Guava is one of the tropical super fruits offering high nutrients for your health. The sweetness and softness of the pulp in Guava is also what makes this fruit easy to love.  Moreover, guava is treated with less chemicals compared to other nutritious fruit such as apple and grape, making this a better option during the season. Although this tropical fruit is not always sweet, depending on how ripe it is, it always comes with a long list of nutrition your body can reap because it contains these good components like below:

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Vitamin A

You can find vitamin A in guava for maintaining your vision’s health. Not only for your vision, is vitamin A also great for the bones and white blood cells. Simply consume a cup of guava and you can give your body 1,030 vitamin A in international units.

Vitamin C

Raw guava is typically sour, but that is why this is rich in vitamin C, with 377 milligrams from only one cup. Vitamin C itself is very important for your body as it is helpful in absorbing iron while preventing from cancer since this is also a kind of antioxidant. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can fight the free radicals and protect your body cell from environmental damage.


The content of carbohydrate and fiber in guava is quite in a high amount. While carbohydrate might not be good if consumed too much, the fiber can be helpful for maintaining your digestive system since this can’t be digested and it keeps your appetite in control. It can be helpful if you are on a diet. The amount of fiber is around 20 percent of the recommended daily intake. However, the carbohydrate content is much higher with 24 grams for every one cup compared to fiber that is available for about 8 grams. Still, this tropical fruit is a good option to fill your body with the calories required.


B-complex vitamins play an important role in producing energy by helping the cells in your body performing chemical reactions. Niacin is one of the B-Complex vitamins can be found in guava and it can support the health of your nervous system. This type of B-Complex is available around 1.8 milligrams in one cup. 744 micrograms of B-5, which is great in balancing the hormone in your body, is another type of B-Complex contained in guava. One more B-Complex type is B-6 vitamin that your body can take in 182 micrograms. This vitamin supports the red blood cells synthesis.


Guava comes with a completed package of nutrients because it contains vitamin C that can help your body absorb iron better, while the iron itself is also there to absorb. So you don’t need to consume two different fruits, simply eat a cup of guava you can get both vitamin C, the absorber, and the iron, the mineral. Iron is needed for transporting oxygen in your body. Along with iron, calcium is another mineral to find, which is important for the health of your bone. Other minerals can be found in guava are potassium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and selenium.

Guava Benefits for Health

  1. Treating Diarrhea

Guava benefits for diarrhea already proven around the world, this disease happens when your bowel is loosened. This condition can be treated using astringents, which can be found in high mount in guava. By binding up the loosened bowel, some symptoms of diarrhea can be relieved. Also, astringents can make your gum and mouth fresh and tight. You can feel the freshness after chewing raw guava or guava leaves.

Containing antibacterial properties, astringents can help maintaining the health of your mouth. These properties are also effective in inhibiting the growth of microbial causing dysentery. Diarrhea treatment using guava is more completed as the potassium, vitamin V and carotenoids can make the digestive system stronger.

  1. Losing Weight

Super effective health benefits of guava is fore lose your weight and prevent obesity. Guava can be used as a healthy snack for dieters as it is zero cholesterol, low digestible carbohydrates and packed with fiber, minerals and vitamins. Eating guava would provide your body the required nutrients without adding too much carbohydrate while keeping your stomach full. To make this fruit healthier, choose raw guava, which contains less sugar than other super fruits such as apples, grapes and even oranges. You can eat it between meals to keep you energized until your lunch or dinner.

Unfortunately, not only losing weight, guava can also help you gain weight especially for thin people because the richness of nutrients helping your body have a better nutrition absorption by boosting the metabolism.

  1. Preventing Cancer

The reason why guava is great in preventing cancer is because its richness in lycopene and vitamin C. lycopene is a kind of powerful antioxidant, which is effective in lowering the risk of prostate cancer according to some studies as this is containing anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. The amount of vitamin C in guava is very rich, even richer than oranges, which is for long known as the powerhouse of vitamin C.

This vitamin also acts as antioxidants that can be helpful in boosting your immune system for more protection from free radicals. Cancer is frequently caused by free radicals, so providing the protection from them is the same as lowering the risk of cancer. More than the fruit, guava leaf can also reduce the growth of cancerous cells. Some studies have shown that the leaf is even more effective than the medicines used in modern cancer treatment. The fiber in guava is also good for cleaning toxins from the colon, maintain its health and prevent colon cancer.

