Benefits of Guava (Amrud)
Botanical Name : Psidium guajava, Linn
Family Name : Myrtaceae
Hindi Name : Amrud
A large genus of tropical and sub-tropical tree and shrubs, Guava is a native of tropical America. Its three species are cultivated in India, the most important of which is Psidium guava.
An arborecent shrub or small tree, up to eight metre high; leaves light green, finely pubescent and chartaceous, flowers white and fragrant, fruits green to light yellow, but in some varieties, red, varying in shape and size to a great extent; flesh creamish white yellow, in some verieties red.
Guava is often referred to as the apple of the tropics; it IS a native of tropical America and has long been naturalized in India. Many varieties are known in cultivation, but a detailed horticultural and systematic study of the species and varieties is still lacking. However, common guava is cultivated throughout India.
Fruit & leaves.
Fruit is tonic, cooling, laxative, astringent, anti-diarrhoea and anti-dysentric.
Forms of Use
Leaves decoction, ripe fruit, jam & jelly.
The guava is a sweet, juicy and highly flavoured fruit, eaten mostly as fresh fruit. It may also be canned, preserved or made into jam, butter, marmalades, pies, ketchups and chutneys. In some countries, guava juice is said to make an excellent substitute for orange or tomato juice in child feeding.
Guava is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin C and contains 4 to 10 times of this vitamin content in citrus fruits. It also contains considerable amount of pectin. As compared to mango and apricot, guava is deficient in vitamin A but superior in most other major nutrients. follows (100 gms):
Vitamin C content of guava shows wide varieties and ranges from 100 to as high as 1000 mg/100 g. It is highest in the fruit skin and in the flesh next to it and decreases in the inner portions of the fruit. Also maximum ascorbic acid oxidase activity is localized in the core of the fruit. The Vitamin C value increases with maturity and reaches its maximum when the fruit is fully mature, but declines when the fruit becomes over- ripe and soft. Some people say that pink-fleshed types are richer in vitamin C than white fleshed ones. Among the important types grown in India (UP), Chittidar has been found to be the richest in Vitamin C value
Guava is reported to contain a bound form of Vitamin C ascorbigeon, amounting to about 15% of the total Vitamin C content.
Citric is the major acid in guava, tarturic and malic acids being present in smaller amounts. Carbohydrates occur chiefly in the form of sugars of which reducing sugars form the major part.
The tannin content is high in early stages of growth, and gradually decreases to a low value at the fully matured stage. Guava is poor in carotenoid pigments. The pulp of guava contains beta-carotene and Xanthophyll in equal proportions (total carotenoids-0.2 ug/g). The pink fleshed types are generally a better source of beta-carotene. Some pink fleshed guvava is also found to contain beta-carotene as well as very useful lycopene compound (an anti-oxidant).
Guava is used in the preparation of guava cheese, canned guava and guava jelly. Processes have also been developed for drying guavas as such and as pulp in the form of sheets, and also for the preparation of products such as guava juice and juice powder, guava concentrate, and guava nector.
Guava cheese is prepared from ripe and firm fruits. The fruits are washed and cut into small pieces, boiled in water and the pulp after straining to remove seeds and peels, is mixed with sugar and butter and heated until the material becomes thick. Citric acid, common salt and colouring matter are added. The whole product is allowed to set and then cut into pieces of attractive shapes. It is wrapped in butter paper and stored in a dry clean place.
For the preparation of guava jelly, healthy, rather tart fruits are taken. They are washed and cut into small pieces, and after the addition of citric acid, boiled in water for about half an hour. The juice is pressed out with a muslin cloth, and examined for the richness in pectin content. It is cooked with equal quantity of sugar till the resulting jelly boils at 105°. It is cooled thereafter.
Fully ripe and firm fruits of white flesh and few seeds are chosen for canning. The fruits are peeled with a knife, cut into halves, and the seeds present are scooped out. The peeled cored fruits are kept immersed in 1-2% common salt solution to prevent browning, and canned in hot sugar syrup containing citric acid. Canned guavas often have a taste and aroma better than those of the fresh fruits. Loss of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) during canning is about 19.4%. There is a gradual loss of ascorbic acid on storage. For 6, 12 & 24 months of storage, the loss of vitamin C would be 10.0, 18.3 & 39.5%, respectively.
The guava plant as well as its fruits are considered medicinal.
(i) Extracts of fruit, flowers & leaves are found active against Micrococcus pyogenes and Escherichia coli. (ii) Extracts of the fruit are found to be moderately active against enteric pathogens like Salmonella typhosa and Shigella antidysenteriae.
(iii) The fruit is tonic and is very nutritive, cooling and laxative.
(iv) The fruit is astringent in action and used against diarrhoea and dysentery.
(v) Full ripe fruit, if taken without crushing the seeds, removes obstinate constipation.