Psidium guajava - guava - Psidium guajava - guava Guava - Psidium guajava Guava - Psidium guajava Guava - Psidium guajava Guava - Psidium guajava

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GUAVA
(Psidium guajava)

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  • Family: Myrtaceae
    Genus: Psidium
    Species: guajava
    Common names: Guava, goiaba, guayaba, djamboe, djambu, goavier, gouyave, goyave, goyavier, perala, bayawas, dipajaya jambu, petokal, tokal, guave, guavenbaum, guayave, banjiro, goiabeiro, guayabo, guyaba, goeajaaba, guave, goejaba, kuawa, abas, jambu batu, bayabas, pichi, posh, enandi
    Part Used: Fruit, leaf, bark


    From The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:

    GUAVA
    HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS
    Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • stops diarrhea
  • depresses CNS
  • Leaves
  • kills bacteria
  • lowers blood pressure
  • Decoction: 1 cup 1-3
  • kills fungi
  • reduces blood sugar
  • times daily
  • kills yeast
  • constricts blood vessels
  •  
  • kills amebas
  • promotes menstruation
  •  
  • relieves pain
  •    
  • fights free radicals
  •    
  • reduces spasms
  •    
  • supports heart
  •    

    Called guayaba in Spanish-speaking countries and goiaba in Brazil, guava is a common shade tree or shrub in door-yard gardens in the tropics. It provides shade while the guava fruits are eaten fresh and made into drinks, ice cream, and preserves. In the richness of the Amazon, guava fruits often grow well beyond the size of tennis balls on well-branched trees or shrubs reaching up to 20 m high. Cultivated varieties average about 10 meters in height and produce lemon-sized fruits. The tree is easily identified by its distinctive thin, smooth, copper-colored bark that flakes off, showing a greenish layer beneath.

    Guava fruit today is considered minor in terms of commercial world trade but is widely grown in the tropics, enriching the diet of hundreds of millions of people in the tropics of the world. Guava has spread widely throughout the tropics because it thrives in a variety of soils, propagates easily, and bears fruit relatively quickly. The fruits contain numerous seeds that can produce a mature fruit-bearing plant within four years. In the Amazon rainforest guava fruits are much enjoyed by birds and monkeys, which disperse guava seeds in their droppings and cause spontaneous clumps of guava trees to grow throughout the rainforest.

    TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES

    Guava may have been domesticated in Peru several thousand years ago; Peruvian archaeological sites have revealed guava seeds found stored with beans, corn, squash, and other cultivated plants. Guava fruit is still enjoyed as a sweet treat by indigenous peoples throughout the rainforest, and the leaves and bark of the guava tree have a long history of medicinal uses that are still employed today.

    The Tikuna Indians decoct the leaves or bark of guava as a cure for diarrhea. In fact, an infusion or decoction made from the leaves and/or bark has been used by many tribes for diarrhea and dysentery throughout the Amazon, and Indians also employ it for sore throats, vomiting, stomach upsets, for vertigo, and to regulate menstrual periods. Tender leaves are chewed for bleeding gums and bad breath, and it is said to prevent hangovers (if chewed before drinking). Indians throughout the Amazon gargle a leaf decoction for mouth sores, bleeding gums, or use it as a douche for vaginal discharge and to tighten and tone vaginal walls after childbirth. A decoction of the bark and/or leaves or a flower infusion is used topically for wounds, ulcers and skin sores. Flowers are also mashed and applied to painful eye conditions such as sun strain, conjunctivitis or eye injuries.