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  1. Controlling Diabetes

Being rich in fiber, guava is good for controlling diabetes. Fiber can help your body absorb reduce sugar absorption so that the blood sugar level can be regulated. Also, this fruit is also low in glycemic index, which is great in inhibiting sudden sugar levels spike.

The vitamin C content in guava can also manage diabetes as it keeps your body flushing regularly. Diabetic people are mostly obesity and eating guava will help them lose some weight without adding fat and calories. Moreover, the antioxidant properties can boost the immune system leading up with a perfect combination.

  1. Relieving Cough and Cold

Guava is a natural cough and cold medicine. The astringent properties in guava can loosen the cough, reduce mucus and inhibit microbial causing the cough and cold. Also, vitamin C is very important for relieving cough and cold as it is effective in preventing the viral infections.

For curing cough and cold, you shouldn’t eat ripe guava, but go with the raw one. Make a combination of raw guava and guava leave and turn it into juice would effectively reducing the symptoms.

  1. Addressing Constipation

Both the flesh and seeds of guava can treat constipation since the flesh contains fiber and the seeds provide laxative agents. This combination can maintain the health of your bowel movement while cleaning the excretory system and intestines. The health of your body is mostly controlled by the digestive system and this is why constipation is said to lead to other seventy two types of ailments. By ensuring your digestion work properly, you can prevent other ailments coming. Consuming guava can maintain your digestive system health without having to put too much effort. You don’t have to put away the seeds, just eat them along with the flesh and get the benefits for your digestion.

  1. Regulating Blood Pressure

With zero cholesterol and rich fiber, guava is a good fruit to consume for regulating high blood pressure. Fiber plays an important role in reducing blood pressure since it can quickly turn into sugar. Also, the balancing heart beat affects the smooth blood flow in your body and this can be helped using potassium, which can be found in guava. This is more supported by vitamin C in keeping the blood vessels healthy, so the blood pressure can be well regulated.

  1. Improving Immune System

Vitamin C plays a very important role in improving immune system, but unfortunately, it is not orange that contains an extremely high level of vitamin C, but guava is. You can four times higher level of vitamin C in guava compared to orange. So simply eating one guava in medium size a day has given you two times of the recommended vitamin C daily intake.

Vitamin C is required by your body as it can provide protection from infections. It is important to consume vitamin C daily as it is soluble and flushed easily. Restoring the flushed vitamin C can be done by eating a guava a day, so it is very easy and natural.

  1. Supporting Healthy Heart

Heart disease is closely related with high blood pressure or hypertension. When the blood pressure is well regulated, heart disease can be prevented too. The amount of potassium is helpful in maintaining normal blood pressure while improving good cholesterol levels in the body.

  1. Boosting Brain Health

As has been mentioned above that guava is containing niacin and B6 vitamins, this fruit is very appropriate for supporting brain’s health. B6 is required by your brain to improve its function. Those vitamins can maintain the proper blood circulation to your brain resulting in relaxed nerves and sharpened focus.

  1. Relaxing Nervous

If you are tired of working hard in the office, get a glass of guava juice can be a great treatment for relaxing your muscles and nerves. The high level of magnesium in guava can make your nerves calmer resulting in a more relaxing feeling in your mind and body. It can help boosting your energy after feeling exhausted.

  1. Improving Nutrition Absorption

Getting all the good nutrients from foods that you eat is very important because the purpose of eating is more than just keeping your stomach full, but it is also about providing enough nutrients for your body to keep every organ and cell work properly. Guavas have a long list of nutrients including Manganese. This mineral is helpful in supporting better nutrient absorption in your body making the healthy foods that you eat can be taken properly.

  1. Maintaining Eye Health

Eye health is always connected with consuming carrot since this vegetable is known for its vitamin A content, but guava is also rich in vitamin A, which can help preventing some eye disorders. This is a great option for those who don’t like the taste of carrots since guavas are easier to eat, sweeter and softer.

  1. Preventing Scurvy

Vitamin C plays very important role for your body especially for boosting the immune system. This is why lacking of vitamin C can lead to a condition called Scurvy, where the sufferers can lose their appetite, feel pain in the bones, get fever, lose some weight, suffer bleeding gums, feel irritable and many others. don’t let your body suffering from vitamin C deficiency by keeping this vitamin fulfilled. Consuming guava is a great idea to prevent this disease from coming or curing it if you already experienced this health issue.

