The Evidence-Based Healing Properties of 13 Common Fruits

8th October 2012

By  Sayer Ji

Contributing Writer for  Wake Up World

Fruit is not only enjoyable to eat — as it should be, considering the very word fruit stems from the Latin word  frui, meaning “to enjoy, use” — but it also nourishes and protects the body with powerful, built-in medicinal activity. Fruits are by design a “perfect food,” intended to entice animals to consume them in order to help disseminate their seeds, for instance. This means that unlike  grains, and other lectin- and anti-nutrient-rich organisms, e.g.  wheat, tomato, beans, we humans have chosen to make into our food, fruits are less likely to come equipped with “invisible thorns,” as they benefit as much in being eaten as we do in eating them. Also, like our now hard-wired  biological dependence on obtaining vitamin C  from external sources (unlike most animals we can not produce it from glucose), countless millennia of fruit consumption has left our genetic infrastructure in need of continual resupply of many of the key vitamins and phytocompounds they contain copious quantities of.

With this symbiotic relationship between fruit-bearing plant and seed-disseminating animal in mind, the following healing fruit facts won’t seem so unbelievable…

Grapefruit – Infection: The seeds of this fruit, at a dose of 5 to 6 every 8 hours for two weeks, have been shown effective in eradicating urinary tract infections, including drug-resistant strains.  [i]

Pineapple – Cancer: The enzyme bromelain, extracted from pineapple, has been shown to be more potent that the chemotoxic agent 5-fluorouracil in killing cancer, in the animal model.  [ii]

Watermelon – Hypertension: Watermelon contains amino acids, such as  L-citrulline, which help the blood vessels dilate naturally, countermanding  endothelial dysfunction  and reducing blood pressure.  [iii] [iv]

Cherry – Inflammation/Pain: Compounds within cherries known as anthrocyanins have been shown to be as effective as NSAID drugs in reducing pain and inflammation.  [v] [vi]

Lemon – Kidney Stones:   Lemonade therapy has been shown to be a reasonable alternative for patients with kidney stones.  [vii]

Papaya – Skin Ulcers: Used in Jamaica as a traditional medicine, new research indicates that topical application of unripe papaya fruit on chronic skin ulcers generates a positive response rate 72% of the time.  [viii]

Pomegranate – Hormones: Pomegranate is the fruiting ovary of the pomegranate plant, contains potent plant estrogens which do not stimulate unregulated cell proliferation, and may function as an ideal “back up” ovary for women’s hormone health.  [ix]

Kiwifruit – Cholesterol  – When used with hawthorn, kiwifruit extract was found to be superior to simvastatin (trade name Zocor) in lowering cholesterol in mice fed a high cholesterol diet.  [x]

Cranberries – Cranberry: The extract of this berry has been shown as effective as the drug trimethoprim in the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections in older women, without increasing the risk of antibiotic resistance/super-infection and/or fungal infection.  [xi]

Elderberry – Flu: If you are lucky enough to find elderberry on your produce stand, you will find that it has been used as a natural anti-respiratory infection remedy since ancient times. New   research confirms that it contains flavonoids which compare favorably with the antiviral drug Tamiflu at binding to and preventing H1N1 infection.  [xii]

Coconut – Gastric Ulcers: both the milk and the water of the coconut have been shown to have anti-ulcerogenic properties against NSAID drug-induced mucosal erosion.  [xiii]

Plantain – Diarrhea: Plantain has been used to treat diarrhea by traditional cultures as a folk medicine, but clinical research now confirms its value in the dietary management of persistent diarrhea in hospitalized children, in relation to diarrheal duration, weight gain and costs.  [xiv]

Strawberries – Heart Disease: Many red fruits and berries have now been shown to be valuable for heart health, but strawberry is beginning to emerge as uniquely beneficial to cardiovascular health. Strawberry powder has been shown to improve the lipid profile and oxidative stress markers, and markers of atherosclerosis, in women with metabolic syndrome.  [xv]      [xvi]  Strawberry extract has also been shown to relax the lining of the blood vessels, which may reduce high blood pressure and disburden the heart muscle from over-exertion.  [xvii]  Even the strawberry leaf extract has been shown to increase coronary artery blood flow in a manner similar to hawthorn extract.  [xviii]

Article Sources

[i]  O A Oyelami, E A Agbakwuru, L A Adeyemi, G B Adedeji . The effectiveness of grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) seeds in treating urinary tract infections.  J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Apr;11(2):369-71. PMID:  15865506

[ii]  Roxana Bà¡ez, Miriam T Lopes, Carlos E Salas, Martha Hernà¡ndez. In vivo antitumoral activity of stem pineapple (Ananas comosus) bromelain.  Planta Med. 2007 Oct;73(13):1377-83. Epub 2007 Sep 24. PMID:  17893836

