The Health Benefits of Guavas

April 1, 2008


Brief History of Guavas

The guava is believed to have originated in the area that is now Central America and Mexico. Spanish and Portuguese explorers introduced the guava to the East Indies and it soon became a popular crop in India and Asia.

In Taino (pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas) mythology, the spirits of the dead were believed to hide away during the day and come out at night to eat guavas.

Today the guava is a common fruit throughout tropical America, Asia and in the warmer parts of Africa, and is one of Mexico’s biggest fruit crops.

Nutrients in Guavas

The pulp and the peel of the guava are a remarkable source of natural antioxidants and AODF (antioxidant dietary fiber), a combination of the properties of antioxidants and dietary fiber from a single source. The antioxidant properties of the skin are ten times higher than that of the pulp. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant known for its protective action against prostate cancer, and is found in guavas, tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon. An in vitro study of the “Horana Red” variety of guava showed the lycopene content to be greater than that of the “Sugar Baby” variety of watermelon. In addition to lycopene, guavas are also an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamin C, with 228mg/100g of vitamin C as opposed to 53mg/100g in oranges. Guava leaf extracts have also been shown to contain high levels of antioxidants, and has been found to enhance male fertility in a study in rats.Guavas are a very good source of Vitamin A.

Guavas, common, raw Nutritional value per
100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 68 kcal (285 kJ)
* Carbohydrates 14.32 g
Dietary fiber 5.4 g
* Fat 0.95 g
* Protein 2.55 g
* Vitamin A 624 IU
Carotene, beta 374 mcg
Lycopene 5204 mcg
* Folate (Vit. B9) 49 mcg
* Vitamin C 228.3 mg
* Calcium 18 mg
* Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 417 mg
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition Database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.

Guavas for Cholesterol Reduction

A study from the Heart Research Laboratory in India demonstrated that people who ate five to nine guavas a day for three months reduced their cholesterol levels by 10 percent, triglycerides by 8 percent, and blood pressure by 9.0/8.0 mm Hg, while boosting their “good” cholesterol (HDL) by 8 percent.

Foods such as guavas that are high in pectins appear to lower the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood, perhaps by forming a gel in your stomach that sops up fats and keeps them from being absorbed by the body.

Guavas for Cancer Prevention

The anti-proliferative activity of guava leaf oil on mouth cancer is 4.37 times more potent than Vincristine, a cancer drug.

Guavas are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene, and several studies support a reduction in prostate cancer risk associated with high lycopene consumption.

Lycopene also inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells. Studies in mice have shown that it suppresses breast tumors.

Guava Leaf Extract as an Anti Inflammatory

Preliminary studies on the anti inflammatory properties of guava leaf extract have indicated that the extract is involved with the inhibition of iNOS and COX-2 (inflammatory agents). It is speculated that the numerous chemical compounds present in the plant are responsible for the anti inflammatory effects of the leaf extract.

Guava Leaf Extract for Acne

Thirty-eight men and women with various types of acne participated in a study that concluded that guava leaf extract to be beneficial in treating acne.

Guava Leaf Extract as a Cough Remedy

The anti cough activity of guava leaf extract has been evaluated in rats and guinea pigs. The results suggest that guava leaf extract is recommended as a cough remedy.

Guava Leaf Extract for Diarrhea

Essential oil guava leaf extracts have been tested and shown to inhibit the diarrhea causing bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli, and that the use of guava leaf extracts can be a feasible treatment in diarrhea cases where access to commercial antibiotics is restricted.

A randomized, double-blinded, clinical study performed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a phytodrug developed from guava leaves for the treatment of adult patients with acute diarrhea showed that the used guava product decreased the duration of abdominal pain in these patients.

Guavas for Dental Health

Guaijaverin, a flavanoid compound present in guavas inhibits the growth of Streptococcus mutans, which is considered to be a pathogen for dental caries.

Guavas for Diabetes

The guava is an important medicinal plant in tropical and subtropical countries and is widely used in folk medicine. Many pharmacological studies have demonstrated the ability of this plant to exhibit anti diabetic activities, supporting its traditional uses.

Significant blood glucose lowering effects of guava leaf extract has been observed in a mouse study. The study results suggest that the guava leaf extract possesses anti diabetic effect in type 2 diabetes.

