Some of the earliest mentions of guava leaf in the Western world appear in the medical journal The Lancet, dating to the early 1800’s, as doctors chronicled their experiences in tropical locales, reporting on indigenous customs they discovered during their travels. “For my own part,” writes Dr. J Hancock, “I think there is no method better adapted for the successful treatment of fevers in general, than that which is followed by certain tribes of Guiana, which consists of very little besides the use of aromatic vapour-baths and frictions; they take for this purpose the leaves of the guava, lime-tree… bruise and throw them into the bath. A similar practice is pursued by the Creoles of Martinique [for] fever, and with a success much greater than that attending the European practice” (Lancet 1830). This early example of Western medicine borrowing knowledge from traditional or indigenous medicine is a practice recurring throughout history, and still continues today.
The guava tree is widespread across nearly all tropical regions of the globe. In addition to enjoying the fruit of the guava tree, which is an important and convenient source of nutrition, thousands of people from all around the world have used guava leaf for many of the same, or similar, purposes. These purposes include (but are not limited to) management of diabetes, treatment of diarrhea and rotaviral enteritis, and use as an antibacterial and antimicrobial agent to heal wounds and sores. These and other uses enticed scientists to look into the benefits of this readily available tropical plant.antibacterial, Diabetes, diarrhea, Dr. J Hancock, guava leaf extract, sores, The Lancet, Western medicine, wounds