Since the early fifties keen interest has been elicited about Guava especially the leaves. Efforts were made to identify the ingredients which are effective in various medicinal properties exhibited by Guava leaves. Guava leaves are used in various native medicines used. guava leaves contain ingredients which have a role to play in various ailments such as cancer, Infections, inflammation, and pain. Essential oil of guava leaves have been particularly effective in improving the prognosis of cancer and other immunological diseases.
Guava leaves have been used in treating diarrhea and the bark is used for its microbicidal and astringent action. The leaves and bark is also used in dysentry and diabetes. Guava originated in Peru and archaeological excavations have revealed that it was cultivated by the indigenous people. The tree is wide spread in the rain forests and therefore has a long history of its use by the natives of these rain forests and they are still used in modern times.
A decoction of the leaves and the bark are used by the Tikuna natives for dysentry. The treatment is so effective that it is being used by the inhabitants of the cities also. The Amazon Indians also use the leaves extract for diarrhea and as a gargle for sore throat, emesis, digestive ailments, and menstrual disorders. The leaves are also used as a mouth freshener and relief from tooth aches. The leaves extract is also used as a douche for candidiasis and for the tightening of the vaginal walls especially after child birth. Leaves are crushed and applied on wounds and bruises. Flowers are crushed and the extract is used as eye drops to alleviate the pain and burning during conjunctivitis or sun strain. The benefits of Guava leaves have also been mentioned in the old Dutch pharmacopia. The fruit was taken to other parts of the world by the Dutch and other explorers. In modern days guava’s are found in most parts of the world.
Guavas are rich in saponins, carotenoids, lectins, flavonoids, essential oils, vitamins, tannins, phenols, triterpenes, fiber and fatty acids. It is also a rich source of Vitamin C many times greater than oranges. It also has moderate quantity of Vitamin A. The leaves are particularly rich in flavonoids like Quercetin. Much of the medicinal properties of guava are attributed to these flavonoids. Flavonoids are also responsible for the anti-bacterial activity of Guava leaves. Quercetin is also responsible for the anti diarrheal action of Guava leaves since it relaxes the smooth muscles of the GI tract and also inhibits the bowel contractions.