The guava is one of the most delicious fruits and is known botanically as Psidium gaujava, and locally by different names such as Amrud, Peru, Piyara, Koyya, Sede Pandu etc.
The term “guava” appears to derive from Arawak guayabo “guava tree”, via the Spanish guayaba. It has been adapted in many European languages: guava (Romanian, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, also Greek Γκουάβα and Russian Гуава), Guave (Dutch and German), goyave (French), gujawa (Polish), goiaba (Portuguese).
Outside of Europe, the Arabic jwafa, the Japanese guaba (グアバ), the Tamil “koiyaa” (கொய்யா), the Tongan kuava and probably also the Tagalog bayabas are ultimately derived from the Arawak term. Pera itself is used in Malayalam, Sinhala and Swahili. In Marathi it is peru, in Bengali pearah, in Kannada it is pearaley, (‘ಪೇರಲೆ’) and in Dhivehi feyru.
The nutritional properties of the Guava fruit:
Guava is rich of vitamin C, carotenoids, potassium, calcium and iron. Vitamin C in guava is five times more than that of an orange. Here are some wonderful uses for guava
•The fruit is one of the richest source of vitamin C (212 mg/100 g fruit). The quantity of vitamin C increases with the maturity of fruit
•The fruit contains fairly large quantities of useful minerals like phosphorus (20-30 mg/100 g fruit) and calcium ( 20-210 mg/100 g fruit ) depending on the variety
•The seeds of guava fruits are very rich in an orange-yellow colored aromatic oil (14%) that contains considerable amounts of iodine
•Some of varieties produce fruits rich in potassium and carotene while others lack these useful constituents.
The medicinal properties of the Guava fruit and Leaf:
1. Guava leaves and bark are used traditionally as a disinfectant and antiseptic for dressing wounds and sores
2. A decoction of Guava leaves is used for relieving tooth-ache and gum boils when used for gargling
3. The flowers of Guava are used for treating bronchitis
4. The Guava fresh leaf extract (decoction) is used to treat digestive disorders like diarrhoea and vomiting
5. Application of powdered leaves is believed to have soothing effect in rheumatic pains.
6. The fruit helps reduce high blood pressure.
7. It is also considered to increase the good cholesterol.
8. The guava leaf extract is also effective in treating gastrointestinal due to the presence of quercetin and other flavonoids.
9. The bark extract protects the heart and improve its functionality.
10. It is also used to treat acne and painful menses.
11. Guava bark is used medically as an astringent and to treat diarrhea in children,
12. The flowers are used to treat bronchitis, eye sores and to cool the body.
13. The fruit is also used as a tonic and laxative, and for the treatment of bleeding gums.
14. It is used to prevent and treat scurvy.
15. Use of the plant in treating malaria also finds mention in few reports.
16. Guava leaf tea is commonly used as a medicine against gastroenteritis (dysentry) and child diarrhea
17.The roots, leaves, bark and immature fruits are used for gastroenteritis as they are astringents.
18.The fiber content in guava controls blood pressure and cholesterol. As a result it is very beneficial for heart.
19.Vitamin C in guava fruit regulates heart beat and fights with free radicals. The potassium content and fiber in guava helps kidney in eliminating wastes.
20.Lycopene in guava reduces the risk of cancer.
21.Guava controls diabetes and it is good for constipation.
22.Apply the crushed leaves on wounds and aching places to get relief from pain.
23.Chew the leaves of guava after washing thoroughly to get relief from toothache.
24.The decoction of leaves of guava is a good remedy for cough and throat pain.
25.Gargling with the decoction of guava leaves relieves from swollen gums and oral ulcers.
26.The decoction is also beneficial for skin diseases and it is very useful in stopping the puking sensation.
27.In traditional medicine, the extraction of leaves is used to cure epilepsy and cholera. Convulsions in children can be treated by rubbing the stain on their spines.
28.In some tribes, the decoction of leaves and bark is used to expel the placenta after childbirth.
Chemical constituents and properties Guava leaf
Fixed oil, 6%; volatile (essential) oil, 0.365%; eugenol; tannin 8-15%; saponins; amydalin; phenolic acids; malic acid; ash, aldehydes.
Contains catequinic components and flavonoids.
Major constituents of leaves are tannins, ß-sitosterol, maslinic acid, essential oils, triterpenoids and flavonoids.
Andiarrheal, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antioxidant hepatoprotective, anti-allergy, antimicrobial, antigenotoxic, antiplasmodial, cardioactive, anticough, antidiabetic, antiinflammatory, antinociceptive.
Uses of Guava leaf and bark
Nutrition : Very high in vitamin C (80 mg in 100 gm of fruit) with large amounts of vitamin A. Fruit can be eaten raw or canned, jellied, juiced or powdered.
Leaves used for wounds and toothache must always be fresh.
Decoction or infusion of fresh leaves used for wound cleaning to prevent infection and to facilitate healing.
Warm decoction of leaves for aromatic baths.
Diarrhea & Dysentery: Guava is very rich in astringents (compounds those make your gums feel tighter and fresh after you chew guava leaves or eat a raw guava or use some toothpaste) which binds up loose bowels in diarrhea. These astringents are alkaline in nature and have disinfectant and anti-bacterial properties, thus help cure dysentery by inhibiting microbial growth and removing extra mucus from the intestines. Further, other nutrients in guava, such as vitamin-C, Carotenoids and potassium strengthens and tones up the digestive system and disinfect it. Guava is also beneficial in gastroenteritis due to reasons stated above.