    Centuries ago, European adventurers, traders, and missionaries in the Amazon Basin took the much enjoyed and tasty fruits to Africa, Asia, India, and the Pacific tropical regions, so that it is now cultivated throughout the tropical regions of the world. Commercially the fruit is consumed fresh or used in the making of jams, jellies, paste or hardened jam, and juice. Guava leaves are in the Dutch Pharmacopoeia for the treatment of diarrhea, and the leaves are still used for diarrhea in Latin America, Central and West Africa, and Southeast Asia. In Peruvian herbal medicine systems today the plant is employed for diarrhea, gastroenteritis, intestinal worms, gastric disorders, vomiting, coughs, vaginal discharges, menstrual pain and hemorrhages, and edema. In Brazil guava is considered an astringent drying agent and diuretic and is used for the same conditions as in Peru. A decoction is also recommended as a gargle for sore throats, laryngitis and swelling of the mouth, and used externally for skin ulcers, and vaginal irritation and discharges.

    PLANT CHEMICALS

    Guava is rich in tannins, phenols, triterpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, saponins, carotenoids, lectins, vitamins, fiber and fatty acids. Guava fruit is higher in vitamin C than citrus (80 mg of vitamin C in 100 g of fruit) and contains appreciable amounts of vitamin A as well. Guava fruits are also a good source of pectin - a dietary fiber. The leaves of guava are rich in flavonoids, in particular, quercetin. Much of guava's therapeutic activity is attributed to these flavonoids. The flavonoids have demonstrated antibacterial activity. Quercetin is thought to contribute to the anti-diarrhea effect of guava; it is able to relax intestinal smooth muscle and inhibit bowel contractions. In addition, other flavonoids and triterpenes in guava leaves show antispasmodic activity. Guava also has antioxidant properties which is attributed to the polyphenols found in the leaves.

    Guava's main plant chemicals include: alanine, alpha-humulene, alpha-hydroxyursolic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, alpha-selinene, amritoside, araban, arabinose, arabopyranosides, arjunolic acid, aromadendrene, ascorbic acid, ascorbigen, asiatic acid, aspartic acid, avicularin, benzaldehyde, butanal, carotenoids, caryophyllene, catechol-tannins, crataegolic acid, D-galactose, D-galacturonic acid, ellagic acid, ethyl octanoate, essential oils, flavonoids, gallic acid, glutamic acid, goreishic acid, guafine, guavacoumaric acid, guaijavarin, guajiverine, guajivolic acid, guajavolide, guavenoic acid, guajavanoic acid, histidine, hyperin, ilelatifol D, isoneriucoumaric acid, isoquercetin, jacoumaric acid, lectins, leucocyanidins, limonene, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, lysine, mecocyanin, myricetin, myristic acid, nerolidiol, obtusinin, octanol, oleanolic acid, oleic acid, oxalic acid, palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, pectin, polyphenols, psidiolic acid, quercetin, quercitrin, serine, sesquiguavene, tannins, terpenes, and ursolic acid.

    BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH

    The long history of guava's use has led modern-day researchers to study guava extracts. Its traditional use for diarrhea, gastroenteritis and other digestive complaints has been validated in numerous clinical studies. A plant drug has even been developed from guava leaves (standardized to its quercetin content) for the treatment of acute diarrhea. Human clinical trials with the drug indicate its effectiveness in treating diarrhea in adults. Guava leaf extracts and fruit juice has also been clinically studied for infantile diarrhea. In a clinical study with 62 infants with infantile rotaviral enteritis, the recovery rate was 3 days (87.1%) in those treated with guava, and diarrhea ceased in a shorter time period than controls. It was concluded in the study that guava has "good curative effect on infantile rotaviral enteritis."

    Guava has many different properties that contribute to its antidiarrheal effect: it has been documented with pronounced antibacterial, antiamebic and antispasmodic activity. It has also shown to have a tranquilizing effect on intestinal smooth muscle, inhibit chemical processes found in diarrhea and aid in the re-absorption of water in the intestines. In other research, an alcoholic leaf extract was reported to have a morphine-like effect, by inhibiting the gastrointestinal release of chemicals in acute diarrheal disease. This morphine-like effect was thought to be related to the chemical quercetin. In addition, lectin chemicals in guava were shown to bind to E-coli (a common diarrhea-causing organism), preventing its adhesion to the intestinal wall and thus preventing infection (and resulting diarrhea).

