Rainforest Plants – Guava

Family: Myrtaceae

Genus: Psidium

Species: guajava

Common name: guava, goiaba, guayaba, djamboe, djambu, goavier, gouyave, goyave

General Description: The guava tree is easily identified by its distinctive thin, smooth, copper-colored bark that flakes off, showing a greenish layer beneath. Guava trees can reach 20 meters high with tennis ball-sized fruits that possess yellow to green skin with a bright pink, fleshy meat inside.

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. Flavonoids, as a group, have demonstrated antibacterial activity. Quercetin, in addition to it’s antibacterial properties, is also thought to contribute to the anti-diarrhea effect of guava by relaxing intestinal smooth muscle and inhibiting bowel contractions.

Location: 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.

Uses: Commercially the fruit is consumed fresh or used in the making of jams, jellies, pastes, and juice. 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 sprout throughout the rainforest.

Disclaimer: The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Any reference to medicinal use is not intended to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.

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