There is increasing interest in discovering new bioactive compounds derived from ethnomedicine. Preparations of guava (Psidium guajava L.) leaves have traditionally been used to manage several diseases. The pharmacological research in vitro as well as in vivo has been widely used to demonstrate the potential of the extracts from the leaves for the co-treatment of different ailments with high prevalence worldwide, upholding the traditional medicine in cases such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and parasitic infections.
Moreover, the biological activity has been attributed to the bioactive composition of the leaves, to some specific phytochemical subclasses, or even to individual compounds. Phenolic compounds in guava leaves have been credited with regulating blood-glucose levels.
Thus, the aim of the present review was to compile results from in vitro and in vivo studies carried out with guava leaves over the last decade, relating the effects to their clinical applications in order to focus further research for finding individual bioactive compounds. Some food applications (guava tea and supplementary feed for aquaculture) and some clinical, in vitro, and in vivo outcomes are also included.
Traditional claims generally require experimental research to establish their effectiveness. In this regard, ethnomedicine applications of Psidium guajava L. leaves have been verified by several researches over the last decade against many disorders, demonstrating its potential in the treatment of the most common worldwide diseases. In addition, the effects of the leaves have been related to individual compounds such as quercetin, catechin, vescalagin, gallic acid, peltatoside, hyperoside, isoquercitrin, and guaijaverin.
Future prospects should be aimed at investigating the biodiversity of guava and/or the purification of the different compounds present in guava leaves in order to obtain functional ingredients for further uses as alternative agents in natural therapeutic approaches.