Among the wonderful endowments of nature to humans, the plant kingdom forms the most important for human survival. Their roles from taping solar energy from the Sun and transferring it into life-sustaining 'energies', to their being 'Warehouses' of numerous medicinal properties, make them extremely important and indispensable to life and vitality as far as human life on earth is concerned. It is often said that what we are frantically looking for is right before our eyes! Our natural environment is filled with an abundance of wonderful medicinal plants! On this series, we shall be considering some of these plants in our environment and their medicinal uses - their rescue missions.
SCIENTIFIC NAME: PSIDIUM GUAJAVA
ENGLISH NAME: GUAVA.
This plant is a fruit tree, usually cultivated for its sweet fruits which can be eaten raw or made into jams, mamlades or candies. It a very rich source of vitamin C.
Antibiotic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antipyretic, astringent, expectorant, emmenagogue, febrifuge, haemostatic, hypoglycemic, laxative, parturient, tonic.
Diabetes is one of the commonest diseases affecting many adults today. It comes usually with its eventual complications. Guava is one of the plants that can be used to remedy this condition. The hypoglycemic property in the leaves and fruits is employed in the treatment of this condition.
2. Rheumatism and Arthritis.
Rheumatism and arthritis being among the most ravaging causes of immobility today can be effectively cured by the use of guava leaves in combination with other herbs to make up a very potent formulation for dealing with this condition.
3. Cardiovascular Diseases.
The cardiovascular system is very prone to diseases in recent times, due largely to modern dietary habits and lifestyles. The plant is an excellent tonic for the cardiovascular system - helping to both prevent and treat conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, atherosclerosis, high levels of triglycerides, etc. It also aids the functioning of the heart, preventing heart failure and cardiac arrest.
Dealing with free radicals and inflammations in the body is a good way of preventing and treating cancers. Guava plant, especially the fruits and leaves, is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. As such, it helps the body to get rid of toxins and soothes the cells. These antioxidants also help in boosting the immune system, and therefore very important in the prevention and treatment of cancers.
Guava leaves are an excellent broad-spectrum antibiotic, effectively dealing with very recalcitrant bacteria like _Staphylococcus_, _Salmonella_, _Escherichia_ and others. It has also got antifungal and antiviral properties. It is therefore useful in the treatment of various forms of infections. It is very effective against diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid, gastroenteritis, hepatitis, HIV, etc.
The leaves of guava forms part of preparation of herbal tea for malaria in Nigeria. It has got some anthraquinones, flavonoids, terpenoids, and seccoirridoids which has been found to be affective for both prophylaxis and treatment of malaria. It's antipyretic property also confirms its usefulness against fevers.
7. Oral Care.
Chewing sticks made from young twigs of guava is extremely good for dental health. Using this will give you a set of teeth that is clean and shiny, firm, fresh and free from plagues and carries. The tender leaves can be chewed for bad breath and bleeding gum, and a decoction of the leaves can be used for sore throat, mouth sores, laryngitis, swollen gums and toothache.
Because of its expectorant property, the infusion of the leaves is very effective against coughs, tracheobronchitis, asthma and other respiratory disorders. It is a tonic for the respiratory system. It has a synergistic effect with lemon grass ( Cymbopogon citratus ) in treating cough.
9. Skin Care.
The plant's astringency, wound healing ability, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, provide the skin with a lot of benefits such as, remedy for itches, eczema, ulcers and sores, antiallergic and soothing effects, and management of atopic dermatitis.
10. Vaginal/Menstrual Disorders.
The decoction of guava leaves is recommended for leucorrhoea, uterine haemorrhage, vaginal infection, menstrual pains, and scanty menstruation. It is a very good choice for vaginal and uterine disorders where astringent remedy is needed. Its emmenagogue property helps in enhancing the flow of menstruation.
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