Hair loss is becoming a more widely recognized condition in men and women across the country; by the time American men are 35 years old, about two-thirds will experience some degree of noticeable hair loss, with about 85 percent of men seeing a significant thinning of their hair by the time they are 50. The American Hair Loss Association notes that women, as well, experience hair loss, as a result of a number of different causes. As a result of these reasons, treatment for hair loss in women is not as readily available as it is for men.
To remedy this, many individuals have turned to home remedies to prevent and treat hair loss, with varying results. One that has caught the attention of both hair loss patients and researchers in the past 20 years is the use of guava leaves. The sweet fruit, native to Mexico, Central and South America is a nutritious and delicious fruit that is increasingly being called a superfood because of it’s incredible contents and components.
Why Guava Leaves for Hair Loss?
Guava leaf is extremely high in a variety of different types of vitamin B, including many of the nutrients needed for hair health.
- Thiamine: A deficiency of thiamine, or vitamin B1, can lead to hair loss, so it’s important to make sure that your diet for healthy hair includes thiamine. It’s a water-soluble vitamin that is included in many different hair products to maximize absorption in the scalp.
- Riboflavin: Vitamin B2 or riboflavin, is a building block vitamin that finds and repairs damaged cells, including the DNA that causes hair to thin and fall out. Cooking riboflavin can damage some of it’s health benefits, so it’s important to include the cooking fluid when using this vitamin for hair health.
- Niacin: Vitamin B3 helps to convert food into energy, and helps to increase the blood flow to the scalp and provide better nutrient and oxygen flow to the scalp. It enhances circulation and improves the structure and shape of the blood cells.
- Folate: Folic acid, or vitamin B9, can cause hair loss in individuals who are deficient in the nutrient. It also helps to form red blood cells.
- Pantothenic acid: A lack of vitamin B5 can cause hair loss by weakening the hair follicles. When you have enough, your scalp can help the follicles work properly, relieve the flaking and itching that come along with dandruff, and can encourage new hair growth.
- Pyridoxine: Vitamin B6 is vital for converting testosterone into the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that attacks hair follicles. A deficiency of vitamin B6 can cause an increase in DHT and can cause hair loss.
- Vitamin A: This fat-soluble antioxidant protects hair follicles from damage done by free radicals, and helps cells reproduce — including the cells necessary for hair growth and maintenance. Deficiencies can cause your hair to become dry and brittle, and may be the reason for hair breaking at the ends or roots.
- Antimicrobial benefits: Guava leaves have been shown to have many different antimicrobial properties that can help to combat any infections or skin conditions that can cause hair loss. They clear up the remnants of the bacteria on the scalp and help to heal the skin, which allows healthy hair to grow.
Guava, also known as guyaba, also has high levels of vitamin C — more than in most citrus fruits. It’s got a rich content of flavonoids, like quercetin, polyphenols, and other important plant chemicals. It is often made into jams and jellies a process made easier because of the high levels of pectin, a dietary fiber, that may play a role in root hair growth and cellular function.
Other Health Benefits of Guava Leaves:
- Diabetes: In east Asia, individuals are using guava leaves to treat diabetes due to the anti-hyperglycemic properties of the extract. In Japan, for example, Guava Leaf Tea, or Bansoureicha, has been approved as a Food for Specified Health Use and is commercially available to help individuals lower elevated blood glucose, along with other conditions. The approval in Japan took place in 2000 as a result of several studies showing the ability of the Guava Leaf Tea to effectively help to combat high blood glucose and sugar intake for individuals with Type 2 diabetes or experiencing pre-diabetic symptoms.
- High Cholesterol: A 1993 study shows that in a single-blind trial, 145 men ate a similar diet, with 72 taking a soluble fiber and increased-potassium diet that included guava. Following four months of monitoring, the individuals who consumed the guava experienced a reduced blood pressure and decrease in calcium and triglycerides. As a result of the high potassium and soluble fiber content of guava, the fruit may be an effective way to lower high blood pressure and blood lipids.
- Diarrhea: In some studies, guava has been shown to block some of the pathogens that cause diarrhea. While there hasn’t been extensive research done and published in peer-reviewed journals, there is some evidence that guava leaf extract has helped to improve the number of daily stools, the duration, pain, and spasms in patients with infantile viral enteritis. It’s believed that the components of guava leaf can smooth muscle fibers, which prevents the movement of the intestines and capillary permeability.
- Other health benefits: Many claims and studies have been done that show at least some positive effect in everything from weight loss and metastatic cancers to staph infections and common colds. Again, extensive research hasn’t been conducted, but these early studies show that there is at least some connection between guava leaves and improved health.
How to Use Guava Leaves for Better Health
Start by eating the antioxidant-rich fruit. It’s filled vitamin C, lycopene, folate, potassium, manganese, and fiber. Whether you eat the fruit and its edible seeds or make it into a jam, jelly, or other condiment and topping, the unique flavor and sweet fragrance make it a delicious addition to any diet.
- Make Guava Leaf Tea: To make guava leaf tea, boil nine leaves in five cups of water. You should boil the water until you’re down to about two-and-a-half cups of water, and should always drink the tea on an empty stomach. This will help you reap the biggest rewards. If you have access to the tree itself, try harvesting the leaves in the afternoon; the moisture content is the highest in the morning. Drying the leaves will help them last longer.
- Improve Your Skin: Because of its antimicrobial effects, guava leaf is an ideal way to help your skin and combat acne. Try using a mortar and pestle to crush fresh guava leaves. The paste can be directly applied to acne and blackheads to reduce their appearance and help clear up skin faster than traditional treatments. If you add the paste to water, you can use the mixture as a face scrub to reduce fine lines.
- Make a Hair Rinse: This doesn’t need to be a exact as the tea — boil a handful of guava leaves in about one liter of water for about 20 minutes. After the liquid has cooled to room temperature, massage the concentration into your scalp for about two hours for the best results. You can also use after shampooing, focusing on the roots and scalp, to increase the results. As with other hair loss treatments, the use of guava leaves requires consistency and patience. A difference won’t be seen overnight, but with regular use of the liquid, which also contains the vital nutrients in the leaves, you can expect to see a difference. To enhance your results, consider straining the water from the leaves and placing the leaves directly on your hair and scalp, concentrating on the roots of your hair. It will strengthen the follicles, may help clear up any surface conditions causing the hair loss, and, because of its safety, is unlikely to cause any serious reactions.
Keep This in Mind Before Using Guava Leaves
For the most part, guava is safe. Raintree Tropical Plant Database mentions that it’s called the “poor man’s apple of the tropics,” and that it can even be used for infants and toddlers affected by diarrhea. However, it has been shown to be a cardiac depressant, so individuals taking heart medications should be careful when using guava. Additionally, the benefits that make it a good choice for anyone diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes can be problematic for individuals who have been diagnosed with hypoglycemia, as it can lower their blood sugar levels too drastically. As with any supplement, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor before using guava leaves, even to treat hair loss.
Since guava is a tropical fruit, many stores featuring regional and international cuisines are likely to carry the fruit, leaves and teas, like Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, or Central American supermarkets. Dried leaves and teas are also available online from a variety of distributors. Pure, caffeine-free guava leaf tea is available, as are blends with teas that might also have caffeine.