  1. Relieving Toothache

Relieving toothache using guava leaves is an effective natural remedy. They contain astringent that can reduce the symptoms, leaving you with a better feeling. Also, you can consume the fruit to treat swollen or bleeding gums, which are some causes of toothache. So if you have some problems in the gums, drink guava juice to prevent toothache from happening or relieving the sores if it has happened.

Guava Benefits for Beauty

  1. Slowing Down Aging Signs

The first benefits of guava for beauty is for antiaging agent. The richness of antioxidants in guava with the existence of potassium and vitamin A, B, C. these nutrients are perfect properties for neutralizing free radicals, which can make your skin aging faster. You might not free from the aging signs since they can come naturally as you are older, but you can prevent them from happening too early. Moreover, guava contains lycopene that serves as toxin protector so that the healthy cells won’t get damage and cause premature aging signs to come up.

  1. Addressing Skin Problems

The high level of vitamin C in guava is excellent for your skin health as it plays an important role in collagen generation. Collagen is highly required by skin since it acts as the firmer that keeps your skin young. This super fruit also contains vitamin K that can prevent your skin from irritation and redness by improving your blood coagulation. In the other word, your dark circles can be properly treated too.

  1. Hydrating Skin

To keep your skin hydrated, you need to drink plenty of water a day. Support it by eating guava would make your skin even more hydrated. Dry skin leads to several problems, so you need to provide enough water and guava can help you providing it with its 81 percent water contained in the fruit.

  1. Improving Complexion

Your skin complexion can be improved by using guava as a face scrub. Combine mashed guava flesh and an egg yolk to scrub your face and leave it there for about 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. You can do this natural scrubbing once or twice in a week to improve your skin complexion as the scrubs can remove the dead skin cells. As a result, your skin will be fresher and more radiant.

  1. Toning Skin

Tone your skin with guava is very easy to do as it is packed with many kinds of minerals and vitamins. Many toners at the market are containing astringents and you can find them naturally in guava. Not only protecting your skin from some common problems like pimples and blemishes, guava can also tighten your skin and enhance the texture. Brew some guava leaves and raw guava to use the decoction for washing your face can serve your skin a perfect, natural toner.

  1. Treating Blackheads and Dark spots

Removing dark spots can be very frustrating, but you can find the solution from guava, not the fruit, but the leaves. Eat the fruit and mash the leaves to create a paste. Make it smooth enough to apply to your dark spots and even acne to cure them and get them away. Do this regularly daily to get the best result. For the blackheads, you also need the fruit combined with the leaves and little water. Make a scrub using this combination and apply it to your nose or anywhere you find blackheads appeared.

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  1. Providing UV Protection

The amount of lycopene in guava is high enough, with around 2.9 grams. As a kind of antioxidant, lycopene provides protection for your skin from UV rays. UV rays exposure has been long known leading to some skin damage, so protecting it can keep your skin healthier.

  1. Curing Acne

fighting with acne is frustrating, but sometimes the remedy is as simple as drinking a glass of guava juice. The astringent in guava is helpful in addressing many skin problems including acne, so you don’t have to worry dealing with that annoying thing. Not only the fruit, the leaves are also great in curing acne with its vitamin C content.

  1. Combatting Hair Fall

The richness of vitamin C in guava is good for supporting the growth of your healthy hair. With healthier hair, hair loss problem is surely easy to handle. Guava can be used as a good prevention from hair fall, but if you already suffered from this, then you can use the leaves as the natural remedy. Just boil some of them with water about one liter and let it boiled for 20 minutes. Leave the water to cool down, strain and apply it to the roots and scalp for supporting the hair growth and stopping the hair fall.

  1. Reducing Allergic Reactions

Crushing some guava leaves and apply it to your allergic problem on the skin can reduce the symptoms. Mostly allergic problem comes with itchiness and once this remedy applied, the feeling could be better. Not only allergic reactions, itchiness caused by insect bites have the same effect if properly treated with crushed guava leaves.

Guava Side Effects

Guava is not commonly used as medicines since this fruit is just treated as a healthy, nutritious food to consume. So, severe side effects of consuming guava are still unknown. The most obvious side effect can happen to pregnant women as eating too much guavas can lead to diarrhea. So there should be limitation in consuming guavas during pregnancy. Also, guava is best consumed in its natural form, in a kind of whole fruit since it is still packed with the carried nutrients. Whether you are pregnant or not, guavas shouldn’t be overeaten since it is rich in vitamin C in fiber. Moreover, there is no food in this world you can overeat, so count how much you should eat it and stop when you have enough.




