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This article is about the fruit. For other uses, see Guava (disambiguation).
Ripe apple guavas (Psidium guajava) for sale in Bangalore, India

Guavas (singular guava, /ˈɡwɑː.və/)[1] are common tropical fruits cultivated and enjoyed in many tropical and subtropical regions. The best known[citation needed] is Psidium guajava (common guava, lemon guava), a small tree in the Myrtle family (Myrtaceae), native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Several related species are also referred to as guavas, and some are cultivated in more limited regions. Some fruits commonly referred to as "guavas" are in other genera, such as the "strawberry guava", Acca sellowiana.


Apple Guava (Psidium guajava) flower

The most frequently eaten species, and the one often simply referred to as "the guava", is the Apple Guava (Psidium guajava).[citation needed]. Guavas are typical Myrtoideae, with tough dark leaves that are opposite, simple, elliptic to ovate and 5–15 centimetres (2.0–5.9 in) long. The flowers are white, with five petals and numerous stamens.

The genera Accara and Feijoa (= Acca, Pineapple Guava) were formerly included in Psidium.[citation needed]

Etymology and regional names[edit]

The term "guava" appears to derive from Arawak guayabo "guava tree", via the Spanish guayaba. It has been adapted in many European and Asian languages, having a similar form.

Another term for guavas is peru, derived from pear. It is common in countries bordering the western Indian Ocean and probably derives from Spanish or Portuguese. In the Indian subcontinent and Middle-East, guava is called amrood, possibly a variant of armoot meaning "pear" in Arabic and Turkish languages.


Psidium species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, mainly moths like the Ello Sphinx (Erinnyis ello), Eupseudosoma aberrans, E. involutum, and Hypercompe icasia. Mites like Pronematus pruni and Tydeus munsteri are known be crop pests the Apple Guava (P. guajava) and perhaps other species. The bacterium Erwinia psidii causes rot diseases of the Apple Guava.

The fruit is not only relished by humans, but by many mammals and birds as well. The spread of introduced guavas owes much to this fact, since animals eat the fruit and disperse the seeds in their droppings.

In several tropical regions, including Hawaii and Florida, some species (namely Strawberry Guava, P. littorale, and to a lesser extent Apple Guava) have become invasive species. On the other hand, several species have become very rare due to habitat destruction and at least one (Jamaican Guava, P. dumetorum), is already extinct.

Guava wood is used for meat smoking in Hawaii and is used at barbecue competitions across the United States. In Cuba and Mexico the leaves are used in barbecues.


Guava fruit, usually 4 to 12 centimetres (1.6 to 4.7 in) long, are round or oval depending on the species. They have a pronounced and typical fragrance, similar to lemon rind but less sharp. The outer skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet. Varying between species, the skin can be any thickness, is usually green before maturity, but becomes yellow, maroon, or green when ripe. The pulp inside may be sweet or sour, and off-white ("white" guavas) to deep pink ("red" guavas). The seeds in the central pulp vary in number and hardness, depending on species.


Guavas are cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries. Several species are grown commercially; apple guava and its cultivars are those most commonly traded internationally.

Mature trees of most species are fairly cold-hardy and can survive temperatures slightly colder than 25 °F (−4 °C) for short periods of time, but younger plants will likely freeze to the ground.[2] Guavas are grown in South Florida as far north as Sarasota, on the west coast, and Fort Pierce, on the east coast. However, they are a primary host of the Caribbean Fruit Fly and must be protected against infestation in areas of Florida where this pest is present.[3]

Guavas are also of interest to home growers in temperate areas. They are one of the few tropical fruits that can grow to fruiting size in pots indoors. When grown from seed, guavas can bear fruit as soon as two years, or as long as eight years.

Culinary uses[edit]

In Mexico, the guava agua fresca beverage is popular. The entire fruit is a key ingredient in punch, and the juice is often used in culinary sauces (hot or cold), as well as artisan candies, dried snacks, fruit bars, desserts, or dipped in Chamoy. Pulque de Guava is a popular blend of the native alcoholic beverage.

In many countries, guava is eaten raw, typically cut into quarters or eaten like an apple, whereas in other countries it's eaten with a pinch of salt and pepper, cayenne powder or a mix of spices (masala). It is known as the winter national fruit of Pakistan. In the Philippines, ripe guava is used in cooking sinigang. Guava is a popular snack in Taiwan, sold on many street corners and night markets during hot weather, accompanied by packets of dried plum powder mixed with sugar and salt for dipping. In east Asia, guava is commonly eaten with sweet and sour dried plum powder mixtures. Guava juice is popular in many countries. The fruit is also often prepared in fruit salads.

