Guava trees, or Psidium guajava, are native to Central America and southern Mexico. These days, guava trees are grown in many different parts of the world. They are widely cultivated in Asia, and are grown domestically in Florida, Hawaii, and Southern California. They're mainly cultivated for their deliciously sweet fruit, although guava leaves are also rich in vitamin C and iron.
These days, the two main producers of guava are India and China. Guava leaf tea has long been used as a treatment for diarrhea in both of these countries. In Japan, the tea is a government-approved food for managing blood sugar.
As modern interest in traditional medicine has grown in recent years, guava leaf tea has drawn attention for its potential health benefits. As with many emerging subjects in medical research, not all of the guava leaf tea health claims have been proven. Still, there are a lot of demonstrated benefits within this beverage.
As with all teas, a cup of guava leaf tea is mostly water. The compounds, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients of the guava leaves themselves are only present in very dilute amounts in guava tea.
An eight ounce mug of guava leaf tea contains approximately:
- Calories: 0
- Protein: 0 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 1.01 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
Additionally, guava leaf tea is not a significant source of vitamins and minerals. It does however contain unique polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant.
Potential Health Benefits of Guava Leaf Tea
To date, several lab and animal studies have been conducted with guava leaf tea. This research has revealed a few potential health benefits associated with drinking guava leaf tea.
Scientists have studied the traditional use of guava leaf tea as an anti-diarrheal treatment and found substantial evidence in its favor. Specifically, lab studies have observed that diarrhea caused by infection cleared more quickly after administration of guava leaf tea.
Lowering Blood Sugar
The polyphenols in guava leaf tea have been shown to regulate the absorption of carbohydrates from food. This effect is especially beneficial to some people with diabetes. Drinking guava leaf tea after meals can help suppress blood sugar spikes, and has not shown to interact negatively with medications people with diabetes may be taking.
Several studies of various guava leaf extracts, including guava leaf tea, have demonstrated anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. There are several compounds in the leaves that may contribute to these properties including flavonoids (antioxidants), tannins, and acids (gallic and betulinic).
Potential Risks of Guava Leaf Tea
Research hasn’t indicated many health risks associated with guava leaf tea. However, there has been some research into topical risks of guava leaf extract.
There is a chance that topically-applied guava leaf extract may make eczema symptoms worse. The chemicals contained within the extract can increase skin irritation. People with eczema should be cautious of applying anything containing guava leaf extract to their skin.