    The effective use of guava in diarrhea, dysentery and gastroenteritis can also be related to guava's documented antibacterial properties. Bark and leaf extracts have shown to have in vitro toxic action against numerous bacteria. In several studies guava showed significant antibacterial activity against such common diarrhea-causing bacteria as Staphylococcus, Shigella, Salmonella, Bacillus, E. coli, Clostridium, and Pseudomonas. It has also demonstrated antifungal, anti-yeast (candida), anti-amebic, and antimalarial actions.

    In a recent study with guinea pigs (in 2003) Brazilian researchers reported that guava leaf extracts have numerous effects on the cardiovascular system which might be beneficial in treating irregular heat beat (arrhythmia). Previous research indicated guava leaf provided antioxidant effects beneficial to the heart, heart protective properties, and improved myocardial function. In two randomized human studies, the consumption of guava fruit for 12 weeks was shown to reduce blood pressure by an average 8 points, decrease total cholesterol levels by 9%, decrease triglycerides by almost 8%, and increase "good" HDL cholesterol by 8%. The effects were attributed to the high potassium and soluble fiber content of the fruit (however 1-2 pounds of fruit was consumed daily by the study subjects to obtain these results!). In other animal studies guava leaf extracts have evidenced analgesic, sedative, and central nervous system (CNS) depressant activity, as well as a cough suppressant actions. The fruit or fruit juice has been documented to lower blood sugar levels in normal and diabetic animals and humans. Most of these studies confirm the plant's many uses in tropical herbal medicine systems.

    CURRENT PRACTICAL USES

    Guava, known as the poor man's apple of the tropics, has a long history of traditional use, much of which is being validated by scientific research. It is a wonderful natural remedy for diarrhea - safe enough even for young children. For infants and children under the age of 2, just a cup daily of guava fruit juice is helpful for diarrhea. For older children and adults, a cup once or twice daily of a leaf decoction is the tropical herbal medicine standard. Though not widely available in the U.S. market, tea-cut and powdered leaves can be obtained from larger health food stores or suppliers of bulk botanicals. Newer in the market are guava leaf extracts that are used in various herbal formulas for a myriad of purposes; from herbal antibiotic and diarrhea formulas to bowel health and weight loss formulas. Toxicity studies with rats and mice, as well as controlled human studies show both the leaf and fruit to be safe and without side effects.


    GUAVA PLANT SUMMARY
    Main Preparation Method: decoction

    Main Actions (in order):
    antidysenteric, antiseptic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart)

    Main Uses:

    1. for dysentery (bacterial and amebic), diarrhea, colic, and infantile rotavirus enteritis
    2. as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial for internal and external bacterial, fungal, candidal, and amebic infections
    3. to tone, balance, protect and strengthen the heart (and for arrhythmia and some heart diseases)
    4. as a cough suppressant, analgesic (pain-reliever), and febrifuge (reduces fever) for colds, flu, sore throat, etc
    5. as a topical remedy for ear and eye infections
    Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
    amebicide, analgesic (pain-reliever), antibacterial, anticandidal, antidysenteric, antifungal, antimalarial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antiulcerous, cardiodepressant, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart), central nervous system depressant, cough suppressant, gastrototonic (tones, balances, strengthens the gastric tract), hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), sedative, vasoconstrictor

    Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
    anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant, antiseptic, astringent, blood cleanser, digestive stimulant, menstrual stimulant, nervine (balances/calms nerves), vermifuge (expels worms)

    Cautions: It has a cardiac depressant effect and is contraindicated in some heart conditions.


    Traditional Preparation: The fruit and juice is freely consumed for its great taste, nutritional benefit and nutrient content, as well as an effective children's diarrhea remedy. The leaves are prepared in a standard decoction and dosages are generally 1 cup 1-3 times daily.

    Contraindications:

    • Guava has recently demonstrated cardiac depressant activity and should be used with caution by those on heart medications.
    • Guava fruit has shown to lower blood sugar levels and it should be avoided by people with hypoglycemia.

