancer / Squadiolins:
Mono-tetrahydrofuran Annonaceous Acetogenins from Annona squamosa as Cytotoxic Agents and Calcium Ion Chelators: Squadiolins A and B showed potency against human Hep G2 and 3B hepatoma and MCF-y breast cancer cells.
Hepatoprotective / DEN-induced Hepatotoxicity:
Study on diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced liver injury in Swiss albino mice showed hepatoprotective effect, with improvement in biochemical parameters and confirmation by histopathological studies. (5)
Hepatoprotective: Study showed the extracts of Annona squamosa were not able to completely revert the hepatic injury induced by isoniazid + rifampin, but it could limit the effect of the drugs on the liver. The effect compared with standard drug silymarin.
Antibacterial / Fruit:
Study screened the ethanol crude extract of the fruit of A squamosa for antimicrobial activity against some pathogenic microorganisms. It showed inhibitory activity against S aureus and S pneumoniae. Results conclude the plant extract may serve as a valuable source of compounds with therapeutic antibiotic potentials. (6)
Antithyroid Activity / Quercetin:
Extract of the seeds of A squamosa was evaluated for it ameliorative effect in the regulation of hyperthyroidism in a mouse model. Phytochemical study revealed the presence of quercetin in the seed extract and the results of the effects of quercetin suggest an involvement of this phytochemical in the mediation of antithyroidal activity of A squamosa seed extract. (7)
Antigenotoxic Activity:
Study showed both aqueous and ethanolic bark extracts of A squamosa showed antigenotoxic effect. The bark extract demonstrated more prominent antigenotoxic effect in DBMA induced genotoxicity in Syrian hamsters. (8)
Antiplasmodial Activity:
Methanolic extract of Annona squamosa leaves showed high antiplasmodial activity. Preliminary studies yielded terpenoids and traces of phenolic principles with no alkaloids, tannins or flavonoids. (9)
Molluscicidal Activity:
Study on molluscicidal activity of leaves, bark and seed of Annona squamosa against snail Lymnaea acuminata was studied. Highest activity was observed in the seed extracts. The acetogenins from the seed were more toxic than synthetic pesticides. (10)
Anti-Head Lice Activity:
Study identified the active compounds against head lice from the hexane extract of Annona squamosa seeds. The two major compounds were oleic acid and triglyceride with one oleate ester. The triglyceride with one oleate ester and the crude hexane extract diluted with coconut oil 1:1 were found to kill all tested head lice.(11)
Lipoxygenase Inhibition:
Study yielded from the seeds a novel lipoxygenase inhibitor fatty acid ester, (+) - annonlipoxy, which showed enzyme inhibitory activity against lipoxygenase. The crude ethanolic extract of fruit pulp and seeds of AS also exhibited lipoxygenase inhibition. (12)
Hepatoprotective / INH-Rifampicin Induced Enzyme Elevation: Administration of methanolic extracts of A. squamosa significantly prevented isoniazid-rifampicin-induced elevation in liver marker enzymes, together with increased total protein and reduced glutathione (GSH) levels. (16)
Gestational Malformation Alleviation:
Study diabetic albino rats concluded the gestational use of A. squamosa tends to alleviate the diabetes induced fetal malformations. (17)
Antimicrobial / Phytochemicals:
Phytochemical screening yielded phenols, tannins, alkaloids, saponins, flavanoids, reducing sugars and oil. The methanol extract showed maximum antibacterial activity against E. coli. Seed extract showed maximum antifungal activity against T. rubrum. (18)
Antimalarial Alkaloids:
Bark extract yielded N-Nitrosoxylopine, roemerolidine and duguevalline. All compounds showed moderate activity against a chloroquine-sensitive strain and a chloroquine-resistant strain of Plasmodium falcifarum.
