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Custard Apple: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more


Custard apple is scientifically known as Annona squamosa in scientific terms. It belongs to the family Annonaceae. It is a small tree native to tropical America and India. It is distributed worldwide and found in South and Central America, Australia and Africa and is now cultivated in the Philippines, Asia and West Indies.1,2 

custard apple benefits

The tree is believed to be a multipurpose tree with edible fruits. The fruits are divided into 20-30 segments with white flesh pulp. Each segment contains hard, shiny brownish-black seeds entangled in the flesh. The main parts of the plant are fruits, leaves, seeds, roots and bark, which are used in the management of different diseases and also have medicinal and nutraceutical properties. The custard apple fruit is also known as Sitaphal, Sharifa and Krishnaguru.1 

Did you know?

Nutritional Value of Custard Apple: 

The nutritional value of custard apple fruit depends upon the bioactive ingredients of the plant, which provide health benefits.1 

Nutritional components Value 
Energy 101 kcal 
Total fats 0.6 g 
Protein 1.7 g 
Carbohydrate 25.2 g 
Dietary fibre 2.4 g 
Calcium 30 mg 
Potassium 382 mg 
Phosphorus 21 mg 
Iron 0.71 mg 
Magnesium 18 mg 
Sodium 4 mg 
Vitamin C 19.2 mg 
Vitamin B6 0.221mg 
Niacin 0.5 mg 
Riboflavin 0.1 mg 
Thiamin 0.08 mg 
Fatty acids 0.231 mg 
Tryptophan 0.007 g 
Methionine 0.004 g 
Lysine 0.037 g 
Vitamin A 33 IU 
Table 1: Nutritional value of custard apple in 100 grams3 

Also Read: Jackfruit: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Properties of Custard Apple: 

Various research literature proves that the fruit, leaves, seeds, bark, stem, root and twigs of custard apple have traditional medicinal properties.2 The therapeutic properties of custard apple are given as follows: 

  • May have anti-oxidant potential1  
  • May have anti-malarial potential1  
  • May have anti-inflammatory potential   1  
  • May have anti-microbial (prevents the growth of micro-organisms) potential1,4  
  • May be potential anti-pyretic (reduces fever)2  

Also Read: Pomegranate: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and More!

Potential Uses of Custard Apple: 

I have learned that Annona squamosa seed powder can be used to eliminate lice. The powder contains certain properties that are effective against lice infestation, helping to eradicate them from the scalp and hair.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

The potential benefits of custard apple are as follows: 

1. Potential Uses of custard apple for skin  

Custard apple has been shown to prevent acne and pimples, decrease sebum (oil) production, and clear the pores of the skin. It may make the skin more radiant and smooth. The fruits of custard apple help to maintain the skin tone and rejuvenate its appearance.1 Custard apple is a rich source of amino acids that may help in the production of collagen (a type of protein), thereby providing elasticity to the skin.1 

2. Potential Uses of  custard apple for hair  

Based on my experience, I have observed that extracts of Annona squamosa leaves (ASL) can potentially be used as hepatoprotective agents that protect and improve the condition of liver cells. These extracts contain certain components that have shown positive effects on liver health, possibly by reducing damage to liver cells.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

The oil extracted from the seeds of custard apple may help support the growth of hair. The anti-inflammatory action of the seed oil may be helpful in reducing the inflammation of the scalp, hence preventing hair fall. It may also supports nutrient absorption in the scalp, which nourishes the hair. Custard apple is rich in iron that helps to improve the blood circulation of the scalp, stimulate hair follicles and ultimately promotion of hair growth takes place.1 

3. Potential Uses of custard apple for pregnancy  

Custard apple is a very rich source of vitamins A and C that may help in the development of the foetus. It may also reduce the risk of miscarriage, minimise labour pain during delivery and increase the production of breast milk after childbirth. It is also excellent for the development of skin, eyes, hair and also blood-related tissues of the foetus.1 Before using custard apple for its benefits during pregnancy, consult your healthcare provider for further guidance.   

4. Potential Uses of custard apple for cancer  

Various lab studies have shown that custard apple may show anticancer activity in form of their crude extracts and isolated compounds. This anticancer activity of custard apple could help minimise the growth of breast cancer in patients with no reports of side effects during the study. The leaf extract showed potential to reduce the spreading of cancer cells and also shows toxic effects on cancer cells.2 it is best to consult a doctor before using any fruits or vegetables for health conditions like cancer.  

5. Potential Uses of  custard apple for diabetes  

The leaf extract of custard apple combined with black pepper could help reduce the severity of diabetes in a lab study. Consumption of leaves extract of custard apple could also improve the activities of plasma insulin and reduces the levels of blood glucose during the study. Custard apple may increase the effect of diabetes medicines, resulting in fewer requirements for insulin therapy and also fewer side effects.1,2 However, before you start consuming custard apple for its anti-diabetic benefits, or making any diet changes, reach out to your healthcare provider and get all the necessary information.    

