Guava

Botanical Name :Psidium guajava
Family: Myrtaceae
Subfamily: Myrtoideae
Tribe: Myrteae
Genus: Psidium
Species: P. guajava
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales

Common Name :Guava,known as Goiaba in Brazil and Guayava in parts of The Americas.

The term “guava” appears to derive from Arawak guayabo “guava tree”, via the Spanish guayaba. It has been adapted in many European languages: goiaba (Portuguese), guava (Romanian, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, also Greek  and Russian , Guave (Dutch and German), goyave (French), gujawa (Polish), koejawel (Afrikaans).

Outside Europe, the Arabic  j(a)wafa~gawafa, the Japanese guaba , the Tamil “koiyaa” , the Tongan kuava and probably also the Tagalog bayabas are ultimately derived from the Arawak term.

Another term for guavas is pera or variants thereof. It is common around the western Indian Ocean and probably derives from Spanish or Portuguese, which means “pear”, or from some language of southern India, though it is so widespread in the region that its origin cannot be clearly discerned any more. Pera itself is used in Malayalam, Sinhala and Swahili. In Marathi it is peru , in Bengali pearah , in Assamese “Madhuriam”,in Kannada it is pearaley  or seebe kaayi  and in Dhivehi feyru. In Telugu language it is “Jama kaya”. It is called pijuli in Oriya language in eastern India.

Guava is also called Amrood  in North India and Pakistan, which is possibly a variant of Armoot meaning “pear” in Arabic and Turkish languages, and possibly linked to the Moghul occupation of this region.

Additional terms for guavas from their native range are, for example, sawintu (Quechua) and x?lxocotl (N?huatl) Another term for guavas (Ethiopian, Amharic) is “Zeytuna”.

Habitat :Guava plants have 100 species of tropical shrubs and small trees. They are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Guavas are now cultivated and naturalized throughout the tropics and subtropics in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, subtropical regions of North America, and Australia.

Widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, guava fruits can range in size from as small as an apricot to as large as a grapefruit. Various cultivars have white, pink, or red flesh, and a few also feature red (instead of green) skin.

Description:

Psidium guajava is a tropical evergreen shrubs or a small tree. The bark, smooth and greenish, naturally peels away in strips to reveal a bone-like inner trunk. The leaves are 2 to 6 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide, with very noticeable veins and a down on the underside. The white flowers have four to five petals, are aromatic, and quickly fall off, leaving a tuft of stamen and anthers. Guava blooms throughout the year but especially at the beginning of spring….

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Plant..…...flower….leaf & bud…fruit….……….

Guava fruit, usually 4 to 12 centimetres (1.6 to 4.7 in) long, are round or oval depending on the species. The outer skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet. Varying between species, the skin can be any thickness, is usually green before maturity, but becomes yellow, maroon, or green when ripe.

Guava fruit generally have a pronounced and typical fragrance, similar to lemon rind but less sharp. Guava pulp may be sweet or sour, tasting something between pear and strawberry, off-white (“white” guavas) to deep pink (“red” guavas), with the seeds in the central pulp of variable number and hardness, depending on species.

Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained sandy loam with leafmold. Requires cool greenhouse treatment in Britain. Tolerates short-lived light frosts  and cool summers so it might succeed outdoors in the mildest areas of the country. Dislikes much humidity. Sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit, there are some named varieties.

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Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a warm greenhouse. When large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If trying the plants outdoors, plant them out in the summer and give them some protection from winter cold for at least their first two winters. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.

Edible Uses:
In Hawaii, guava is eaten with soy sauce and vinegar. Occasionally, a pinch of sugar and black pepper are added to the mixture. The fruit is cut up and dipped into the sauce.

In Mexico, the Agua fresca beverage is popularly made with Guava. The entire fruit is a key ingredient in punch, and the juice extract is often used in culinary sauces (hot or cold), as well as artisan candies, dried snacks, fruit bars, desserts, or dipped in Chamoy. Pulque de Guava is a popular blend of the native alcoholic beverage.

In Pakistan and India, guava is often eaten raw, typically cut into quarters with a pinch of salt and pepper and sometimes cayenne powder/masala. Street vendors often sell guava fruit for a few rupees each.

In the Philippines, ripe guava is used in cooking sinigang.