Health Effects of Psidium guajava L. Leaves: An Overview of the Last Decade


Today, there is increasing interest in discovering new bioactive compounds derived from ethnomedicine. Preparations of guava (Psidium guajava L.) leaves have traditionally been used to manage several diseases. The pharmacological research in vitro as well as in vivo has been widely used to demonstrate the potential of the extracts from the leaves for the co-treatment of different ailments with high prevalence worldwide, upholding the traditional medicine in cases such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and parasitic infections. Moreover, the biological activity has been attributed to the bioactive composition of the leaves, to some specific phytochemical subclasses, or even to individual compounds. Phenolic compounds in guava leaves have been credited with regulating blood-glucose levels. Thus, the aim of the present review was to compile results from in vitro and in vivo studies carried out with guava leaves over the last decade, relating the effects to their clinical applications in order to focus further research for finding individual bioactive compounds. Some food applications (guava tea and supplementary feed for aquaculture) and some clinical, in vitro, and in vivo outcomes are also included.

Keywords: Psidium guajava L. (guava) leaves, traditional medicine, in vitro, in vivo, phenolic compounds, pharmacology

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1. Introduction

Ethnomedicine, which refers to the study of traditional medical practice, is an integral part of the culture and the interpretation of health by indigenous populations in many parts of the world [1]. For example, Indian Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine are among the most enduring folk medicines still practiced. These systems try to promote health and improve the quality of life, with therapies based on the use of indigenous drugs of natural origin [2]. Given that plants have been widely used as herbal medicines, several approaches are now being carried out to discover new bioactive compounds [3].

Psidium guajava L., popularly known as guava, is a small tree belonging to the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) [4]. Native to tropical areas from southern Mexico to northern South America, guava trees have been grown by many other countries having tropical and subtropical climates, thus allowing production around the world [5]. Traditionally, preparations of the leaves have been used in folk medicine in several countries, mainly as anti-diarrheal remedy [6]. Moreover, other several uses have been described elsewhere on all continents, with the exception of Europe [6,7,8]. Figure 1 summarizes the main traditional uses of guava leaves in the main producer countries. Depending upon the illness, the application of the remedy is either oral or topical. The consumption of decoction, infusion, and boiled preparations is the most common way to overcome several disorders, such as rheumatism, diarrhea, diabetes mellitus, and cough, in India, China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh [6,7,8,9], while in Southeast Asia the decoction is used as gargle for mouth ulcers [6,8,9] and as anti-bactericidal in Nigeria [8,9]. For skin and wound applications, poultice is externally used in Mexico, Brazil, Philippines, and Nigeria [6,7,8,9]. In addition, chewing stick is used for oral care in Nigeria [9].


Figure 1

Main traditional uses of guava leaves in the principal producer countries.

Currently, there is increasing interest in studying of plants regarding their chemical components of bioactive compounds, their effects on several diseases, and their use for human health as functional foods and/or nutraceuticals [10]. In recent years, guava leaves tea and some complementary guava products are available in several shops in Japan as well as on the Internet [11], because guava leaf phenolic compounds have been claimed to be food for specified health use (FOSHU), since they have beneficial health effects related to the modulation of blood–sugar level [12]. Thus, the aim of this review was to summarize the biological activities, in vitro and in vivo, studied in the last decade on P. guajava L. leaves, relating them to the international classification of diseases provided by the World Health Organization. In addition, the beneficial effects of some applications of guava leaves are also been examined. For this purpose, a comprehensive review of the literature from 2004 to 2016 was done, although more recent studies have also been included. Reviewed journals, websites, books, and several databases as “Scopus”, “Google Scholar”, “PubMed”, and “ScienceDirect”, were used to compile them. To ensure that relevant works are included, terms such as “Psidium guajava”, “guava”, “leaves”, “in vitro”, “in vivo”, “clinical”, “trial”, “food application”, and those related with the diseases such as “bacteria”, “cancer”, “blood”, “glycaemia”, and “oral”, among others were matched in the search. Only complete available works published in English, Spanish, and Portuguese have been included.

