Many of us have sampled the delicious fruit of the Psidium guajava or better known as the guava tree. Native to far-ranging locations such as Mexico and Brazil, and far-away tropical locations like Hawaii or Thailand, it is a popular plant. Similar in appearance to lime trees, it is a sturdy producer. The fruits are eaten whole but also commonly juiced, turned into jams or jellies and might even be applied in medicinal forms.
Why? It is actually quite interesting to note the many uses of guava in general and then the specific uses of its leaves and their essential oils. The list of uses for guava fruit and leaves is extensive. The fruit is “a source of vitamin C, fiber, and other substances that act like antioxidants…Guava LEAVES also contain chemicals with antioxidant and other effects.” The leaves are a great source of natural tannins and other compounds, and the properties of the leaves allow people to use guava fruit and leaves “for many conditions, including colic, diarrhea, diabetes, cough, and cancer.”1
But what about guava leaf essential oil? That is, actually, an entirely different matter.
Properties of Guava Leaf Essential Oil
Guava leaf essential oil is made from the leaves of the guava tree. This is, technically, a member of the myrtle family and has leaves similar to the standard myrtle trees. However, they differ in that they are a bit more yellowish in color and have minty and woody fragrance.
Upon being dried, the leaves offer a very strong mint aroma, which is counterbalanced by a sweeter almond note.2
The plant is a flower producing bush or tree, but the white to green blooms are not as fragrant as many might think, and are not used for guava leaf essential oil production.
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Guava leaf essential oils are typically made of wild harvested leaves and steam or hydro distilled, which is why the oil is not as medicinal in the ways that the leaves are known to be. The oil, however, does have a long list of benefits (see below) and provides a very long shelf life of 5-7 years.
Yet, the essential oil itself does have that wood/mint/citrusy and smoky aroma and can be used quite effectively with rose and lavender to enhance a floral, sweet and fruity aromatic blend. It is viewed as a middle note that works well with most citrus scents and fragrances, too, including lime, orange, and lemon.
Using Guava Leaf Essential Oil
Currently, there is a common misunderstanding about the uses of guava leaf essential oil. It is frequently described as being “best used for diarrhea, stomach ailments, dysentery,” but that is not accurate. The plant does provide these astringent properties, but it is when the raw leaves (dried or fresh) are used to make tea. As they are 10% tannins, and tannins are water soluble though unable to endure distillation (used to make essential oils), it is only in the full leaf format that they can be used as a remedy for those conditions or issues.
Instead, the more common therapeutic benefits of guava leaf essential oil include:
- Astringent (topical)
Studies and research also show that it can be “used in a cream or lotion to combat athlete’s foot, as well as for pain relief caused by inflammation. Reportedly, it’s specifically helpful against staph aureus most often found in the nose or on the skin. Research indicates it could be an oil to try for minor skin infections such as boils, cysts, and folliculitis.”3
In 2010, the International Journal of Current Pharmaceutical Research also indicated that it was a clinically proven broad-spectrum antifungal, and in 2012 a Thai based study said it was an effective antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antibacterial against staph infections, too.4,5
Clearly, this is all very exciting and why guava leaf extract is described by many as new to the market or a recent addition to the world of essential oils.
Starting a Guava Leaf Essential Oil Regimen
Now that you know of the ways that guava leaf essential oil can be used, you can begin considering how to introduce it into your daily routine. As an aromatic or in aromatherapy, it pairs with the most soothing and relaxing scents (lavender and rose) as a middle note or a citrus scent (mood enhancer).
Typically it is proven to be antifungal and you can safely add several drops to any sort of basic cream or lotion you wish to apply to areas of irritation or even infection. For instance, add it to:
- Foot cream to fight athlete’s foot.
- Body oils and creams to reduce pain and inflammation in muscles or joints.
- Medicinal ointment to help combat staph aureus near the nose or on the skin.
- Neutral oils to apply to boils, cysts, skin infections and follicles.
Consider spritzing it on surfaces where you are concerned about viral or fungal contaminations, and even add it to a neutral liquid soap to enjoy the antimicrobial or bacterial properties.
Unique and promising, guava leaf essential oils are a good one to watch as more and more studies delve into its benefits.
Precautions with Guava Leaf Essential Oil
Naturally, many worry about any sort of precautions, side effects or interactions when using essential oils. The good news is that there is very little to be concerned with where guava leaf essential oils are concerned. “As a fruit, guava is safe to consume. However, medicines that have a huge concentration of guava may not be suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women. It is always better to eat the fruit in its natural form and if in the form of medicine, consult your doctor.” 6
WebMD indicates that it is “possibly safe” if used for medicinal purposes, but up to a 12-week time span only. There are no known interactions with guava or leaf essential oils.
If you’ve enjoyed guava leaf as a delicious tropical fruit, give it a try as an essential oil and reap not only the medicinal benefits but the emotional benefits that come from aromatherapy, such as relaxation and enhancing your mood. Check out some of MONQ’s personal essential oils that can give you these benefits as well, such as Happy, Zen, Sleepy, or Ocean.