‘Psidium guajava’ as the guava is botanically named, is also known in Spanish as guayabo or guayavo and the fruit as guayaba or guyava. It is said to have originated in Mexico central and South America but has become almost a staple fruit in a lot of Asian countries. The Spanish explorers are said to have spotted the guava in South America way back in 1500 from where it has been taken North Florida. Seminole Indians are said to have cultivated guava trees in Northern Florida in1816.
“Guavaween” is a traditional fund raising event celebrated every year during the end of October in central Florida to celebrate the advent of guava. Today India, Brazil and Mexico are the major producers of guava in the world. The best grown guavas are said to be from near and around Allahabad in India. It is successfully grown in tropical and sub tropical climate, having distinct winters, though tolerating dry climates.
The guava is the most therapeutically used plant in the Philippines. It is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C(even more than an orange), iron, antioxidants, carotenoids, calcium, carbohydrates, fibre, niacin, phosphorous, protein and potassium.
- It kills bacteria, fungal growth, and amoeba.
- It is used as an antiseptic, astringent and anthelmic
- The leaves are used to heal cuts and wounds
- Being an effective astringent it is used for toothaches.
- It binds up loose bowels in diarrhoea.
- It inhibits microbial growth and removes extra mucous, thus helps to cure dysentery.
- It tones up the digestive system.
- It is very effective in cases of gastro enteritis.
- It is a good vermifuge.
- It acts as a skin toner and keeps the skin glowing, fresh and wrinkle free.
- It prevents cancer.
- The fibre content promotes a healthy colon.
- It aids in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
The inside of the fruit is sometimes white, yellow or pink. The whole fruit is edible and consumed as fruit juice. Guava jams and halwa are also popular. Guava nectar is used in tropically themed alcoholic drinks. It is also mixed with carbonated water to produce sorbets and ice -creams.