[iii]  Arturo Figueroa, Marcos A Sanchez-Gonzalez, Penelope M Perkins-Veazie, Bahram H Arjmandi.  Effects of watermelon supplementation on aortic blood pressure and wave reflection in individuals with prehypertension: a pilot study.  Am J Hypertens. 2011 Jan;24(1):40-4. Epub 2010 Jul 8. PMID:  20616787

[iv]  Arturo Figueroa, Marcos A Sanchez-Gonzalez, Alexei Wong, Bahram H Arjmandi.  Watermelon Extract Supplementation Reduces Ankle Blood Pressure  and Carotid Augmentation Index in Obese Adults With Prehypertension or Hypertension.  Am J Hypertens. 2012 Mar 8. Epub 2012 Mar 8. PMID:  22402472

[v]  N P Seeram, R A Momin, M G Nair, L D Bourquin. Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant cyanidin glycosides in cherries and berries.  Phytomedicine. 2001 Sep;8(5):362-9. PMID:  11695879

[vi]  Jill M Tall, Navindra P Seeram, Chengshui Zhao, Muraleedharan G Nair, Richard A Meyer, Srinivasa N Raja.  Tart cherry anthocyanins suppress inflammation-induced pain behavior in rat.  Behav Brain Res. 2004 Aug 12;153(1):181-8. PMID:  15219719

[vii]  David E Kang, Roger L Sur, George E Haleblian, Nicholas J Fitzsimons, Kristy M Borawski, Glenn M Preminger. Long-term lemonade based dietary manipulation in patients with hypocitraturic nephrolithiasis.  J Urol. 2007 Apr;177(4):1358-62; discussion 1362; quiz 1591. PMID:  17382731

[viii]  H Hewitt, S Whittle, S Lopez, E Bailey, S Weaver. Topical use of  papaya in chronic skin ulcer therapy  in Jamaica.  West Indian Med J. 2000 Mar;49(1):32-3. PMID:  10786448

[ix],  Pomegranate Hormone Support

[x]  Hong Xu, Hou-En Xu, Damien Ryan. A study of the comparative effects of hawthorn fruit compound and simvastatin on lowering blood lipid levels.  Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(5):903-8. PMID:19885950

[xi]  Marion E T McMurdo, Ishbel Argo, Gabby Phillips, Fergus Daly, Peter Davey.  Cranberry or trimethoprim for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections? A randomized controlled trial in older women.  J Antimicrob Chemother. 2009 Feb;63(2):389-95. Epub 2008 Nov 28. PMID:19042940

[xii]  Bill Roschek, Ryan C Fink, Matthew D McMichael, Dan Li, Randall S Alberte.  Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro.  Phytochemistry. 2009 Aug 12. PMID:  19682714

[xiii]  R O Nneli, O A Woyike.  Antiulcerogenic effects of coconut  (Cocos nucifera) extract in rats.Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):970-2. PMID:  18521965

[xiv]  Thais Alvarez-Acosta, Cira Leà³n, Salvador Acosta-Gonzà¡lez, Haydeé Parra-Soto, Isabel Cluet-Rodriguez, Maria Rosario Rossell, José A Colina-Chourio.  Beneficial role of green plantain  [Musa paradisiaca] in the management of persistent diarrhea: a prospective randomized trial.  J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Apr;28(2):169-76. PMID:  19828902

[xv]  Arpita Basu, Marci Wilkinson, Kavitha Penugonda, Brandi Simmons, Nancy M Betts, Timothy J Lyons.  Freeze-dried strawberry powder improves lipid profile and lipid peroxidation in women with metabolic syndrome: baseline and post intervention effects.  Nutr J. 2009;8:43. Epub 2009 Sep 28. PMID:  19785767

[xvi]  Arpita Basu, Dong Xu Fu, Marci Wilkinson, Brandi Simmons, Mingyuan Wu, Nancy M Betts, Mei Du, Timothy J Lyons.  Strawberries decrease atherosclerotic markers in subjects with metabolic syndrome.  Nutr Res. 2010 Jul;30(7):462-9. PMID:  20797478

[xvii]  Indika Edirisinghe, Britt Burton-Freeman, Peter Varelis, Tissa Kappagoda.  Strawberry extract caused endothelium-dependent relaxation  through the activation of PI3 kinase/Akt.  J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Oct 22;56(20):9383-90. Epub 2008 Sep 25. PMID:  18816058

[xviii]  I Mudnic, D Modun, I Brizic, J Vukovic, I Generalic, V Katalinic, T Bilusic, I Ljubenkov, M Boban.  Cardiovascular effects in vitro of aqueous extract of wild strawberry  (Fragaria vesca, L.) leaves.Phytomedicine. 2009 May;16(5):462-9. Epub 2009 Jan 7. PMID:  19131227

About the Author


Sayer Ji  is the founder and director of and co-author of the book  The Cancer Killers: The Cause Is The Cure  with New York Times best-seller Dr. Ben Lerner and Dr. Charles Majors. His writings and research have been published in the Wellbeing Journal, the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity, and have been featured on,,,, and Check out his newest project:  Dr. Gourmet.


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