1. Fruits of Warm Climates by Julia F. Morton.
2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
4. Jiménez-Escrig A, Rincón M, Pulido R, Saura-Calixto F. Guava fruit (Psidium guajava L.) as a new source of antioxidant dietary fiber. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Nov;49(11):5489-93. PMID: 11714349.
5. Marquina V, Araujo L, Ruíz J, Rodríguez-Malaver A, Vit P. [Composition and antioxidant capacity of the guava (Psidium guajava L.) fruit, pulp and jam] Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2008 Mar;58(1):98-102. PMID: 18589579.
6. Chandrika UG, Fernando KS, Ranaweera KK. Carotenoid content and in vitro bioaccessibility of lycopene from guava (Psidium guajava) and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) by high-performance liquid chromatography diode array detection. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2008 Jun 18:1-9. PMID: 18608542.
7. Qian H, Nihorimbere V. Antioxidant power of phytochemicals from Psidium guajava leaf. J Zhejiang Univ Sci. 2004 Jun;5(6):676-83. PMID: 15101101.
8. Akinola OB, Oladosu OS, Dosumu OO. Spermatoprotective activity of the leaf extract of Psidium guajava Linn. Niger Postgrad Med J. 2007 Dec;14(4):273-6. PMID: 18163132.
9. Choi SY, Hwang JH, Park SY, Jin YJ, Ko HC, Moon SW, Kim SJ. Fermented guava leaf extract inhibits LPS-induced COX-2 and iNOS expression in Mouse macrophage cells by inhibition of transcription factor NF-kappaB. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul 10;22(8):1030-1034. PMID: 18618521.
10. Ojewole JA. Antiinflammatory and analgesic effects of Psidium guajava Linn. (Myrtaceae) leaf aqueous extract in rats and mice. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Sep;28(7):441-6. PMID: 17003849.
11. Gonçalves FA, Andrade Neto M, Bezerra JN, Macrae A, Sousa OV, Fonteles-Filho AA, Vieira RH. Antibacterial activity of GUAVA, Psidium guajava Linnaeus, leaf extracts on diarrhea-causing enteric bacteria isolated from Seabob shrimp, Xiphopenaeus kroyeri (Heller). Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2008 Jan-Feb;50(1):11-5. PMID: 18327481.
12. Qadan F, Thewaini AJ, Ali DA, Afifi R, Elkhawad A, Matalka KZ. The antimicrobial activities of Psidium guajava and Juglans regia leaf extracts to acne-developing organisms. Am J Chin Med. 2005;33(2):197-204. PMID: 15974479.
13. Vieira RH, Rodrigues DP, Gonçalves FA, Menezes FG, Aragão JS, Sousa OV. Microbicidal effect of medicinal plant extracts (Psidium guajava Linn. and Carica papaya Linn.) upon bacteria isolated from fish muscle and known to induce diarrhea in children. Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2001 May-Jun;43(3):145-8. PMID: 11452322.
14. Rosa Martha Pérez Gutiérrez, et al. Psidium guajava: A review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 117, Issue 1, 17 April 2008, Pages 1-27. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.01.025
15. Prabu GR, Gnanamani A, Sadulla S. Guaijaverin — a plant flavonoid as potential antiplaque agent against Streptococcus mutans. J Appl Microbiol. 2006 Aug;101(2):487-95. PMID: 16882158.
16. Oh WK, Lee CH, Lee MS, Bae EY, Sohn CB, Oh H, Kim BY, Ahn JS. Antidiabetic effects of extracts from Psidium guajava. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan 15;96(3):411-5. PMID: 15619559. 17. Pranee Jaiarj, et al. Anticough and antimicrobial activities of Psidium guajava Linn. leaf extract. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 67, Issue 2, November 1999, Pages 203-212. doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(99)00022-7 18. Xavier Lozoya, et al. Intestinal anti-spasmodic effect of a phytodrug of Psidium guajava folia in the treatment of acute diarrheic disease. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 83, Issues 1-2, November 2002, Pages 19-24. doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00185-X 19. Jonny Bowden. The 150 healthiest foods on earth.

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  1. Girmay Amaha

    August 12, 2011 at 4:34 am

    Dear Sirs,
    Can any one or you elaborate further what leaf extract means? such as the type (tender, older or any other stage), preparation method, daily dose etc for a better use and understanding.

    • neelam

      September 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm

      Take fresh leaves of guava tree. Wash them nicely and grind them in a mixer grinder. Extract the juice by putting the crushed leaves in a muslin cloth. The juice is used accordingly….I Do not have any idea if it can be preserved or not.

    • David C. Sablan

      September 23, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      This is my way of “leaf extract” processing and use / consumption. Pick fresh tender leaves or any stage of the leave and completely dry the leaves at least one week under direct sun-light. Crumble the crispy dried leaves and mixed it with green tea and drink it daily or as you need it.

  2. Cathy

    November 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    For lazy people like me… Eat fresh immature raw guava leaves when you pass by a guava tree. Especially who always forgot to get their dry leaves in the outside and in their pocket….

  3. Chinenye loveth ogbaji

    February 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Please what are the main composition of this guava leaf that made it a blood boosting plant?

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