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2. Pharmacological Properties

2.1. In Vitro Studies

2.1.1. Infectious and Parasitic Diseases

Aqueous and organic extracts of guava leaves have been demonstrated to have antibacterial activity due to an inhibitory effect against antibiotics-resistant clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus strains [13,14]. Despite using the same diffusion method, differences are noticed in their inhibition zones, as shown in Table 1, probably due to extraction method or the dose assayed. A methanol extract exerted antibacterial effects, preventing the growth of different strains from several bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus spp., and Shigella spp. [15]. Furthermore, different extracts of the leaves such as aqueous, acetone–water, methanolic, spray-dried extracts, and the essential oil, showed potential inhibitory activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and fungi [16,17,18,19,20]. In these works, it is noticeable that Gram-positive bacteria exhibited greater inhibition zones and minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) than Gram-negative. Concerning the anti-fungal activity, less inhibition than bacteria is reported [16,17], except for Candida krusei and Candida glabrata which provided higher inhibition [18], and for Aspergillus spp. for which no activity was found [16] (Table 1). Moreover, Bezerra et al. [21] evaluated the effect of guava leaves on different bacterial strains, concluding that the synergistic action between the leaves and various antibiotics boosted its anti-bacterial activity. This effect was also observed by Betoni et al. [22] with target drugs for the protein synthesis, cell-wall synthesis, and folic acid. However, the latter did not find synergic effect with gentamicin, perhaps because the time of maceration was lower than the time used by Bezerra et al. [21], and also the solvent was different (Table 1).


Table 1

In vitro assays against infectious and parasitic diseases.

Metwally et al. [23] associated the antimicrobial activity against some bacteria and fungi with five flavonoids isolated from the leaves. This effect was also related to the concentration of tannins in the leaves [24] and to the content of gallic acid and catechin [19]. Additionally, the activity against bacterial and fungal pathogens was traced to betulinic acid and lupeol [25]. In fact, these works are focused on the activity of these compounds, rather than on the effect of the whole extract of the leaves.

In addition, leaf acetone extract of P. guajava has also exhibited moderate acaricidal and insecticidal activities causing the dead of Hippobosca maculata adult fly [26].

Furthermore, Adeyemi et al. [27] suggested that an ethanol extract from the leaves function as a trypanocide agent, since its inhibition of Trypanosoma brucei brucei growth proved similar to that of the reference drugs. Kaushik et al. [28] proposed the leaves as an anti-malaria agent, due to their inhibitory activity and the resistance indices. Furthermore, the effect of guava leaf essential oil against toxoplasmosis caused by the growth of Toxoplasma gondii were reported [29]. Additionally, guava leaves were proposed for the treatment of diarrhea caused by enteric pathogens, since it showed significant inhibitory activity against Vibrio cholerae and V. parahemolyticus, Aeromonas hydrophila, Escherichia coli, Shigella spp. and Salmonella spp. [30,31,32]. It is suppose that the same plant origin and similar extraction procedure makes that these works show comparable inhibition zones for the bacteria tested [30,31], in contrast to the leaves of India and Bangladesh, where MIC values did not show any concordance [31,32] (Table 1). In addition, a reduction was described for S. flexneri and V. cholera invasion and for their adherence to the human laryngeal epithelial cells, and for the production of E. coli heat labile toxin and cholera toxin, as well as their binding to ganglioside monosialic acid enzyme [33]. Moreover, other studies also demonstrated the antimicrobial effect of some bacteria that cause gastrointestinal disorders by different methods [34,35]. In contrast to previous results [20,31], no inhibition of the hydrodistillation and n-hexane extract was found against E. coli Salmonella spp. [31] (Table 1).

Furthermore, guava leaf tea helped control of the growth of influenza viruses, including oseltamivir-resistant strains, via the prevention of viral entry into host cells, probably due to the presence of flavonols [36].

2.1.2. Neoplasms

All the results published regarding anti-cancer properties have been summarized in Table 2.


Table 2

In vitro studies against neoplasm.