    Drug Interactions: None reported, however excessive or chronic consumption of guava may potentiate some heart medications.



    WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
    Amazonia for diarrhea, dysentery, menstrual disorders, stomachache, vertigo
    Brazil for anorexia, cholera, diarrhea, digestive problems, dysentery, gastric insufficiency, inflamed mucous membranes, laryngitis, mouth(swelling), skin problems, sore throat, ulcers, vaginal discharge
    Cuba for colds, dysentery, dyspepsia
    Ghana coughs, diarrhea, dysentery, toothache
    Haiti for dysentery, diarrhea, epilepsy, itch, piles, scabies, skin sores, sore throat, stomachache, wounds, and as an antiseptic and astringent
    India for anorexia, cerebral ailments, childbirth, chorea, convulsions, epilepsy, nephritis
    Malaya for dermatosis, diarrhea, epilepsy, hysteria, menstrual disorders
    Mexico for deafness, diarrhea, itch, scabies, stomachache, swelling, ulcer, worms, wounds
    Peru for conjunctivitis, cough, diarrhea, digestive problems, dysentery, edema, gout, hemorrhages, gastroenteritis, gastritis, lung problems, PMS, shock, vaginal discharge, vertigo, vomiting, worms
    Philippines for sores, wounds, and as an astringent
    Trinidad bacterial infections, blood cleansing, diarrhea, dysentery
    Elsewhere for anorexia, aches, bacterial infections, boils, bowel disorders, bronchitis, catarrh, cholera, chorea, colds, colic, convulsions, coughs, diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia, edema, epilepsy, fever, gingivitis, hemorrhoids, itch, jaundice, menstrual problems, nausea, nephritis, respiratory problems, rheumatism, scabies, sore throat, spasms, sprains, stomach problems, swelling, tonic, toothache, ulcers, worms, wounds, and as an antiseptic and astringent


    References/Footnotes:

