Cute little sentence about: Not many of us use Guava Tree leaves in our birds’ diets, but maybe if we had access to this little wonder we would!
Meaning: Spanish dating back to the 1550’s as “Tupi guajava” meaning “stupid guava tree.” (1)
The botanical name of abas is: Psidium guajava L.
Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtle)
Species: Psidium guajava
Bionomial name: Psidium guajava L.
Other names this herb may be known by are:
• Guava Tree
• Tokal (3)
Some of the main constituents (chemical composition) in guava leaves are:
An abundant array of essential oils, catechins (tannins) and quercetin. This makes guava leaves an excellent source remedy as an anti- fungal, bacterial and viral. However, keep in mind that tannins block the absorption of iron and synthesizing of Vitamin B12. While quercetin is a wonderful anti-inflammatory, too much, along with Vitamin C, which guava contains in exceedingly high amounts can actually be a pro-inflammatory. (4, 5, 6)
On a scale from very low to extremely high:
The measurement for guava fruit itself is very high, so I would imagine the leaves are just as high. (7)
I insert the level of salicylates here due to the fact I have found this naturally occurring food constituent/food chemical triggers barbering, cutting, picking, plucking, and self-mutilation in birds who engage in feather destruction. I have even witnessed salicylates causing anaphylactic shock in certain birds. When too many foods containing high amounts of salicylates are feed to any given bird “stacking” these foods can cause a cascade of health problems including, but not limited to itching, picking, plucking, barbering, self-mutilation, wheezing, sneezing, coughing, seizures, lethargy, internal hemorrhaging, and even death. Many OTC (over-the-counter avian remedies contain laboratory-produced salicylates as buffers, fillers, thickeners and extenders). “Salic acid”, which is the base of salicylates, is the primary ingredient in aspirin obtained from the Willow Tree, but all plant matter contains this naturally occurring constituent to differing degrees, some very high to others at lower amounts. Simply stated salic acid is a blood thinner.
Guava leaf has long been used to treat diarrhea and dysentery. Guava leaves show great potential in treating bacteria such as Bacillus, Clostridium, E. coli, Shigella, Staphylococcus, Salmonella and Pseudomonas, some the main bacteria involved in the cases of diarrhea. The leaves are also used to treat gastroenteritis and general nausea as well as intestinal worms. Guava leaves are a strong diuretic which can be a positive benefit in the detoxification of kidneys and liver. In addition, guava has also shown anti-yeast (Candida), anti-fungal, anti-malarial as well as anti-parasitic activities. Guava leaves have shown to be advantageous in treating heart arrhythmias by regulating the heart rhythm. Due to the high amount of fatty acids and Vitamin A content there are indications that guava leaves may be helpful in treating seizures as well. They have proven effective in treating epilepsy and spasms. (8)
Ayurvedic properties of guava leaf:No specific ayurvedic properties other than basic benefits described above.
However, use of this herb does not come without considerations, warnings and extreme caution when utilizing it in connection with our companion birds.
Taking into account that exotic birds are small, delicate creatures with very efficient and uniquely designed digestive tracts we must remember to use diluted levels of all herbs, spices, and OTC remedies when treating or feeding our birds.
Guava is relatively high in potassium. I have been warning the avian community lately about “stacking” ingredients high in potassium and the effect this mineral has on the cardiovascular system. Potassium toxicity, otherwise known as “hyperkalemia” can cause an acute stroke or heart attack at worst, or lethargy, listlessness, lack of coordination, sleepiness, lack of appetite and/or seizures at the very least. Potassium is very high in all greens.
I have only found one source for Guava Leaves: http://www.bulkapothecary.com/guava-leaves-lime-green. Maybe if you really want to use this herb in your bird’s diet you will be fortunate enough to find other sources, hopefully organic and standardized to ensure you are feeding the purest and mort reliable source.
We must always must keep in mind the “stacking” of nutrients whenever we add any food source to our birds’ already existing diet. Bioaccumulation of nutrients can easily cause over-nutrition, or hypervitaminosis creating a cesspool of toxicity in our birds’ liver and kidneys. If an acute toxicity builds up, especially in kidneys or a liver that is already suffering damage, or organs that are diseased but have not yet been diagnosed our bird could easily land in our veterinarian’s ER or even worse succumb to death.
Below is the nutritional information I found for guava in general. As you can imagine it is quite difficult to find nutritional information on the leaves themselves.
USDA’s statement regarding the ORAC value:
Personally I believe this statement is “bunk” and I believe the antioxidant properties in foods do matter.
And of course here the USDA is contradicting themselves only years earlier:
For this reason I will supply the ORAC value of each food, herb and spice when available.
ORAC value of guava leaf: Not found.
Ref: (1) http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=Tupi+guajava; (2) http://www.fruitvs.com/en/scientific-classification-of-guava/model-19-5; (3) http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_guava.htm; (4) http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_guava.htm (“Constituents”); (5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25048579; (6) http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/institute/fak14/ipmb/phazb/pubwink/2013/08.2013.pdf; (7) http://www.millhousemedical.co.nz/files/docs/factsheet_8_salicylates_in_foods.pdf; (8) http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_guava.htm;
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