Psidium pomiferum, L. (P. aromaticum and P. pyriferum, Blanco.) NOM. VULG.—Guayabas, Sp.; Bayabas, Guayabas, Tayabas, Tag., and other dialects; Guava, Eng.
USES.—The green fruit is acid and very astringent. The stage of development when it is best eaten raw, is just before it ripens, for then its acidity has lessened, it is not astringent and does not emit the strong odor, so disagreeable to many, that characterizes the ripe fruit. When fully ripe it is sweet, non-astringent and very bland, and this is the stage when it is best for making the jellies and preserves so popular in the Philippines.
The bark, especially that of the root, is highly astringent and a decoction of it is used for diarrhoea and as a wash for ulcers. Dr. Waitz has successfully used the following formula in treating the chronic diarrhoea of children: Root bark of guava 15 grams.
Water 180 grams.
Boil till reduced one half. Dose, a tablespoonful every 2 or 3 hours according to age.
A decoction of the shoots is very useful in stomatitis, cutaneous eruptions and ulcers. Dr. Waitz advises his formula in prolapsus recti of children. It is also of value as an injection in diarrhoea and dysentery.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A tree, about 10° high, branches square and somewhat winged towards the ends. Leaves opposite, oblong, obtuse, downy, aromatic in odor. Petiole very short. Flowers axillary, solitary, white and fragrant. Calyx adherent, the border breaking in 3, 4 or more unequal parts when the flower expands. Corolla, 5–6 petals, inserted on the calyx, curved downward. Stamens numerous, inserted in the calyx, as long as the corolla. Style same length as stamens, awl-shaped. Fruit somewhat pear-shaped, with 4 or 5 ribs that disappear at maturity, 4 or more cells each with many small, hard, irregular seeds. In the Philippines the fruit grows to the size of a small pear.
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