Antioxidant / Leaves:
Extract of leaves showed only moderate scavenging activity of superoxide radicals and antilipid peroxidation potential. (23)
Antibacterial / Stem Bark:
Extract of stem bark was evaluated for antibacterial activity against Bacillus coagulans and Escherichia coli. Results showed activity on test bacteria. (25)
Hypoglycemic / Leaves:
Hot water extract of leaves showed a beneficial effect in controlling elevated blood glucose in alloxan and STZ-induced diabetic rabbit and rat models. Preliminary data suggest various mechanisms: pancreatic release of insulin and uptake of glucose through specific receptor. (26)
Cytotoxic Acetogenins / Seeds / Anticancer on Five Tumor Cell Lines:
Study of seeds isolated six new annonaceious acetogenins, annosquacins A-D, annosquatin A and annosquatin B. The compounds exhibited potent cytotoxic activity in vitro against five human tumor cell lines, and 5 and 6 showed high selectivity toward MCF-7 and A-549 cell lines. (27)
Antidiabetic / Leaves: Study evaluated the antidiabetic activity of a hydroalcoholic extract of Annona squamosa in experimentally induced diabetic rat model. Extract of leaves showed significant reduction in blood glucose after glucose loading, with activity comparable to glibenclamide. (29)
Antimicrobial / Fruit: Study of lyophilized powder of Annona squamosa fruit showed antimicrobial activity against microbial isolates. Significant activity was compared with standard Chloramphenicol. Preliminary screening yielded alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids, steroids, saponins, and glycosides as major constituents. (
Biodiesel Production from Custard Apple Seed Oil: Paper reported on the transesterification of custard apple seed oil. The viscosity of biodiesel produced from the seed oil is nearer to that of the commercially available diesel. (
Pediculicide / Leaves: Study of leaves yielded anthraquinones, a derivative of anthracene which can be used as insecticide. Study showed the leaves extract can be useful as a lice remover, which is cheaper than commercial products. (
Antidiabetic / Seeds: Study of methanolic and ethanolic extracts of seeds showed significant hypoglycemic activity in both normal and alloxan induced diabetic rats. (
Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Bark: Study of methanolic extract of bark of Annona squamosa yielded caryophyllene oxide. Caryophyllene oxide showed significant central and peripheral analgesic activity along with anti-inflammatory activity. Effect was comparable to standard drug Pentazocin. (
Corrosion Inhibition: Study evaluated an alkaloids extract from Annona squamosa for possible corrosion inhibition for C38 steel in 1 M HCl. Results showed AS extract was a mixed type inhibitor, with an inhibition efficacy that was temperature-dependent. Inhibitive effect was ascribed to the presence of organic compounds. (
Cytotoxic Effect on Human Tumor Cell Lines: Study evaluated organic and aqueous extracts from defatted seeds of Annona squamosa for antitumor activity on different human tumor cell lines. Organic and aqueous extracts induced apoptosis in MCF-7 and K-562 cells, with nuclear condensation., DNA fragmentation, induction of reactive oxygen species generation and reduced intracellular glutathione levels.
Insecticidal / Seeds: Study evaluated the insecticidal properties of an ether extract of Annona squamosa seeds. As a contact poison, the extract is toxic to Musca nebulo and Tribolium castaneum adults; DDT is 7 to 10 times more toxic, respectively. Extract also acts as a stomach poison against the larvae of Bonbyx mori, although ten times less than DDT. (
37) Study evaluated seed extracts against various strains of red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. A petroleum spirit extract showed highest toxicity (LD50=15.697 µg cm2) in CTC 12 strain.
