….Sixteen benefits of guava leaves
This time, on our visit to nature’s pharmacy, we shall be talking about guava leaves. Owing to the side effects resulting from the usage of medicines, herbal medicines are increasingly considered for the treatment of various diseases and guava leaf is one of them.
Guava leaves are just as medicinally useful as the nutritional power-house fruits that they nourish. The leaves of the guava tree are full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, antibacterials and even tannins that can have significant health benefits from treating stomach troubles to chronic diseases like cancer.
The young leaves of the guava tree can be brewed to make a magical tea that has in fact been part of traditional medicine for centuries in Mexico and parts of South America.
In a study of people with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, those who drank guava leaf tea with every meal for 12 weeks had lower fasting blood sugar levels than before they started drinking the tea.
When it comes to skincare, guava leaves can greatly help in improving your skin. They contain antioxidants which destroy the free radicals that damage the skin, thus protecting the skin from aging as well as improving skin tone and texture. Guavas have high astringent properties and guava leaves rank even higher.
Japan has approved guava leaf tea as one of the foods to help with the prevention and treatment of diabetes. The compounds in the tea help regulate blood sugar levels after meals by inhibiting the absorption of two types of sugars- sucrose and maltose. According to an article published in nutrition and metabolism, guava leaf tea inhibits different enzymes that convert carbohydrate in the digestive tract into glucose, potentially slowing its uptake into the blood.
According to Bangalore-based nutritionist, Dr Anju Sood, guava leaf tea helps boost the immune system, thereby reducing the risk of various illnesses.
They are useful in treating gastrointestinal issues because they reduce the production of extra mucus that can irritate the digestive system and prevent further microbial growth in the intestines.
Guava leaves contain vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), which help in improving blood circulation to the brain, stimulating cognitive function and relaxing the nerves.
I know how it tastes – it is bitter. Whenever I am making guava leaf tea and it coincides with when I have pineapples, I boil the guava leaves with pineapple peels to sweeten it. Yes, you heard me right. Don’t ever throw your pineapple peels away because they are loaded with nutrients! However, you must wash the pineapple thoroughly before peeling.
Let us look at some of the benefits of guava leaves:
Aids in weight loss: Guava leaves aid in weight loss by preventing the complex starches from being converted into sugars. For this purpose, the carbohydrates must be broken down in the liver for use by the body and guava leaves prevent the transition of carbohydrates to usable compounds.
Beneficial for diabetics: According to research conducted by the Yakult Central Institute in Japan, guava leaf tea can effectively lower blood glucose in diabetics by reducing the alpha-glucosidase enzyme activity. Moreover, it prevents the absorption of sucrose and maltose by the body, thereby lowering blood sugar levels. Drinking guava leaf tea for 12 weeks lowers the blood sugar levels without increasing insulin production.
Lowers cholesterol: Research has proven that drinking guava leaf tea for three months can lead to reduction in low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol and triglycerides without any adverse effect on good cholesterol. Besides, guava leaves are a great liver tonic.
Diarrhoea: According to a study published in the Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de Sao Paulo, guava leaf extracts inhibit the growth of staphylococcus aureus bacteria, a common cause of diarrhoea. People suffering from diarrhoea who drink guava leaf tea may experience less abdominal pain, fewer and less watery stools and a quicker recovery.
Aids digestion: Guava leaf tea aids in digestion by stimulating digestive enzyme production. The powerful antibacterial agents kill bacteria in the lining of the gut and stop the proliferation of toxic enzymes by bacterias. Guava leaves are particularly beneficial in case of food poisoning as well as soothing vomiting and nausea.
Treatment of bronchitis: Guava leaf tea is effective in treating bronchitis by opening up the lungs, loosening mucus and soothing coughs.
Treatment of toothaches, sore throats and gum disease: Due to their anti-inflammatory qualities, fresh guava leaves can relieve toothache, heal gum and mouth sores and treat sore throats when used for gargling. The anti-bacterial agent in these leaves protect the teeth and gums. The leaves are used as an ingredient in toothpastes and mouth fresheners. It can even be made into a natural paste at home for brushing the teeth and gums.
Beneficial in Dengue fever: Guava leaves are considered a natural remedy for dengue fever. This is because guava leaf extract can increase the number of platelets in the blood and it is not toxic at all.
Fights cancer: Guava leaves can lower the risk of cancer especially breast, prostate, and oral cancers due to high quantities of the antioxidant lycopene. Various studies have revealed that lycopene plays a significant role in lowering the risk of cancer.
Reduction of allergies: Guava leaves prevent the release of histamine. Moreover, the compounds found in guava leaves are effective in blocking all allergic reactions.
Sperm production: Consumption of guava leaf tea has proven to be effective in increasing sperm production, thus helping with conception.
Treatment of wounds and infections: Guava leaves have great healing properties that can treat wounds such as cuts, impact abrasion etc. The antibacterial agents prevent infection and reduce inflammation. This accelerates the healing of wounds.
Treatment of acne and black spots: Acne and black spots are quite annoying as they adversely affect the appearance of your skin. Guava leaves are effective in eliminating acne and black spots from the skin. They contain an antiseptic that can kill acne-causing bacteria.
Natural remedy for hair Loss: To stop hair loss, boil a handful of guava leaves in a litre of water for around 20 minutes. After cooling, apply it on your scalp and massage rigorously.
Improves quality of sleep: “Drinking guava leaf tea regularly helps improve quality of sleep”, says Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager at Baidyanath Clinic in Bapa Nagar, Delhi. He adds that the tea calms the nerves and quietens the mind, making it easier to fall into slumber.
Heals cold and cough: Guava leaves contain high levels of Vitamin C and iron and a decoction of guava leaves is helpful in relieving cough and cold as it helps get rid of mucus. It also disinfects the respiratory tract, throat and lungs.
Make sure the leaves you will use have not been treated with pesticides. To remove pesticides from your leaves, you need a solution of 10 per cent white vinegar to 90 per cent water. Make the mixture and let the leaves sit in for 15 to 20 minutes. Then rinse well in clean water.
By Olufunke Faluyi