Guava (Amrood): Health Benefits and Useful Properties
Guava is one of the most delicious fruits available at a reasonable price throughout the year. It is botanically known as Psidium gaujava and locally by different names such as Amrud, Peru, Piyara, Koyya, Sede Pandu etc. Processed products of guava include jams, jellies and nectar. It's leaves are used for tanning and dyeing.
Allahabad Safeda is the most popular variety of the guava cultivated in India. Other common varieties grown by the farmers are ‘Chittidar,’ ‘Sardar,’ ‘Seedless’and ‘Red Fleshed’. Guava is believed to be introduced in India in the seventeen century and tropical America is reported to be the place of origin due to the presence of wild forms. Seeds of the guava fruit contain oil (5-12%) rich in essential fatty acids. Fruits of the guava may be dried to powder form. Beverages are also made from the guava juice and guava pulp.
The nutritional properties of the Guava fruit:
The fruit is one of the richest source of vitamin C (212 mg/100 g fruit). The quantity of vitamin C increases with the maturity of fruit. The fruit contains fairly large quantities of useful minerals like phosphorus (20-30 mg/100 g fruit) and calcium ( 20-210 mg/100 g fruit ) depending on the variety
The seeds of guava fruits are very rich in an orange-yellow colored aromatic oil (14%) that contains considerable amounts of iodine. Some of varieties produce fruits rich in potassium and carotene while others lack these useful constituents.
The medicinal properties of the Guava:
Guava leaves and bark are used traditionally as a disinfectant and antiseptic for dressing wounds and sores. A decoction of guava leaves is used for relieving tooth-ache and gum boils when used for gargling while flowers of guava are used for treating bronchitis.
The Guava fresh leaf extract (decoction) is used to treat digestive disorders like diarrhea and vomiting whereas application of powdered leaves is believed to have soothing effect in rheumatic pains.
The fruit helps reduce high blood pressure due to presence of potassium in good quantities that reverses the effects of sodium and increase the good cholesterol.
Copper found in appreciable quantities is regarded useful in promoting thyroid functions and regulation of hormones.
Consumption of guava is considered helpful for diabetics due to fibrous nature of its fruit. It slows down the sugar absorption and lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Consumption of guava fruit helps people suffering from constipation. There are reports related to use of guava fruit as a home remedy by individuals experiencing chronic digestion problems.
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It is used as a constituent of several home remedies and folk medicines. Its juice is believed to expedite labor and as an antidote for sea sickness.Presence of manganese in good quantity makes it promoter of bone
The guava leaf extract is effective in treating gastrointestinal due to the presence of quercetin and other flavonoids. The bark extract protects the heart and improve its functionality. It is also used to treat acne and painful menses.
Guava is considered useful for eyes due to richness in vitamin A, good for nourishment of skin because of availability of vitamin E, antioxidants etc. and helpful in skin protection since guava is rich in vitamin C.
Presence of vitamins of B groups (B3 & B6) makes the guava fruit very useful for optimization and stimulation of brain and nerve function. Guava is believed to reduce risk of cancer due to richness in vitamin C.
Guava bark is used medically as an astringent and to treat diarrhea in children. The flowers are used to treat bronchitis, eye sores and to cool the body. Various uses of the fruit includes its use as a tonic, laxative. Fruit is also used to prevent and treat scurvy and for the treatment of bleeding gums.
Use of the plant in treating malaria also finds mention in few reports. Guava leaf tea is commonly used as a medicine against gastroenteritis (dysentry) and child diarrhea. Juice of guava leaves provides relief from cold and cough by reducing the formation of mucus.
© 2009 C V Singh
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