Because of its high level of pectin, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, and marmalades (such as Brazilian goiabada and Colombian and Venezuelan bocadillo), and also for juices and aguas frescas or may be used in a marmalade jam on toast.

Red guavas can be used as the base of salted products such as sauces, substituting for tomatoes, especially to minimize acidity. A drink may be made from an infusion of guava fruits and leaves which in Brazil is called chá-de-goiabeira, i.e. "tea" of guava tree leaves, considered medicinal.

Nutritional value[edit]

Guavas, common
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy285 kJ (68 kcal)
14.32 g
Sugars8.92 g
Dietary fiber5.4 g
0.95 g
2.55 g
Vitamin A equiv.
31 μg
374 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.067 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.04 mg
Niacin (B3)
1.084 mg
0.451 mg
Vitamin B6
0.11 mg
Folate (B9)
49 μg
Vitamin C
228.3 mg
Vitamin K
2.2 μg
Trace metals
18 mg
0.26 mg
22 mg
0.15 mg
40 mg
417 mg
2 mg
0.23 mg
Other constituents
Lycopene5204 µg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Guavas are rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C, with moderate levels of folic acid. Having a generally broad, low-calorie profile of essential nutrients, a single common guava (P. guajava) fruit contains about four times the amount of vitamin C as an orange.[4]

However, nutrient content varies across guava cultivars. Although the strawberry guava (P. littorale var. cattleianum) has about 25% of the amount found in more common varieties, its total vitamin C content in one serving (90 mg) still provides 100% of the Dietary Reference Intake.[5]

Guavas contain both carotenoids and polyphenols like (+)-gallocatechin,[6] guaijaverin, leucocyanidin and amritoside[7]–the major classes of antioxidant pigments – giving them relatively high potential antioxidant value among plant foods.[8] As these pigments produce the fruit skin and flesh color, guavas that are red-orange have more pigment content as polyphenol, carotenoid and pro-vitamin A, retinoid sources than yellow-green ones.[9]

Green apple guavas are less rich in pigment antioxidants
'Thai maroon' guavas, a red apple guava cultivar,
rich in carotenoids and polyphenols

Potential medical uses[edit]

Since the 1950s, guavas – particularly the leaves – have been the subject for diverse research on their constituents, pharmacological properties and history in folk medicine.[10] Most research, however, has been conducted on apple guava (P. guajava), with other species remaining unstudied. From preliminary medical research in laboratory models, extracts from apple guava leaves or bark are implicated in therapeutic mechanisms against cancer, bacterial infections, inflammation and pain.[11][12][13] Essential oils from guava leaves display anti-cancer activity in vitro.[14]

Guava leaves are used in folk medicine as a remedy for diarrhea[15] and, as well as the bark, for their supposed antimicrobial properties and as an astringent. Guava leaves or bark are used in traditional treatments against diabetes.[16][17][18] In Trinidad, a tea made from young leaves is used for diarrhea, dysentery and fever.[19]

Yellow-fruited Cherry Guava, (sometimes called Lemon Guava) Psidium littorale var. littorale
Strawberry Guava, Psidium littorale var. cattleianum
Shedding bark of Guava tree


  1. ^ "Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Julian W. Sauls (December 1998). "home fruit production-guava". Texas A&M Horticulture program. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  3. ^ Boning, Charles R. (2006). Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. p. 99. ISBN 1561643726. 
  4. ^ "Nutrition facts for common guava". Retrieved August 17, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Nutrition facts for strawberry guava". Retrieved August 17, 2010. 
  6. ^ Identification of (+)-gallocatechin as a bio-antimutagenic compound in Psidium guava leaves. Tomoaki Matsuo, Norifumi Hanamure, Kayoko Shimoi, Yoshiyuki Nakamura and Isao Tomita, Phytochemistry, Volume 36, Issue 4, July 1994, Pages 1027-1029, doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)90484-9
  7. ^ Polyphenols of the leaves of psidium guava—quercetin, guaijaverin, leucocyanidin and amritoside. T.R. Seshadri and Krishna Vasishta, Phytochemistry, Volume 4, Issue 6, 1965, Pages 989-992, doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)86281-0
  8. ^ Jiménez-Escrig et al. (2001), Hassimotto et al. (2005), Mahattanatawee et al. (2006)
  9. ^ Wrolstad (2001)
  10. ^ Gutiérrez et al. (2008)
  11. ^ Ojewole (2006)
  12. ^ Chen et al. (2007)
  13. ^ Mahfuzul Hoque et al. (2007)
  14. ^ Manosroi et al. (2006)
  15. ^ Kaljee et al. (2004)
  16. ^ Oh et al. (2005)
  17. ^ Mukhtar et al. (2006)
  18. ^ "(free registration required) Anti-Hyperglycemic and Anti-Hyperlipidemic Effects of Guava Leaf Extract, Medscape, from Nutrition and Metabolism, Y Deguchi and K Miyazaki, 2010". Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  19. ^ Mendes 1986), p. 65