    • Conde Garcia, E. A., et al. “Inotropic effects of extracts of Psidium guajava L. (guava) leaves on the guinea pig atrium.” Braz. J. of Med. & Biol. Res. 2003; 36: 661-668.
    • Suntornsuk, L., et al. “Quantitation of vitamin C content in herbal juice using direct titration.” J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 2002; 28(5): 849-55.
    • Beckstrom-Sternberg, S. M., et al. “The phytochemical database.” (ACEDB version 4.3-Data version July 1994.) National Germplasm Resources Laboratory (NGRL), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    • Jimenez-Escrig, A., et al. “Guava fruit (Psidium guajava L.) as a new source of antioxidant dietary fiber.” J. Agric. Food Chem. 2001; 49(11): 5489-93.
    • Smith, Nigel J. H., et al. Tropical Forests and their Crops. London: Cornell University Press. 1992.
    • Arima, H., et al. “Isolation of antimicrobial compounds from guava (Psidium guajava L.) and their structural elucidation.” Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 2002; 66(8): 1727-30.
    • Morales, M. A., et al. “Calcium-antagonist effect of quercetin and its relation with the spasmolytic properties of Psidium guajava L.” Arch. Med. Res. 1994; 25(1): 17-21.
    • Lozoya, X., et al. “Quercetin glycosides in Psidium guajava L. leaves and determination of a spasmolytic principle.” Arch. Med. Res. 1994; 25(1): 11-5.
    • Begum, S., et al. “Triterpenoids from the leaves of Psidium guajava.” Phytochemistry 2002; 61(4): 399-403.
    • Lozoya, X., et al. “Intestinal anti-spasmodic effect of a phytodrug of Psidium guajava folia in the treatment of acute diarrheic disease.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2002; 83(1-2): 19-24.
    • Wei, L., et al. “Clinical study on treatment of infantile rotaviral enteritis with Psidium guajava L.” Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi 2000; 20(12): 893-5.
    • Tona, L., et al. “Biological screening of traditional preparations from some medicinal plants used as antidiarrhoeal in Kinshasa, Congo.” Phytomedicine 1999; 6(1): 59-66.
    • Lozoya, X., et al. “Model of intraluminal perfusion of the guinea pig ileum in vitro in the study of the antidiarrheal properties of the guava (Psidium guajava).” Arch. Invest. Med. (Mex). 1990; 21(2): 155-62.
    • Almeida, C. E., et al. “Analysis of antidiarrhoeic effect of plants used in popular medicine.” Rev. Saude Publica. 1995; 29(6): 428-33.
    • Lin, J., et al. “Anti-diarrhoeal evaluation of some medicinal plants used by Zulu traditional healers.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2002; 79(1): 53-6.
    • Lutterodt, G. D. “Inhibition of Microlax-induced experimental diarrhea with narcotic-like extracts of Psidium guajava leaf in rats.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1992; 37(2): 151-7.
    • Lutterodt, G. D. “Inhibition of gastrointestinal release of acetylcholine by quercetin as a possible mode of action of Psidium guajava leaf extracts in the treatment of acute diarrhoeal disease.” J. Ethnopharmcol. 1989; 25(3): 235-47.
    • Coutino-Rodriguez, R., et al, “Lectins in fruits having gastrointestinal activity: their participation in the hemagglutinating property of Escherichia coli O157:H7.” Arch. Med. Res. 2001; 32(4): 251-7.
    • Abdelrahim, S. I., et al. “Antimicrobial activity of Psidium guajava L.” Fitoterapia 2002; 73(7-8): 713-5.
    • Holetz, F. B., et al. “Screening of some plants used in the Brazilian folk medicine for the treatment of infectious diseases.” Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz 2002; 97(7): 1027-31.
    • Caceres, A., et al. “Plants used in Guatemala for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. 1. Screening of 84 plants against enterobacteria.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1990; 30(1): 55-73.
    • Garcia, S., et al, “Inhibition of growth, enterotoxin production, and spore formation of Clostridium perfringens by extracts of medicinal plants.” J. Food Prot. 2002; 65(10): 1667-9.
    • Tona, L., et al. “Antiamoebic and spasmolytic activities of extracts from some antidiarrhoeal traditional preparations used in Kinshasa, Congo.” Phytomedicine 2000; 7(1): 31-8.
    • Tona, L., et al. “Antiamoebic and phytochemical screening of some Congolese medicinal plants.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1998; 61(1): 57-65.
    • Nundkumar, N., et al. “Studies on the antiplasmodial properties of some South African medicinal plants used as antimalarial remedies in Zulu folk medicine.” Methods Find Exp. Clin. Pharmacol. 2002; 24(7): 397-401.
    • Yamashiro, S., et al. “Cardioprotective effects of extracts from Psidium guajava L. and Limonium wrigth II, Okinawan medicinal plants, against ischemia-reperfusion injury in perfused rat hearts.” Pharmacology 2003; 67(3): 128-35.
    • Singh, R. B., et al. “Can guava fruit intake decrease blood pressure and blood lipids?” J. Hum Hypertens. 1993; 7(1): 33-8.
    • Singh, R. B., et al. “Effects of guava intake on serum total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and on systemic blood pressure.” Am. J. Cardiol. 1992; 70(15): 1287-91.
    • Shaheen, H. M., et al. “Effect of Psidium guajava leaves on some aspects of the central nervous system in mice.” Phytother. Res. 2000; 14(2): 107-11.
    • Lutterodt, G. D., et al. “Effects on mice locomotor activity of a narcotic-like principle from Psidium guajava leaves.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1988; 24(2-3): 219-31.
    • Jaiarj, P., et al. “Anticough and antimicrobial activities of Psidium guajava Linn. leaf extract.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1999; 67(2): 203-12.
    • Cheng, J. T., et al. “Hypoglycemic effect of guava juice in mice and human subjects.” Am. J. Clin. Med. 1983; 11(1-4): 74-6.
    • Roman-Ramos, R., et al. "Anti-hyperglycemic effect of some edible plants." J. Ethnopharmacol. 1995.


    The above text has been printed from The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs 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.




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