Toxicity Studies: Ethanolic extract of roots was found to be toxic in acute toxicity studies, while the aqueous extract showed no toxicity in oral acute and subacute studies in rats. (
Antidiabetic / Antihyperlipidemic / Fruit Peels: Study investigated the effect of various extracts of fruit peels of Annona squamosa on blood glucose and lipid profile in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Results showed significant reduction in blood glucose and a significant decrease in lipid profile. (
Anti-Ulcer / Twigs: - Phytochemical investigation of twigs isolated twelve known compounds. Three of the compounds, (+)-O-methylarmepavine (2), N- methylcorydaldine (3), isocorydine (6), showed promising anti-secretory activity, comparable to standard drug omeprazole. An ethanol extract and its chloroform and hexane fractions exhibited gastroprotection via inhibition of H+K+-ATPase (proton pump) activity and simultaneously strengthening mucosal defense mechanisms. (
Antifungal / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the antifungal and antioxidant activities of various extracts of A. squamosa leaves. All extracts exhibited radical scavening activity and reducing power property in a concentration dependent manner, with the methanol extract showing higher antioxidant activity. Both organic and aqueous extracts showed dose dependent antifungal activity against all tested strains. (
Neuroprotective / Nootropic / Antiepileptic / Anonaine: Study evaluated the neuroprotective property of Annona squamosa and its active alkaloid content (-) Anonaine as an antiepileptic agent by acting on GABA receptor. Results showed memory boosting and memory regaining effects in radial arm and y-maze model. There were also significant improvement in epileptic rat's behavior and decreased GABA receptors. (
Oral Toxicity Study / Leaves: Study evaluated aqueous-ethanol (AE), dichloromethane (DM), and petroleum ether (PE) fractions for oral acute toxicity using albino mice. The LD50s were >1000 mg/kbw DM, >1500 mg/kbw AE, and >3000 mg/kbw for PE fraction, suggesting the DM and AE are harmful if swallowed while the PE may be harmful. (
Wound Healing: Study evaluated the effects of A. squamosa on the formation of glycosaminoglycans and collagen during wound healing in normal and diabetic rats. Results showed wound healing efficacy in human dermal fibroblast through promotion of active synthesis of GAGs and collagen maturation during wound healing. (
47) Study of a methanolic leaf extract using albino mice showed very good wound healing property. (49)
Antiulcer / Seeds: Study evaluated extracts of seeds of Annona squamosa in a pyloric ligation rat model. Results showed significant inhibition of gastric lesions. The alcoholic extract extract significantly (p<0.001) decreases the volume of gastric acid secretion, pH, free acidity, total acidity and ulcer index.   (
Antidiabetic Effect: Study investigated the possible therapeutic effects of A. squamosa extract on certain biochemical markers in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Oral administration of aqueous extract to diabetic rats for 30 days significantly reduced blood glucose, urea, uric acid, and creatinine. with increased activities of insulin, C-peptide, albumin, albumin/globulin ratio and restored all marker enzymes to near control levels. (
53) Study evaluated the antidiabetic activity of hydroalcoholic extract of A. squamosa leaves in experimentally induced diabetic rat model. Result showed antidiabetic activity comparable to Glibenclamide. (56)
Antipsoriatic Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated the suppressive effect of various Thai plants with anti-psoriatic activity on the expression of the helix-loop-helix transcription factor Id1 (inhibitor of differentiation or inhibitor of DNA binding), which is a known biomarker for psoriasis. Western blot analysis confirmed the Id1 protein was significantly attenuated after treating FaCaT cells with all tested concentrations of A. squamosa leaves (p<0.05).

Small or large scale cultivation for fruit produce.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update May 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Antitumor constituents from Annona squamosa fruit pericarp / Beena Joy and P. Remani / Medicinal Chemistry Research • Volume 17, Numbers 2-7 / June, 2008 / DOI 10.1007/s00044-007-9070-3
Beneficial effects of Annona squamosa extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats / Kaleem M, Medha P, Ahmed Q U, Asif M, Bano B
Mono-tetrahydrofuran Annonaceous Acetogenins from Annona squamosa as Cytotoxic Agents and Calcium Ion Chelators /Chih-Chuang Liaw, Yu-Liang Yang, Mei Chen, Fang-Rong Chang, Shu-Li Chen, Shih-Hsiung Wu and Yang-Chang Wu

Antidiabetic activity of aqueous leaf extract of Annona squamosa in streptozotocin–nicotinamide type 2 diabetic rats / Annie Shirwaikar et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 91, Issue 1, March 2004, Pages 171-175 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2003.12.017
The hepatoprotective effect of alcoholic extract of Annona squamosa leaves on experimentally induced liver disease in swiss albino mice / D Sobiya Raj et al / International Journ of Integrative Biology • Vol 5, No 3, 182, 2009
Antibacterial Activity of Annona squamosa Linnaeus (Annonaceae) / Au T S et al / Investing in Innovation 2003
Annona squamosa seed extract in the regulation of hyperthyroidism and lipid-peroxidation in mice: possible involvement of quercetin / Panda, S.; Kar, A. / Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology | December 01, 2007 | Panda, S.; Kar, A.