Kawakami et al. [37] evaluated the anti-proliferative activity of guava leaf extract in human-colon adenocarcinoma cell line (COLO320DMA). These authors found that the extract depressed the proliferation rate due to the presence of quercetin and quercetin glycosides. Moreover, different extracts were tested on three cancer cell lines (cervical cancer (HeLa), breast cancer (MDA-MB-231), and osteosarcoma (MG-63)). The extracts showed no anti-proliferative activity towards HeLa cells, although they displayed activity against MDA-MB-231 and MG-63, the ether extract being the most effective, followed by methanol and water extracts. However, ether and methanol extracts presented a cytotoxic effect on non-malignant cell Madine Darby canine kidney (MDCK) [38]. In contrast, an ethanol extract from the stem and leaves reported significant anti-tumor activity on HeLa and colorectal carcinoma (RKO-AS45-1), whereas its effect was less significant for a lung fibroblast cell line (Wi-26VA4) [39]. This difference could be due to the origin of the leaves, compounds in the steam, or even to the extraction method selected. In this context, an organic guava leaf extract provided molecular evidence of cytotoxic or anti-tumor activity in human breast carcinoma benign cells (MCF-7) and also in murine fibrosarcoma (L929sA) [40]. A fact worthy to comment is that the difference noticed in the cytotoxic effect on MDA-MB-231 cell line might be because the extraction differs [38,40]. Furthermore, the aqueous extract of budding guava leaves displayed an anti-tumor effect against human prostate epithelial (PZ-HPV-7) and carcinoma (DU-145) cells in view of the cell-killing-rate coefficients, as well as anti-angiogenesis and anti-migration activities, respectively [41,42].

Regarding the bioactivity of terpenes from guava, an enriched mixture of guajadial, psidial A, and psiguadial A and B proved anti-proliferative effect for nine human cancer lines: leukemia (K-562), breast (MCF-7), resistant ovarian cancer (NCI/ADR-RES), lung (NCI-H460), melanoma (UACC-62), prostate (PC-3), colon (HT-29), ovarian (OVCAR-3), and kidney (786-0) [43]. The apoptotic effect of β-caryophyllene oxide (CPO) on MCF-7 and PC-3 cell lines was also demonstrated because of its ability to interfere with multiple signaling cascades involved in tumor genesis [44]. Moreover, the essential oil from guava leaves exerted an anti-proliferative effect on human-mouth epidermal carcinoma (KB) and murine leukemia (P388) cell lines [45], while a hexane fraction of the leaves showed a cytotoxic effect against leukemia (Kasumi-1) cancer-cell line at higher half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50), probably due to a less concentration of the bioactive compounds of the leaves [46]. Finally, cytotoxic and apoptotic effect in PC-3 cells and apoptotic effect in LNCaP cells was reported. The lack of cytotoxic effect in LNCaP might be because the cell growth is androgen-dependent, while in PC-3 is androgen-independent. [47]. Comparing these data with those reported by Park et al. [44], high concentration is needed for causing cell death, and a weak effect is found on early apoptotic cell. The main difference between these works is the composition of the extract, so it could be concluded that an antagonist effect is produced amongst the isolated compounds by Ryu et al. [47].

2.1.3. Diseases of the Blood and Immune System

A fermented guava leaf extract was tested in mouse macrophage (RAW 264.7) cells. The results confirmed its potential to decrease the expression of lipopolysaccharide-inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 proteins level, two pro-inflammatory mediators, through the down-regulation of nuclear factor-κB transcriptional activity (NF-κB) [48]. This biological activity was also reported in other works [40,49,50]. Briefly, Jang et al. [49] evaluating the prostaglandin E2 production found that the inhibitory effect was highly correlated to the total phenolic content. Kaileh et al. [40] suggested that the suppression of the nuclear factor-κB could be at the transcriptional level because of the lack of binding between nuclear factor-κB and DNA in murine fibrosarcoma (L929sA) and two breast-cancer cell lines (MDA-MB231 and MCF7). At the same time, Jang et al. [50] found that the lipopolysaccharide-induced production of nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 was due to the ability of guava leaf extract to suppress phosphorylation in protein expression. Moreover, Sen et al. [51] verified the inhibition of nuclear factor-κB activation in Labeo rohita head-kidney macrophages by the flavonoid fraction of guava leaf extract and Jang et al. [52] improved the inhibition of lipopolysaccharide-induced prostaglandin E2 and nitric oxide production by optimizing of the extraction conditions. Furthermore, methanol and ethanol leaf extracts also showed the inhibition of hypotonicity-induced lysis of erythrocyte membrane [53]. Meanwhile, Laily et al. [54] suggested the use of guava leaves as immune-stimulant agent because they modulated the lymphocyte proliferation response.