Guava juice is very popular in Cuba, Costa Rica, Egypt, Mexico, Colombia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Malaysia,Indonesia and South Africa.

The fruit is also often prepared as a dessert, in fruit salads. In Asia, fresh guava slices are often dipped in preserved prune powder or salt. In India it is often sprinkled with red rock salt, which is very tart.

Because of its high level of pectin, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, and marmalades (such as Brazilian goiabada and Colombian and Venezuelan bocadillo), and also for juices and aguas frescas.

“Red” guavas can be used as the base of salted products such as sauces, substituting for tomatoes, especially for those sensitive to the latter’s acidity. In Asia, a drink is made from an infusion of guava fruits and leaves. In Brazil, the infusion made with guava tree leaves (chá-de-goiabeira, i.e. “tea” of guava tree leaves) is considered medicinal.

Medicinal Uses:
Guava has been widely used in Latin American traditional medicine as a treatment for diarrhea and stomachaches due to indigestion.  Treatment usually involves drinking a decoction of the leaf, roots, and bark of the plant.  It also has been used for dysentery in Panama and as an astringent in Venezuela.  A decoction of the plant’s bark and leaves is also reported to be used as a bath to treat skin ailments. Chinese and Caribbean traditional medicine have used guava in the control of diabetes, but a study in Mexico found that guava did not lower blood sugar levels in rabbits.

In the Philippines the astringent, unripe fruit, the leaves, the cortex of the bark and roots – through more often the leaves only – in the form of a decoction, are used for washing ulcers and wounds. Guerrero states that the bark and leaves are astringent, vulnerary, and when decocted, antidiarhetic. The bark is used in the chronic diarrhea of children and sometimes adults; half an ounce of the bark is boiled down with six ounces of water to 3 ounces; the dose (for children) is one teaspoonful 3 to 4 times a day. The root-bark has been recommended for chronic diarrhea. In a decoction of ½ oz. in 6 oz. of water, boiled down to 3 oz. and given in teaspoonful doses; and also recommended as a local application in prolapsus and of children. A decoction of the root-bark is recommended as a mouthwash for swollen gums.

Guava leaves are used in folk medicine as a remedy for diarrhea and, as well as the bark, for their supposed antimicrobial properties and as an astringent. Guava leaves or bark are used in traditional treatments against diabetes.The leaves, when chewed, are said to be remedy for toothache. In Trinidad, a tea made from young leaves is used for diarrhea, dysentery and fever The decocted leaves are used in Mexico for cleansing ulcers. The ground leaves make an excellent poultice. A decoction of the young leaves and shoots is prescribed in the West Indies for febrifuge and antispasmodic baths, and an infusion of the leaves for cerebral affections, nephritis, and cachexia; the pounded leaves are applied locally for rheumatism; an extract is used for epilepsy and chorea; and the tincture is rubbed into the spine of children suffering from convulsions. The leaves have also been used successfully as an astringent in diarrhea. In Mexico the leaves are said to be a remedy for itches. In Uruguay, a decoction of the leaves is used as a vaginal and uterine wash, especially in leucorrhoea.

In Costa Rica, a decoction of the flower buds is considered an effective remedy for diarrhea and flow of blood. The fruit is astringent and has a tendency to cause constipation. The fruit is  anthelmintic in Mexico. The guava jelly is tonic to the heart and good for constipation. The ripe fruit is good aperient, and should be eaten with the skin, for without it, costiveness results. The unripe fruit is said to be indigestible, causing vomiting and feverishness, but it is sometimes employed in diarrhea. Water in which the fruit is soaked is good for diabetes.

Since the 1950s, guavas – particularly the leaves – have been the subject for diverse research on their constituents, pharmacological properties and history in folk medicine. Most research, however, has been conducted on apple guava (P. guajava), with other species remaining unstudied. From preliminary medical research in laboratory models, extracts from apple guava leaves or bark are implicated in therapeutic mechanisms against cancer, bacterial infections, inflammation and pain. Essential oils from guava leaves display anti-cancer activity in vitro.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider
Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Psidium+cattleianum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guava
http://www.ehow.com/about_6098971_guava-trees.html
http://media.photobucket.com/image/guava%20tree/wrimulanchibinjong/guava_tree.jpg?o=1

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