Sugar Apple, Sweetsop or Ates (Atis)

Atis is cultivated, throughout the Philippines and is occasionally spontaneous. It was introduced from tropical America by the Spaniards at an early date and is now pantropic in cultivation. The plant is a small tree 3 to 5 meters in height. The leaves are somewhat hairy when young, oblong, and 8 to 15 centimeters in length with petiole 1 to 1.5 centimeters long. The flowers occur singly in the axils of the leaves and are about 2.5 centimeters long. They are pendulous, hairy, three-angled, and greenish-white or yellowish. The fruit is large, somewhat heart-shaped, and 6 to 9 centimeters in length. The outside of the fruit is marked by polygonal tubercles. When the fruit is ripe it is a light yellowish green. The flesh is white, sweet, soft and juicy, and has a mild very agreeable flavor.

Atis is a favorite fruit of the Filipinos. It is very refreshing and may be eaten raw or made into an excellent ice cream

In the Philippines the leaves are applied as a poultice to children with dyspepsia. Crushed seeds with coconut oil are applied on the scalp to rid it of lice. A decoction of the seeds is used as an enema for the children with dyspepsia.

Externally the leaves, the unripe fruit, and the seeds (which contain acrid principle) possess vermicidal and insecticidal properties. The crushed seeds, in a paste with water, are applied to the scalp to destroy lice. The same is used as an abortifacient if applied to the uteri in pregnant women. The bruised leaves, with salt, make a good cataplasm to induce suppuration. The fresh leaves crushed between the fingers and applied to the nostrils cut shorts fits and fainting. The ripe fruit, bruised and mixed with salt, is applied as a maturant to malignant tumors to hasten suppuration. The unripe fruit is astringent, and is given in diarrhea, dysentery and atonic dyspepsia.

The bark, is considered a powerful astringent and tonic. The leaves are used as an anthelmintic. The seeds are considered a powerful irritant to the conjunctiva.The roots are considered a drastic purgative.