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Database File for:

GUAJAVA
(Cassia alata)

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  • Family: Fabaceae
    Genus: Cassia
    Species: alata
    Synonym: Senna alata, Herpetica alata, Cassia bracteata, Cassia herpetica
    Common names: guajava, amana-putir-i, bajagua, bois dartre, candlebush, candlestick senna, candlesticks, Christmas-candle, daoen koepang, dartres, dates jaunes, emperor's candlesticks, empress-candleplant, fleur a dartres, fleur St Christophe, fleur dartre, fleur palmiste, gelenggang, guacamaya francesa, herbe a dattes, ketepeng kebo, ketepeng tijna, ketepeng, ketepeng badak, ki manila, ludanggan, mata-pasto, matupa, mocoté, retama, ringworm senna, ringworm bush, ringworm shrub, seven-golden-candlesticks
    Part Used: Leaves, Bark


    GUAJAVA
    HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS
    Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • kills bacteria
  • reduces inflammation
  • Leaves
  • stongly laxative
  • relieves pain
  • Infusion: 1 cup twice daily
  • kills fungi
  • increases urination
  • Tincture: 2-3 ml twice daily
  • kills candida
  • increases perspiration
  • kills parasites
  • aids digestion
  • lowers blood sugar
  • repels insects
  • increase bile

  • Guajava is a beautiful flowering shrub that grows about 1 to 2 m in height. It produces pretty yellow flowers in a column that resemble yellow candlesticks - earning its common name candlestick or candle bush. It is native to the Amazon Rainforest and can be found in Peru, Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela and Colombia. Due to its beauty, it has been cultivated around the world as an ornamental plant and has naturalized in many tropical regions in the world including tropical Africa, tropical Asia, Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean, Melanesia, Polynesia, & Hawaii.

    TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES

    The Tikuna Indians of the Amazon prepare a decocotion of the flowers as a purgative and one cup is taken each morning. In Cuba, the plant is named guacamaya francesa and it is used for herpes ulcers and other skin conditions, as a diuretic and as a laxative. In Peruvian herbal medicine systems the plant is called retama and the flowers are prepared in an infusion to treat urinary infections and used to increase urination; the leaves and stems are prepared in a decoction for acaries, herpes ulcers, ringworm, and other skin conditions; and, the root, leaves, wood and flowers are decocted for a remedy against intestinal parasites and hepatitis. Interestingly, the flowers are used as a diuretic (to increase urination), while the leaves are believe to be anti-diuretic. In Brazil, the plant is called guajava or mata-pasto. An infusion of the bark and roots is used for hydropsy, skin erruptions and fever. The leaves are considered an ememmagogue and diuretic and are prepared in extracts or capsules for liver problems, anemia, dyspepsia, menstrual problems, and high fevers. The leaves are juiced and mixed with lemon juice and applied to the skin for dematitis and taken internally for syphilis.

    PLANT CHEMICALS

    Guajava, like most Cassia and Senna plants, contain a group of chemicals called anthraquinones. These chemicals are well known for their laxative effect. Guajava leaves also contain a chemical called adenine which has been documented as an effective platelet aggregating inhibitor (reduces sticky blood and arterial plaque).

    Other chemicals in guajava include chrysoeriol-7-O-(2"-O-beta-D-mannopyranosyl)-beta-D-allopyranoside, kaempferol, kaempferol 3-O-gentiobioside, naringenin, quercetin, and rhamnetin-3-O-(2"-O-beta-D-mannopyranosyl)-beta-D-allopyranoside.

    BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH

    Guajava has demonstrated effective broad spectrum antibacterial, anticandidal, and antifungal activities in several laboratory studies over the years. Researchers in Malaysia reported their findings in 2002 stating: "Based on the current findings, it can be concluded that this plant has antimicrobial activity, which is as potent as standard antimicrobial drugs against certain microorganisms." Japanese researchers in 2003 reported that a leaf extract evidenced anti-inflammatory activity. In animal studies conducted in the Phillipines in 2002, guajava leaves were reported to possess pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, and hypoglycemic actions. In 1994 a 10-year human study was published in India which indicated that a guajava leaf extract can be reliably used as a herbal medicine to treat Pityriasis versicolor (a type of skin fungus) without side effects. Another human study conducted in 1990 verified and validated the plant's use as an effective laxative. In 1993 guajava was reported to have choleretic actions in a rat study. According to results obtained, the choleretic activity of the plant at 15 mg/kg was better than the control used (Hebucol ND), but in higher doses, the plant tended to inhibit bile secretion.



    WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
    Africa as an abortifacient, laxative, for parturition, scurvy
    Brazil for anemia, constipation, dermatitis, dyspepsia, fevers, hydropsy, liver problems, menstrual disorders, skin problems, venereal disease; as a diuretic, ememmagogue, laxative, purgative
    Cuba as a diuretic, diaphoretic, laxative; for herpes, skin conditions
    Ghana as an abortifacient, insecticide, purgative, vermifuge; for ascites, craw-craw, dhobey-itch, eczema, gonorrhea, herpes, leprosy, mycosis, parturition, ringworm, shingles, skin problems, sores, wounds
    Haiti as a depurative, diaphoretic, insecticide, tonic, vulnerary; for amygdalitis, herpes, itch, measles, psoriasis, sore(throat), tonic, skin problems, prurigo, sores, wounds
    Java for herpes, itch, ringworm, scabies, syphilis; as a larvacide
    Mexico as a diaphoretic, diuretic, insecticide, purgative; for fever, rheumatism, ringworms, skin conditions, snakebite, syphilis
    Peru as a diuretic, insecticide, laxative, vermifuge; for acaries, hepatitis, herpes, intestinal parasites, ringworm, skin problems, snakebite, urinary infections
    Samoa as a purgative; for ringworms, skin problems, snakebite
    Trinidad as a bactericide, laxative, vermifuge; for diarrhea, eczema, herpes, venereal diseases, vitiligo
    Venezuela as a diuretic; for itch, skin problems
    Elsewhere as a antidote, batericide, diuretic, fungicide, insecticide, piscicide, purgative, vermifuge; for asthma, bronchitis, constipation, dysentery, eczema, herpes, intestinal parasites, rheumatism, skin disorders, snakebite, stomachache, venereal diseases


    The above text has been authored by Leslie Taylor, copyrighted © 2005 All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, including websites, without written permission.





    REFERENCED QUOTES ON GUAJAVA

    Candlesticks
    "The attractive shrub is named for its flower buds which grow in a column and look like fat yellow candles each complete with a flame! The leaves fold together at night. It was introduced to other tropical areas from the Americas and is now widely considered a weed.

    Traditional medicinal uses: Leaves or sap are used to treat fungal infections such as ringworm. They contain a fungicide, chrysophanic acid. Because of its anti-fungal properties, it is a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos and lotions in the Philippines. The effectiveness of this plant against skin diseases is confirmed by modern scientific studies.

    Other chemicals contained in the plant includes saponin which acts as a laxative and expels intestinal parasites. In Africa, the boiled leaves are used to treat high-blood pressure. In South America, besides skin diseases, it is also used to treat a wide range of ailments from stomach problems, fever, asthma to snake bite and venereal diseases (syphilis, gonorrhoea)."
    By Ria Tan, 2001 Online at Sungei Buloh Nature Park's Website


    * The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.




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    Last updated 12-17-2012