Guava leaves have only recently made an appearance in the hair loss treatment market. This is because several properties of these leaves have been correlated with increasing hair growth among those afflicted with alopecia.
In this post, we’ll introduce guava leaves and discuss the role they may play in hair growth.
We’ll then breakdown the latest scientific research on the topic so you can get the full story.
Let’s get started.
What are Guava Leaves?
Guava (psidium guajava) is a common tropical fruit that has over 20 edible strands and is characterized by its pink, fleshy pulp. It is found within regions of tropical and subtropical climates, such as South East Asia and South America.
Specifically, the young leaves of the guava are rich in a myriad of vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids.
In fact, the plant has been studied for its many health benefits, exemplifying its bioactive properties as an antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-cough, and anti-inflammatory among others (2).
It has even been used to alleviate cardiovascular and intestinal illnesses, as well as allergies and even as a pain mediator.
Guava Leaves and Vitamin B
Vitamin B, specifically B2 and B6, is known to play an important role in the development and maintenance of the skin and hair.
But how do we know this?
In this study, rats were injected with a chemotherapy agent called doxorubicin (3).
Doxorubicin is a chemotherapy drug well known for inducing a severe grade of hair loss.
Researchers used a combination of L-cysteine, an amino acid, and Vitamin B6 of varying doses on the afflicted rats to evaluate the effectiveness on hair growth.
They found that the rats with the highest dose of L-cysteine and vitamin B6 dosage (1600 + 160 mg/kg b.w./day) resulted in the most hair growth.
And even more recently, it is becoming more evident how important vitamin B6 is for the well being of the cell.
The guava leaves, which contain a healthy source of vitamin B6, can help create a large number of essential enzymes that are necessary for cellular metabolism. This ultimately aids the process of cellular development and conservation of the body, including within the hair follicles.
Guava leaves also provide a rich source of Vitamin B2, or riboflavin. This is great news, as riboflavin is essential for energy production and immune function (4).
That’s not all, though.
Riboflavin also metabolizes fat and protein, which is necessary for healthy hair. It is important to note that without riboflavin, vitamin B6 cannot convert into a usable form for the body.
Therefore, the introduction of B2 is vital for B6 to exert its benefit towards hair growth and maintenance.
In addition, both vitamin B2 and B6 may have crucial roles in protecting the cells from the oxidative stress and damage that results from the free radicals.
This is especially true for free radicals that are a result of abiotic stressors, or non-living external factors, such as pollution and UV radiation, thereby reducing cell apoptosis (aka cell death) (5).
Guava Leaves and Inflammation
Inflammation has been deemed responsible for causing hair loss in many individuals. When the scalp undergoes damage from free radicals, DHT, and other harmful microbes, the body’s natural response is to call in a series of cellular action that will eliminate the irritation through inflammation.
Though it is a necessary mechanism to protect the body, unfortunately for the scalp, this causes the hair to fall out prematurely and may limit itself in growth thereafter.
In this experiment, researchers sought to examine guava leaves to determine its viability in reducing inflammation (6).
More specifically, they were interested in observing the inhibitory effect of guava leave extracts on individual pro-inflammatory mediators, such as interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-a, nitric oxide synthesizer, and more.
Different inflammation markers were tested on different animals and cell cultures to try to identify where guava leaves were most effective.
The results showed the guava leave extract actually suppressed inflammatory biomarkers on multiple fronts.
For example, in mice, it stopped nearly 67 percent of death from septic shock induced by lipopolysaccharide, an important marker of inflammation (7).
In the cell cultures, it severely disrupted several specific markers of inflammation, including nitric oxide, COX-2, and prostaglandin E2.
By interrupting the chain of biological events that leads up to acute and chronic inflammation, guava leaves may act directly to mitigate attacks on hair follicles.
In this study, guava leaf extract showed properties that helped to reduce blood sugar levels after food (8). This in itself could help reduce hair loss directly as blood sugar levels and hair loss have been linked.
Guava With Other Natural Products
Can guava be used alongside other natural products for greater results? Let’s take a look!
In this particular study, a small trace of guava, along with other natural products such as morus bark, sweet flag, Korean angelica root, licorice, and pine needles were mixed together in a concentration that was turned into a liquid (9).
The mixture was then applied for ten months onto 12 human subjects that had daily hair loss of more than 100. Hair measurements, including count, length, density, and thickness were recorded after 30, 40, and 60 days.
The results found that the natural plant product that included guava contributed to a significant decrease in hair loss.
It is important to note that optimal results plateau at Day 40, and showed maintenance into Day 60.
The success may be attributed to the increasing blood flow to the follicles.
By supplying more blood, the body is able to deliver more essential nutrients to enable hair growth and decrease any harmful molecules that could induce lymphocytes, or white blood cells, to come and potentially attack the hair follicles.
How to Prepare Guava Leaves
In order to reap the full benefits that guava has to offer, take a handful of guava leaves and boil it in one liter of water for about 20 minutes. Afterward, set it aside at room temperature before straining the water and applying it to the hair from the roots to the tip, making sure to massage the scalp.
Ensure that the hair is free of any product or chemicals prior to performing this regimen. Any leftover can be stored at room temperature, preferably away from sunlight.
Although direct application to the scalp may derive the most benefit, it is also possible to consume the tea. Guava leaves may be found in either loose or tea bag form in local groceries.
Because it is natural and without chemicals, there are very little adverse effects from the guava leaves.
If consumed, however, it should be taken with caution in conjunction with certain medications, specifically cardiac and hyperglycemic, as guava leaves decreases heart rate and lowers blood sugar.
Overconsumption of the tea may also cause constipation in certain individuals. Always consult a doctor about medical concerns before starting this regimen.
There are many ingredients on the market that are touted as cure-alls. And while you may want to believe that guava leaves (or any natural ingredient, really) were cure your hair loss, you’ll be sorely disapointed.
The fact is, there is no miracle cure for thinning and balding.
Instead, you have to focus on treating the cause of your hair loss directly.
This may require consultation with a doctor, as well as a proactive treatment approach that sees you treating thinning long before it becomes a permanent problem.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that guava isn’t a great supplement to add to your current routine.