Family - Anonaceae - Annona squamosa Linn. - SUGAR APPLE - Fan li zhi

Scientific names

Annona squamosa Linn.
Annona asiatica Linn.
Annona cinerea Dunal
Annona forskahlii DC.
Annona glabra Forssk.

Common names

Ates (Tag.)
Atis (Tag.)
Yates (Tag.)
Custard apple seed (Engl.)
Sugar apple (Engl.)
Sweetsop (Engl.)
Fan li zhi (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Lin qin, Ma luo tuo, Yang bo luo.
DUTCH: Kaneelappel.
FRENCH: Annone cailleuse, Cachiman cannelle (Haiti), Pomme cannelle (Antilles).
GERMAN: Rahmapfel, Ssack, 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: At, Ateira, Cabea-de-negro, Condessa, Corao-de-boi, Fruta da condessa, Fruta de condessa, Fruta do conde, Pinheira.
SANSKRIT: Gandhagatra, Shubba.
SPANISH: Ahate, Ann, Ann candonga, Anona blanca,Anona de Castilla, Chirimoya, Rinn.
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.
– Roots yielded two oxoaporphine alkaloids: liriodenine and oxoanalobine.

– 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:
Shampoo hair with gugo bark or any commercial shampoo daily for one week; with “suyod” combing twice daily.
For lice eggs (nits), apply hot vinegar for half an hour after shampooing; then “suyod” (fine combing) thoroughly.
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.
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.

Study Findings
– 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.
– Antidiabetic:  Beneficial effects of Annona squamosa extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats: 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. 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.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Beneficial effects of Annona squamosa extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats / Kaleem M, Medha P, Ahmed Q U, Asif M, Bano B

(2) 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

(3) 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

(4) 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.

(5) 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)



(8) 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.

(9) Evaluation of Antimicrobial activity of Annona squamosa / L V.R.Kulkarni, C.Chandrashekar / JPBR Vol. 1, Issue 1, May 2011

(10) Antimalarial alkaloids isolated from Annona squamosa / Tylor Johns, Arnold Windust et al / Phytopharmacology 2011, 1(3) 49-53

(11) 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.

(12) 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.

(13) 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


(15) 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* /

(16) Six cytoxic annonaceous acetogenins from Annona squamosa seeds / CHEN Yong, CHEN Jianwei, WANG Yu, XU Shasha, LI Xiang /

(17) Preliminary Phytochemical Screening of Fruit Peel Extracts of Annona Squamosa Linn. / Ashok Sharma, Ashish K. Sharma, Tara Chand, Manoj Khardiya, Suresh Agarwal / Current Pharma Research 4 (1), 2013, 1038�1043

(18) Antidiabetic Activity Of Annona squamosa L. In Experimental Induced Diabetic Rats / Ranveer S. Tomar* and Siddharaj S. Sisodia / International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives 2012; 3(6):1492-1495


(20) Biodiesel Production From Custard Apple Seed (Annona Squamosa) Oil And Its Characteristics Study / Yathish. K.V, Omkaresh. B. R, Dr. R. Suresh / International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology, Vol.2 – Issue 5 (May – 2013)

(21) Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of Annona squamosa Linn bark / Tej Pratap Singh*, Rakesh Kumar Singh, Paras Malik / Journal of Scientific and Innovative Research 2014; 3 (1): 60-64

(22) Inhibition Effect of Alkaloids Extract from Annona Squamosa Plant on the Corrosion of C38 Steel in Normal Hydrochloric Acid Medium / M. Lebrini, F. Robert*, C. Roos / Int. J. Electrochem. Sci., 5 (2010) 1698 – 1712

(23) Differential cytotoxic effects of Annona squamosa seed extracts on human tumour cell lines: Role of reactive oxygen species and glutathione / B V V PARDHASARADHI, MADHURIMA REDDY, A MUBARAK ALI, A LEELA KUMARI and ASHOK KHAR* / J. Biosci. 30(2), March 2005, 237�244

(24) Studies on Indigenous Insecticidal Plants: Part II-Annona squamosa / T. D. MUKERJEA & RAM GOVIND / J. set. INDUSTR. RES., VOL 17C, JANUARY 1958

(25) PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES OF ANNONA SQUAMOSA: A REVIEW / S.Gajalakshmi, R.Divya, V.Divya Deepika, S.Mythili, A.Sathiavelu* / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research, Volume 10, Issue 2, September � October 2011; Article-004

(26) Acute And Sub-Acute Toxicological Evaluation of Aqueous and Ethanol Fractions of Annona Squamosa Root A Traditional Medicinal Herb / C. Ronald Darwin, C. Vijaya, K. Sujith, Sadhavi, K. Sushma / Pharmacologyonline 2: 36-43 (2011)

(27) Antidiabetic and Antihyperlipidemic Activity of Annona Squamosa Fruit Peel in Streptozotocin Induced Diabetic Rats / *Ashok Sharma, Tara Chand, Manoj Khardiya, Kailash Chand Yadav, Rajesh Mangal, Ashish K. Sharma / International Journal of Toxicological and Pharmacological Research 2013; 5(1):15-21

(28) Anti-ulcer constituents of Annona squamosa Twigs / Dinesh K. Yadava,1, Neetu Singhb,1, Rolee Sharmac, Mahendra Sahaid, Gautam Palitb, Rakesh Mauryaa* / Fitoterapia (2011), 82(4), 666-675

(29) Oxoaporphine alkaloids in Guatteria diospyroides Baill. and Annona squamosa L. (Annonaceae) / P�rez-Amador MC, A Gonz�lez-Esquinca, MC Morales, F Toriz / Phyton (B. Aires) v.73 Vicente L�pez ene./dic. 2004

– 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: 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– Gestational Malformation Alleviation: Study diabetic albino rats concluded the gestational use of A. squamosa tends to alleviate the diabetes induced fetal malformations.
– 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.
– 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 Pl falcifarum.
– Antioxidant / Leaves: Extract of leaves showed only moderate scavenging activity of superoxide radicals and antilipid peroxidation potential.
– Antioxidant / Stem Bark: Extract of stem bark was evaluated for antibacterial activity against Bacillus coagulans and Escherichia coli. Results showed activity on test bacteria.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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: 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.
– 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 , N- methylcorydaldine, isocorydine, 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.

Small or large scale cultivation for fruit produce.