Many people know the benefits of the guava fruit, but are unaware that its plant counterpart also provides several medicinal compounds. Guava leaves are full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, antibacterials, and contains beneficial tannins.
The guava plant (Psidium Guajava) is native to Central America, Mexico, and South America and is now being grown in the tropics and subtropics of Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Caribbean, and several other regions.
Guava plant leaves are best known as a natural pain reliever. They contain polyphenols, flavonoids, and carotenoids, which makes them useful in treating numerous diseases and conditions.
The leaves of the Guava also contain essential oils that are rich in nerolidiol, caryophyllene, beta bisabolene, p-selinene, aromandreno, 10% tannins, beta sitosterol, leucocyanidins, and titerpenoides.
Guava leaf extracts help with weight loss by preventing complex starches that are consumed in your diet from being able to convert into sugars. The guava leaves prevent the transition of carbohydrates to usable compounds when being broken down in the liver. When using the essential oil form of the plant it will strengthen and tone up the digestive system as it disinfects it, keeping the system clean.
When the guava leaf is taken for several months it can reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides without having any negative effects on the good cholesterol in the body. As proof, a study was shown – later published in “Nutrition & Metabolism” in February 2010 – where participants who consumed guava leaf tea had results of lower cholesterol, triglycerides, and lower density lipoprotein levels. The study was done over the course of eight weeks and were on participants who were and were not receiving medical treatment for high cholesterol.
Guava leaves provides individuals with diabetes the benefit of slowing down the sugar absorption into the blood by offering the body high levels of fiber. A research done by Microbial Research found that taking guava leaf extracts subdues high blood sugar levels and can prevent the start of Type 2 diabetes.
There are several ways to take guava leaf extract when treating diarrhea. It can be taken as tea, capsule, or by adding a few drops of the essential oil form into a cup of warm water then drinking it. When the extract is taken as an essential oil it provides astringents that binds up loose bowels to treat diarrhea. These astringents provide anti-bacterial and disinfectant properties which aid in removing extra mucus from the intestines. A study was published in 2008 in the “Journal of Smooth Muscle Research” about an experiment done on rats that had diarrhea which were given guava plant extract, which proved very effective in treating the problem.
According to a research that was published in 2011 in “Food Chemistry,” there is evidence that guava leaf extract has the potential to treat individuals with gastric cancer. Researchers found that when the extract of the plant is consumed it results in apoptosis (which means that gastric cancer cells kill themselves). Another study was done in 2006 by Manosroi testing the essential oil form of the plant, which also showed anti-cancer activity.
In a study published in May 2007 in “Wei Sheng YanJiu”, researchers found that guava leaf extract has antioxidant properties that can help scavenge free radicals in the body. These free radicals are produced naturally during cellular metabolism and can attach themselves to healthy cells that can lead to cellular damage or even cell death.
The guava extract contains quercetin which is a flavonoid that helps blocks enzymes that are contributors for building sorbitol – the sugar that makes the cloudy white clusters that can cause cataracts.
To benefit from the guava plant, it is best to use the young leaves found early on the fruit and convert it to an ingestible form. Guava leaves are usually converted to teas, an essential oil, or consumable capsules. The capsules, teas, and essential oil can be bought from most drugstores. For a fresh brew of the guava plant, some specialty stores sell guava leaves that can be crushed and boiled to make tea.
"Journal of Smooth Muscle Research": Antidiarrhoeal Activity of Psidium Guajava Linn. (Myrtaceae) Leaf AqueousExtract in Rodents: 2008: John A.O. Ojewole, Emmanuel O. Awe, & Witness D.H. Chiwororo; 2008.
PubMed.gov: Study on Antioxidative Activities of Psidium Guajava Linn leaves Extracts; B. Wang, S. Jiao, H. Liu etal; May 2007.
"Food Chemistry": The Chloroform Fraction of Guava (Psidium Cattleianum Sabine) Leaf Extract Inhibits HumanGastric Cancer Cell Proliferation via Induction of Apoptosis: 2011: Jeong Yong Moona, Ashik Mosaddika, Hana Kimet al; March 15, 2011.
Manosroi J, Dhumtanom P, Manosroi A 2006. Anti-proliferative activity of essential oil extracted from Thai medicinal plants on KB and P388 cell lines. Cancer Lett 235: 114-120.
Nutrition & Metabolism: Anti-hyperglycemic and Anti-hyperlipidemic Effects of Guava Leaf Extract – by Yoriko Deguchi and Kouji Miyazaki February 2010.
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