  • Chen, Kuan-Chou; Hsieh, Chiu-Lan; Peng, Chiung-Chi; Hsieh-Li, Hsiu-Mei; Chiang, Han-Sun; Huang, Kuan-Dar & Peng, Robert Y. (2007): Brain derived metastatic prostate cancer DU-145 cells are effectively inhibited in vitro by guava (Psidium gujava L.) leaf extracts. Nutr. Cancer 58(1): 93–106. HTML abstract
  • Gutiérrez, R.M.; Mitchell, S. & Solis, R.V. (2008): Psidium guajava: a review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology. J. Ethnopharmacol. 117(1): 1–27. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.01.025 (HTML abstract)
  • Hassimotto, N.M.; Genovese, M.I. & Lajolo, F.M. (2005): Antioxidant activity of dietary fruits, vegetables, and commercial frozen fruit pulps. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 53(8): 2928–2935. doi:10.1021/jf047894h (HTML abstract)
  • [2008]: Nutrient facts comparison for common guava, strawberry guava, and oranges. Retrieved 2008-DEC-21.
  • Jiménez-Escrig, A.; Rincón, M.; Pulido, R. & Saura-Calixto, F. (2001): Guava fruit (Psidium guajava L.) as a new source of antioxidant dietary fiber. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 49(11): 5489–5493. doi:10.1021/jf010147p (HTML abstract)
  • Kaljee, Linda M.; Thiem, Vu Dinh; von Seidlein, Lorenz; Genberg, Becky L.; Canh, Do Gia; Tho, Le Huu; Minh, Truong Tan; Thoa, Le Thi Kim; Clemens, John D. & Trach, Dang Duc (2004): Healthcare Use for Diarrhoea and Dysentery in Actual and Hypothetical Cases, Nha Trang, Viet Nam. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition 22(2): 139-149. PDF fulltext
  • Mahattanatawee, K.; Manthey, J.A.; Luzio, G.; Talcott, S.T.; Goodner, K. & Baldwin, E.A. (2006): Total antioxidant activity and fiber content of select Florida-grown tropical fruits. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 54(19): 7355–7363. doi:10.1021/jf060566s PDF fulltext
  • Mahfuzul Hoque, M.D.; Bari, M.L.; Inatsu, Y.; Juneja, V.K. & Kawamoto, S. (2007): Antibacterial activity of guava (Psidium guajava L.) and Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.) extracts against foodborne pathogens and spoilage bacteria. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 4(4): 481–488. doi:10.1089/fpd.2007.0040 PDF fulltext
  • Manosroi, J.; Dhumtanom, P. & Manosroi, A. (2006): Anti-proliferative activity of essential oil extracted from Thai medicinal plants on KB and P388 cell lines. Cancer Letters 235(1): 114–120. doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2005.04.021 PMID 15979235 (HTML abstract)
  • Mendes, John (1986). Cote ce Cote la: Trinidad & Tobago Dictionary. Arima, Trinidad. 
  • Mukhtar, H.M.; Ansari, S.H.; Bhat, Z.A.; Naved, T. & Singh, P. (2006): Antidiabetic activity of an ethanol extract obtained from the stem bark of Psidium guajava (Myrtaceae). Pharmazie 61(8): 725–727. PMID 16964719 (HTML abstract)
  • Oh, W.K.; Lee, C.H.; Lee, M.S. et al. (2005): Antidiabetic effects of extracts from Psidium guajava. J. Ethnopharmacol. 96(3): 411–415. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.09.041 (HTML abstract)
  • Ojewole, J.A. (2006): Antiinflammatory and analgesic effects of Psidium guajava Linn. (Myrtaceae) leaf aqueous extract in rats and mice. Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology 28(7): 441–446. doi:10.1358/mf.2006.28.7.1003578 (HTML abstract)
  • Wrolstad, Ronald E. (2001): The Possible Health Benefits of Anthocyanin Pigments and Polyphenolics. Version of May 2001. Retrieved 2008-DEC-21.


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