For diarrhea, boil for 15 minutes 4 to 6 tablespoons of chopped leaves in 18 ounces of water. Strain and cool. Drink 1/4 of the decoction every 3 – 4 hours.
Constipation: Guava is one of the riches sources of dietary fiber. Its seeds, if ingested whole or chewed, serve as excellent laxatives. These two properties of guava help forming bowels, retaining water and clean your intestines and excretory system thoroughly. It is said that single constipation can lead to seventy two types of ailments. It is absolutely true. Every way to your total health goes through proper digestion and more importantly, proper excretion. Guava ensures both of these.
For toothache, chew 2-3 young leaves and put into the tooth cavity;
For gum swelling, chew leaves or use the leaf decoction as mouthwash 3 times daily; chewed leaves.
Skin Care: Guavas can help improve your skin texture and avoid skin problems more than the best of beauty creams or skin toner gels can do. This is chiefly due to the abundance of astringents in its fruits (more in immature ones) and in leaves. You can benefit from it either by eating the fruits (this help tighten your muscles apart from your skin) or by washing your skin with the decoction of its immature fruits and leaves. It will tone up and tighten the loosened skin. In addition to the astringents, guava is very-very rich in vitamin-A, B, C and potassium which are very good anti oxidants and detoxifiers and keep your skin glowing and free from aging, wrinkles and other disorders.
For skin ulcers, pruritic or infected wounds: Apply decoction of leaves or unripe fruit as wash or the leaf poultice on the wound or use the decoction for wound cleansing. It is also popularly used for the wound healing of circumcision wounds.
Cough & Cold: Juice of raw and immature guavas or decoction of guava-leaves is very helpful in giving relief in cough and cold by loosening cough, reducing mucus, disinfecting the respiratory tract, throat and lungs and inhibiting microbial activity due to its astringent properties. Guava is one of richest in vitamin-C and iron which are proven to be preventive against cold and viral infections. In some areas in India, roasted ripe guava is used as a remedy against extreme cases of cough and cold and congestion.
Nosebleeds: Densely roll the bayabas leaves and place into the nostril cavity.
Vaginal wash: Because of antiseptic properties, warm decoction of leaves as vaginal wash (after childbirth) or douche.
Cosmetic:Leaf extract used in skin whitening products.
Dental:Toothbrush au-natural: Guava twigs, chewed at the ends until frayed, used as alternative for toothbrushing with whitening effect.
Anti diabetic : Study of extract of leaves of PG showed to possess antidiabetic effect in type 2 diabetic mice model, the effect in part, mediated via the inhibition of PTP1B (protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B).
Phytochemical / Trypanocidal : Study showed that PG leaf extract possessed trypanocidal properties attributed to broad antimicrobial and iron chelating activity of flavonoids and tannins. Iron chelation was suggested as a effective way of killing trypanosomes.
Antitumor : Study showed P guava extracts to be efficacious in preventing tumor development by depressing Tr cells (regulatory).
Antioxidant : Study of methanolic extract of PG leaves showed in vitro free radical scavenging activity.
Antiproliferative / Anticancer : A study on the antiproliferative activity of essential oil from 17 thai medicinal plants on human mouth epidermal carcioma (KB) and murine leukemia (P388) cell lines. In the KB cell line, Psidium guajava leaf oil showed the highest anti-proliferative activity, more than 4x more potent than vincristine. The results suggested the potential of Thai medicinal plants for cancer treatment.
Antioxidant / Hypocholeterolemic : A study done to determine the effects of guava consumption on antioxidant status and lipid profile in normal male youth showed a significant increase in level of total antioxidants and reduced oxidative stress and also increase the level of HDL cholesterol significantly.
Anti-Ulcer : Study showed rats pretreated with P guajava extract from fresh tender leaves showed antiulcer activity in aspirin-induced gastric ulcer model with a significant reduction of ulcer index, pepsin activity, free and total acidity, volume and mucus content of gastric juice.
High Blood Pressure : Guava helps reduce cholesterol in blood and prevents it from thickening, thereby maintaining fluidity of blood and reducing blood pressure. Studies have shown that food stuffs which lack fiber (such a refined flour) add to blood pressure, due to quick conversion to sugar. Guava, being very rich in fiber and hypoglycemic in nature, helps reduce blood pressure.
Weight Loss : Guava is very helpful for those who want to lose weight without compromising with their intake of proteins, vitamins and fiber. Guava, being very high in roughage and very rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals, but with no cholesterol and less digestible carbohydrates, is very filling and satisfies appetite very easily. Just have a medium sized guava in the lunch and you will not feel hungry till night. But ironically, it helps gaining weight in lean and thin people. This is probably due to its richness in nutrients, which keeps your metabolism right helping proper absorption of nutrients.
Use as a Tea : Guava leaves contain many valuable nutrients and medicinal properties that may counteract diarrhea, control harmful bacteria in cases of gastroenteritis, and provide beneficial effect on rheumatoid arthritis. This very special blend produces wonderfully flavorful cup of tea with soothing and energetic balance and a touch of refreshing natural minty taste.