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Worried by low blood volume, try guava leaves
Guava is not every man’s favourite as a fruit. But its leaves may be indispensible to you in ensuring optimal health–ranging from diarrhoea, low blood level, weight loss, diabetes to tooth ache.
Guava leaves have been used as a medicinal herb for hundreds of years. Its leaf extracts can inhibit diarrhoea caused by bacteria, including Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli, thus making it effective in stopping diarrhoea in individuals with cholera. It has been used as a folk remedy to treat diabetes for many years because it reduces glucose levels in the blood without affecting levels of insulin.
In folk medicine, to relieve pain in wounds and sores, the leaves are crushed and applied over the affected area while in relieving toothaches, fresh guava leaves are washed and chewed on or its decoction used as a mouthwash to heal bleeding gums.
It is generally known that the consumption of a variety of local herbs and vegetables contribute significantly to the improvement of human health, in terms of preventing anaemia (low blood volume).
Within the recent decade, a good number of medicinal plants have been reported to be employed in folk medicine in the treatment of anaemia. Among these plants include pumpkin or ugwu leaves, Combretum dolichopetalum, Sorghum bicolor, Jatropha curcas and Ageratum conyzoides.
The common names of sorghum bicolor include millet and guinea corn. In Nigerian languages, it is called okababa (Yoruba), dawa (Hausa) and sorgum (Igbo). However Jatropha curcas (physic nut) is chi ni da zugu in Hausa, botuje or lapalapa in Yoruba and olulu-idu in Igbo.
Anaemia occurs when there are not enough red blood cells. This makes it difficult for the blood to carry oxygen, causing unusual tiredness and other symptoms. Essentially, the number of red blood cells can drop if there is a reduction in the number of red blood cells produced or there is an increase in the loss of red blood cells.
Scientists in their assessment of guava leaves a non-conventional method of boosting blood production, found out that it contains chemical substances that can boost blood production.
The study which in part, assessed the blood boosting effects of guava leaf extract, was carried out in male and female rats. They were administered 200 mg/kg body weight oral daily doses of aqueous extract of guava leaves for a period of 30 days. At the end of the period, the rats were dissected for the collection of blood and liver tissues which were used for the packed cell volume and liver functions investigations.
The 2010 study entitled “Effect of Aqueous Extract of Psidium Guajava Leaves on Liver Enzymes, Histological Integrity and Hematological Indices in Rats” was published in the Gastroenterology Research. It was carried out by Friday E. Uboha; Iniobong E. Okonb; Moses B. Ekongc, all based at the University of Calabar.
They found that the red blood cell counts, hematocrit and hemoglobin concentrations increased significantly on administration of the extract to both male and female rats.
The results of this study also indicated that “the extract of guava leaves may possibly serve as an acceptable blood booster in an anemic condition or prophylactic purpose”.
Although the specific mechanism(s) through which the extract ensures blood volume increase was not ascertained in this study, they suggested that the guava extract had a direct effect on the body system that produces blood cells.
They wrote, “It is possible that the extract contains such constituent(s) that can interact and stimulate the formation and secretion of erythropoietin, hematopoietic growth factors/committed stem cells.”
In conclusion, the results of the present study indicated that aqueous extract of guava leaves possess blood cell formation potential without any significant toxic effects on the liver in rats.
Given the finding that the use of the aqueous extract of guava leaves as liver tonic, as it is the practice in some part of the world, may not interfere with the functional integrity of the liver tissues, they submitted that, “these findings are, therefore, of clinical importance given the various reported medicinal potential of the plant.”
Previously, studying the effects of sweet potato leaf extract on some blood parameters in rabbits, researchers in the 2007 edition of Journal of Medicine and Biomedical Research, found, that it has direct effect on boosting blood production in the blood forming organs such as the liver and the bone marrow.
In addition, local farmers claim that goat weeds (Ageratum conyzoides) contain substantial amount of iron apart from its usefulness in stopping bleeding from a fresh wound. Ageratum conyzoides is referred to as èbéghó-Ìdòré in Edo; ágádî-ísí-awa or oso angweri ngwa in Igbo; and ákòò yúnyún or imi esu in Yoruba.
An investigation of this claim by researchers substantiated the blood building potential of the alcohol extract of goat weeds and they found that it could possibly remedy anaemia in the 2007 edition of the Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences.
Studies have reported a number of haemoglobin (Hb) regeneration effects of the pumpkin leaf extract (Telfeira occidentalis). It was shown to stabilise red blood cell membranes in subjects given pumpkin leaf extract. Moreover, pumpkin leaf protein incorporated in infant weaning foods had significant effects on iron status indices. Also, when 30 anaemic pregnant women from rural communities were given an oral mixture of pumpkin leaves, milk and raw egg three times a day for seven days, researchers observed a significant rise in mean packed cell volume (PCV). Similarly, when pumpkin leaf extract sweetened with milk was served to two severely anaemic children, scientists reported an increase in PCV.Share