Check out Accu-Chek Active Glucometer Kit  for accurate blood glucose reading

6. Other Potential Uses of custard apple  

  • The leaf extract of custard apple showed positive effects against arthritis. This anti-arthritic activity causes a reduction in inflammation and may help people with arthritis.   
  • Custard apple helps to manage malaria. The leaf extract of custard apple contains bioactive compounds, which act against malaria-causing Aedes mosquitos.1 
  • The leaf extract of custard apple has strong anti-microbial properties that may help in reducing the growth of bacteria, fungi and viruses.4 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of custard apple in various conditions, but these are insufficient and there is a need of further studies to establish the true extent of benefits of herb on human health.   

Also Read: Kiwi: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

How to Use Custard Apple? 

Custard apple can be used in the following ways: 

  • Custard apple is used to make delicious, sweet dishes such as firni, rabdi and kheer. It is also used to make ice creams, juices and milkshakes. It is also used in cosmetics for skin protection.  
  • The seed oil extract of custard apple may help with the growth of hair.  
  • Different parts of custard apple-like leaves or flesh can be made into a paste and applied to the wounds, bruises and boils. It is also used as a laxative to manage constipation.1  

You should always consult your Ayurvedic physician before consuming custard apple for regular use. They will be the best person to prescribe you the correct form and dosage as per your health condition. Also, Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor 

Also Read: How to Straighten Hair Naturally: Proven Methods for Healthy Strands

Side Effects of Custard Apple: 

According to studies, the side effects of custard apple are given as follows: 

  • A study confirmed that atypical Parkinsonism develops in people after consuming custard apple daily due to the presence of bioactive compounds in the fruit. It is a condition that has symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease, recognised by postural instability. 
  • Phytochemicals present in the custard apple may lead to brain lesions, which can affect the brain tissue, ultimately causing brain diseases. 
  • Custard apples may produce rashes in sensitive individuals. 2 

If you experience any adverse reactions to it, immediately contact your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it to you. They will be able to treat you appropriately.  

Also Read: Saffron: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Precautions to Take With Custard Apple: 

Custard apple is generally considered to be safe if it is taken in the recommended dosages. However, general precautions have to be followed while consuming custard apple. 

  • There is no sufficient information about the negative impact of the consumption of custard apples during pregnancy, so it is better to stay on the safer side and consume it in moderate food amounts.1 However, if any complications appear, consult your doctor or Ayurvedic physician immediately. 
  • As the children are sensitive, extra precautions need to be taken to avoid any problems. Children should avoid eating custard apples in excess. Also, consult your Ayurvedic physician if any health-related issue appears. 

Interactions With Other Drugs: 

Ingestion of custard apple and its species have shown some interactions with several drugs that are described as follows: 

  • Interaction with glibenclamide (anti-diabetic drug): The co-administration of capsules prepared from leaf extract of custard apple with glibenclamide improves glucose control in diabetic patients. 
  • Interaction with glipizide (anti-diabetic drug): The combination of leaf extract of custard apple and glipizide decreases the dosage and requirement of insulin therapy.2 

Therefore, it is best to follow the advice of your Ayurvedic physician.  

Also Read: Orange: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Does custard apple manage constipation?  

Yes. Custard apple is composed of soluble fibres and antioxidants, which may show laxative properties. It may also help remove toxins and improves bowel movements. Hence, these soluble dietary fibres add bulk to the stool and may help in managing constipation.1 

Can custard apple help in skin oil control?  

Yes. If you mix custard apple paste with lemon juice and apply it to the skin, it may help to control sebum (oil) production.1 However, if you experience any allergic reactions on the skin, remove it immediately and contact your doctor.    

How does custard apple help to kill mosquitoes?  

The mosquito-killing action of the leaf extract of custard apple helps to kill the Aedes mosquitoes, which are the causative agent of malaria.1 Therefore, the leaves of custard apple may help get rid of mosquitoes.  

Can we use custard apple to manage a cold?  

Yes. The bark of the custard apple tree may help in managing symptoms of colds, coughs and headaches.2 You must consult a doctor if the condition persists. 

Which vitamins are present in custard apple?  

Custard apple contains vitamin A, thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin C.3 


1. Singh Y, Bhatnagar P, Thakur N. A review on insight of immense nutraceutical and medicinal potential of custard apple (Annona squamosa Linn.). Int J Chem Sci [Internet]. 2019 Apr 1 [cited 2022 June 1];7(2):1237-45. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332329163 

2. Al Kazman BSM, Hanrahan JR. Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Activities of Annona Genus. Molecules [Internet]. 2022 Apr 28 [cited 2022 June 1]. Available from: https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202204.0271/v1 

3. US Department of Agriculture [Internet]. Custard-apple, (bullock’s-heart), raw; 2019 Jan 4 [cited 2022 June 1]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171725/nutrients 

4. Patel JD, Kumar V. Annona squamosa L: Phytochemical analysis and Antimicrobial screening. J Pharm Res [Internet]. 2008 July 14 [cited 2022 June 1];1(1):34-8. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288971646 

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