Guava is one of the most popular fruits grown around the world, with India being the global leader and Mexico coming in second. In the United States, Hawaii is the state with the highest production, with a total harvest of 1.7 million pounds in 2014 alone.1
Experts believe that guava came from Southern Mexico all the way through Central America. Early Spanish colonizers in America helped spread the fruit globally by bringing it to the East Indies and Guam.2
The fruit of the common guava has a yellow skin with white, yellow or pink flesh, along with small, hard seeds. The tree produces quadrangular branches, with oval to oblong leaves that are 3 inches long. Common products made from guava include jams, jellies and preserves.3
While the fruit is a popular snack around the world, did you know that you can benefit from the leaves as well? Guava leaves are known for their antioxidants and other constituents that can help boost your well-being, and the easiest way to achieve that is by making guava leaf tea.
What Is Guava Leaf Tea?
Guava leaf tea is a beverage made by boiling the leaves in water, which helps release their nutrients. One of the traditional uses of this tea is for antidiabetic therapies,4 although other folk uses include helping relieve cough, rheumatism and mouth ulcers. The leaves can be utilized topically as well, depending on the illness.5
While oral tradition may provide insightful information, published scientific evidence from reputable journals is the best way to ascertain if guava leaves are actually good for you. In the next section, you can read about the different ways guava leaves can benefit your health.
Guava Leaf Tea Benefits You Should Know About
Guava leaves and guava leaf tea have been studied extensively by various publications. This part of the plant has shown to be a nutrient powerhouse that can provide a wide array of health benefits. Some notable examples include helping:
• Lower blood sugar levels — Diabetes is a condition wherein your blood sugar level is higher than normal. If it stays that way for an extended period, your body will begin to experience various health complications, such as heart disease, stroke and nerve damage.6
Diabetics may greatly benefit from the leaves of the guava plant. Various studies indicate that either guava leaf tea or guava leaf extract helped reduce blood sugar levels, and that guava leaves can be a useful alternative treatment for the disease.7,8,9
• Eliminate the flu virus — The flu virus constantly mutates as it passes from one person to another due to genetic changes. As a result, you can get sick again because your immune system may not recognize the virus.10 However, there’s promising research showing that guava tea may work as an effective antiviral agent.
In one study published in the Antiviral Research journal, researchers noted that guava tea is 3.4 to 5.4 times more potent than green tea in eliminating pandemic influenza viruses. They concluded that:11
“Guava tea shows promise to be efficacious for control of epidemic and pandemic influenza viruses including oseltamivir-resistant strains, and its broad target blockage makes it less likely to lead to emergence of viral resistance.”
• Fight oxidative stress — Guava leaf extracts have been found to help eliminate free radicals throughout your body. In a 2007 study, researchers noted that 93.4 to 96.2 percent of linoleic acid oxidation was inhibited by administering guava tea and leaf extracts.12
• Lower cholesterol levels — Cholesterol is an essential substance needed by your body to produce healthy cells. However, having too much of it can predispose you to atherosclerosis— this is the accumulation of cholesterol deposits on your arteries, which can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.13 Drinking guava leaf tea may help curb this problem.
In a study published by Japanese authors in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, guava leaf extract has been found to have antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic effects. They noted that:14
“Many Japanese consumers have taken the commercially available tea and are likely to maintain good health. The consecutive ingestion of Guava Leaf Tea with every meal is expected to benefit prediabetic and diabetic patients as an alimentotherapy in both developed and developing countries.”
• Suppress appetite — Adult obesity is an ever-increasing problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 93.3 million Americans, or 39.8 percent of the total population, are obese, with related medical costs totaling up to $147 billion.15
If you’re overweight and having difficulties avoiding consuming excess calories, guava leaf tea may benefit you. Results from a 2017 study showed that extracts from guava leaves helped inhibit lipase and α-glycosidase, which may help curb obesity.16
• Ease diarrhea — Common digestive diseases such as bacterial diarrhea stem from contaminated food or water, causing loose stools that may last for a couple of days, as well as abdominal pain.17 Guava leaves may help with this regard.
A 2008 study notes that guava leaves contain antispasmodic and antibacterial properties that may help reduce the symptoms of not only diarrhea, but also dysentery.18 In another study, researchers noted that extracts from guava leaves may be an effective agent against diarrhea caused by simian rotavirus.19
• Manage inflammation — Inflammation is your immune system’s response to pathogens and other stimuli to help fight against disease and infection. When this happens, you may experience swelling, pain and heat in the affected area. However, there are cases when inflammation is too much, and your health suffers as a result. Arthritis, for example, is an inflammatory condition that severely affects your quality of life.20
A study published in the International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences states that extracts obtained from guava leaves possess anti-inflammatory properties that may help relieve symptoms of inflammation-related conditions such as acne, bronchitis and asthma.21
• Manage dengue fever — Dengue fever is one of the most common viral diseases around the world that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no cure for this virus, so treatment relies on the management of symptoms, as neglect can lead to fatalities.22 One study indicates that guava leaves are effective in helping increase your blood platelet count, which may help avoid bleeding. A drop in blood platelet count is a hallmark symptom of dengue fever.23
• Lower the risk of cancer — Guava leaves have been found to have anticancer activity, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. Scientists have found that guava leaves are able to suppress the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and other molecular mechanisms related to cancer. Overall, 60 compounds have been identified to be responsible for the cancer-fighting abilities of guava that may be effective in prevention as well as treatment.24
• Relieve symptoms of menstruation — In some women, menstruation causes uncomfortable symptoms such as back pain, fatigue and abdominal cramps that may hamper their daily routine.25 Many home remedies exist out there that are effective, but if you’re looking to add more to your repertoire, guava tea may be a good choice.