Protective role of Annona squamosa linn bark extracts in DMBA induced genotoxicity / K Suresh et al / Kathmandu University Medical Journal, Vol 6, No 3 (2008)
Antiplasmodial activity of selected Sudanese medicinal plants with emphasis on Maytenus senegalensis (Lam.) Exell. / Ahmed El Tahir et al / Journ of Ethnopharmacology • Vol 64, Issue 3, pp 227-233, March 1999 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(98)00129-9
Molluscicidal Activity of the Custard Apple (Annona squamosa L.) Alone and in Combination with Other Plant Derived Molluscicides / Amrita Singh et al / Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants, Volume 8, Issue 1 May 2001 , pages 23 - 29 / DOI: 10.1300/J044v08n01_04
Lipoxygenase inhibition by novel fatty acid ester from Annona squamosa seeds / Nighat Sultana / Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, Volume 23, Issue 6 December 2008 , pages 877 - 881 / DOI: 10.1080/14756360701747334
New Cyclic Peptides from the Seeds of Annona squamosa L. and Their Anti-inflammatory Activities / Yu-Liang Yang et al / J. Agric. Food Chem. 2008, 56, 386–392
Hepatoprotective activity of Annona squamosa Linn. on experimental animal model / Mohamed Saleem TS, Christina AJM et al / International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products, Vol. 1(3), pp. 1-7, Sep/Oct 2008
PROTECTIVE EFFECT OF METHANOLIC EXTRACT OF ANNONA SQUAMOSA LINN IN ISONIAZID-RIFAMPICIN INDUCED HEPATOTOXICITY IN RATS / Mohamed Saleem Thattakudian Sheik Uduman, Ramkanth Sundarapandian et al / Pak. J. Pharm. Sci., Vol.24, No.2, April 2011, pp.129-134
EFFECTS OF ANNONA SQUAMOSA LEAVE EXTRACT ON GROSS CONGENITAL ANOMALIES IN DIABETIC ALBINO RATS / Mah Jabeen Munira, Mohammad Tahir et al / Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journ, June 2010, No 2.
Evaluation of Antimicrobial activity of Annona squamosa / L V.R.Kulkarni, C.Chandrashekar / JPBR Vol. 1, Issue 1, May 2011
Antimalarial alkaloids isolated from Annona squamosa / Tylor Johns, Arnold Windust et al / Phytopharmacology 2011, 1(3) 49-53
Biological Studies on Fruit Pulp and Seeds of Annona squamosa / K F Ahmad and N Sultana / Jour Chem Soc Pak, Vol 25, No 4, 2003
Annona squamosa L. (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Sorting Annona names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
In vitro antioxidant studies of Annona squamosa Linn. leaves. / Shirwaikar A, Rajendran K, Kumar CD. / Indian J Exp Biol. 2004 Aug;42(8):803-7.
Inhibition Effect of Alkaloids Extract from Annona Squamosa Plant on the Corrosion of C38 Steel in Normal Hydrochloric Acid Medium / M. Lebrini, F. Robert2, C. Roos / Int. J. Electrochem. Sci., 5 (2010) 1698 - 1712
Hypoglycaemic and antidiabetic effect of aqueous extract of leaves of Annona squamosa (L.) in experimental animal / Rajesh Kumar Gupta, Achyut Narayan Kesari, Geeta Watal, P. S. Murthy, Ramesh Chandra, Kapil Maithal and Vibha Tandon* /
Six cytoxic annonaceous acetogenins from Annona squamosa seeds
/ CHEN Yong, CHEN Jianwei, WANG Yu, XU Shasha, LI Xiang /