A 2007 study notes that a daily 6-milligram dose of guava extract helped significantly reduce menstrual pain compared to traditional drugs like ibuprofen.26
• Boost cardiovascular system — Guava leaf extracts have been associated with improved endothelial cell health, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Researchers remarked that the extracts helped inhibit the glycation of proteins that may have damaging effects to endothelial cells.27
• Kill drug-resistant bacteria — Guava leaf extracts have been found to be an effective alternative to eliminating drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterial strain responsible for various infections. Even better, researchers were able to prove that guava leaf extracts are able to fight multidrug-resistant variations of staph bacteria.28
Guava Leaves Do Not Have Caffeine
Guava tea does not contain caffeine, so people who are allergic or sensitive to this substance can enjoy the tea without any side effects.29 Real “teas” that contain caffeine are those that are made from the Camellia sinensis plant.30
Grow Your Own Guava Tree to Make the Best Guava Leaf Tea
Now that you know what the leaves of the guava plant can do for your health, isn’t it time that you enjoyed the benefits for yourself? But before you get leaves of your own from the local store, it’s better to grow your own guava plant. Not only will you have your own fresh supplies of guava fruits and leaves whenever you need them, you will have a tree that will help add to your garden’s aesthetic appeal. Here are some tips to follow when planting a guava tree.
- The first thing to remember when growing guava is preparing the seeds via germination. Soak the seeds in water for two weeks or place them in a pot of boiling water for five minutes. This will soften the coating on the seeds.31
- The next step is preparing your soil. Guavas are adaptable to most environments, but thrive best when the ground is well-drained.32
- The plant must also have full sun exposure at all times. When winter comes, move the plant inside to protect the leaves, but still placed in the brightest location possible.
- Water the plant regularly during the growing season, but reduce during winter.33
Make sure the seeds have ample room to grow, as the tree can reach up to 20 feet high.34 Patience is also required when growing guavas, as it can take around three years before they begin to bear fruit, keeping in mind that optimal growing conditions are met and maintained.35 There are various guava types to choose from. Some of the most popular include:36
• Red Malaysian — Known for its red color, the Red Malaysian is generally grown due to its aesthetic appeal thanks to its characteristic pink flowers and red-tinted leaves. The fruits possess the same color as well.
• Tropical White — As the name implies, this guava type is popular due to its white-fleshed fruit. It is also known for its yellow skin and pleasant aroma.
• Mexican Cream — Another white-fleshed variety, Mexican cream is renowned for its creamy and sweet flavor that is commonly used in desserts.
• Strawberry Guava — This type produces fruits that look and taste similar to strawberries.
• Lemon Guava — The fruit of this guava type has a similar taste and look to lemon.
• Detwiler — The only variety that produces yellow flesh.
Try This Simple Guava Leaf Tea Recipe for a Start
Guava leaf tea is one of the easiest ways to reap health benefits from the plant. All you need are a handful of leaves and boiling water. Once your tree has fully grown, follow these instructions:37
How to Make Guava Leaf Tea
- Six guava leaves, plucked fresh from the tree
- 1 liter (a little over 1 quart) water
- Raw honey (optional)
- Pick six fresh guava leaves and wash them thoroughly.
- Boil the leaves in 1 liter of water.
- After boiling for 10 minutes, pour the water through a filter.
- Add a dash of honey for flavor and added health benefits.
Guava Tea Side Effects Are Practically Nonexistent
There’s very little information regarding the dangers of consuming guava or drinking guava tea. In general, the plant is good for most people, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.38 When consuming the fruit, however, be sure to do so in moderation as the sweet varieties contain fructose that may overpower the health benefits when consumed in excess.
Guava Leaf Tea May Be One of the Best Beverages You Can Enjoy
Adding guava leaf tea to your beverage list is one of the best things you can do for your health. As the research has already shown, the drink can benefit your health in numerous ways, such as managing blood sugar and cholesterol levels. However, patience is needed when planting your own guava tree as it can take years to fully mature. If you’d like to have fresh leaves right away, look for a reputable source that doesn’t use pesticides or other chemicals to protect your health.
Frequently Asked Questions About Guava Leaf Tea
Q: What do guava leaves cure?
A: Guava leaves may help boost your health in various ways. In one study, researchers found that the leaves may help fight against oxidative stress.39 Guava leaves can also help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for diabetics.40
Q: Is guava leaf good for hair growth?
A: Yes, guava leaf can be a good agent for promoting hair growth. It is rich in vitamin C, a nutrient that can help boost the production of collagen, a protein found in human hair and skin.41
Q: Is guava tea good for diabetics?
A: Yes, drinking guava leaf tea may be beneficial for diabetics. One study notes that the tea helped lower blood sugar levels after a meal, with the effect lasting for two hours.42
Q: Is guava harmful?
A: Guava is generally good for your health. Pregnant and breastfeeding women can eat the fruit as well, but stick with moderate amounts for safety reasons.43
Q: Does guava reduce weight?
A: Guava leaf tea can be part of a healthy weight management plan, according to a study published in Food Research International.44