The results for this activity, confirm the potential of guava leaves as an anti-inflammatory treatment and as immune-system stimulatory agent. As is shown in Table 3, a general trend is reported in every work, although the differences noticed in the data are probably due to the different extraction method and to the doses assayed, or even to the harvesting time of the leaves. However, the mechanism should be further studied since two different pathways are suggested for the down-regulation of NF-κB.


Table 3

In vitro assays against diseases of the blood and immune system.

2.1.4. Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases

Several works have focused on elucidating the anti-diabetic compounds present in guava leaves (Table 4). Although the origin of the leaves remains different, the presence of these compounds has demonstrated the hypoglycemic effect of the leaves via different assays. However, the main mode of action seems to be due to an inhibition of the enzymes related to this activity.


Table 4

Compounds in guava leaves with anti-diabetic properties in in vitro assays.

The anti-glycative potential of the guava leaves was evaluated, with the conclusion that the extract inhibited, in vitro, the formation of advanced glycation end-products formation [55]. Moreover, the aqueous guava leaf extract, in an albumin/glucose model system, also exerted the same effect and indeed inhibited Amadori products. Gallic acid, catechin and quercetin exhibited over 80% inhibitory effects whereas ferulic acid showed no activity [56]. In another study, seven pure flavonoid compounds (quercetin, kaempferol, guaijaverin, avicularin, myricetin, hyperin, and apigenin) showed strong inhibitory activities against sucrase, maltase, and α-amylase, and a clear synergistic effect against α-glucosidase [57]. Moreover, Deguchi and Miyazaki [58] suggested that the component that inhibited the in vitro activities of α-glucosidase enzymes in guava extract was a polymerized polyphenol. In addition, polysaccharides from guava leaves also exhibited α-glucosidase inhibition [59].

Eidenberger et al. [60] demonstrated the dose-dependent inhibition of guava leaf ethanol extracts on dipeptidyl-peptidase-IV due to the individual flavonol-glycosides: peltatoside, hyperoside, methylquercetin hexoside, isoquercitrin, quercetin/morin pentoside, guaijaverin, and quercetin/morin pentoside. Additionally, the individual flavonol-glycosides found in the guava extract reported no significant differences compared with the uptake of the whole guava extract into epithelial cells (CaCo-2) [60]. In the same cell line, the inhibition of fructose uptake was also tested by Lee et al. [61], who confirmed that catechin and quercetin contributed to the inhibition of glucose transporters. In addition, the enhancement of aqueous guava leaf extract was investigated with regard to glucose uptake in rat clone 9 hepatocytes. Moreover, quercetin was proposed as the active compound responsible for promoting glucose uptake in liver cells and contributing to the alleviation of hypoglycemia in diabetes [62]. Furthermore, Basha and Kumari [63] also estimated the glucose uptake of different extracts. The methanol extract of guava leaves was found to be the most efficient in lowering glucose levels. Basha et al. [64] demonstrated the ability of guavanoic-acid-mediated gold nanoparticles to inhibit the protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B activity.

Indeed, a guava leaf ethanol extract was tested in pre-adipocyte cell line (3T3-L1), which showed its ability to inhibit adipocyte differentiation via down-regulation of adipogenic transcription factors and markers, and hence may prevent obesity in vivo [65]. To evaluate the potential of the leaves on glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis, an aqueous extract was used in insulin-resistant mouse (FL83B) cells. The results confirmed the improved expression and phosphorylation of insulin signaling-related proteins, promoting glycogen synthesis and glycolysis pathways. In fact, this work provides new insights into the mechanisms through which the guava extract improves insulin resistance in the hepatocytes [66]. In the same cell line, vescalagin was postulated as the active component that may alleviate the insulin resistance in mouse hepatocytes [67].

In this sense, the latest study made in L6 myoblasts and myotubes cells confirmed that the glucose uptake recruitment followed a wortmannin-dependent pathway. In addition, guava leaves also inhibited aldose reductase activity, up-regulated gene- and protein-level expression of several insulin receptors and also improved cellular-level glucose uptake [68].

2.1.5. Diseases of the Circulatory System

Cardiovascular disorders have been related to the endothelial cell damage that causes atherosclerosis. In this sense, extracts from budding guava leaves demonstrated a protective, in vitro, effect in bovine aortal endothelial cells, delaying low-density lipoprotein oxidation and preventing oxidized low-density lipoprotein cytotoxicity [69]. A similar effect was also noted in human umbilical-vein endothelial cell due to the ability of saving cell-viability reduction, suppressing reactive oxygen species production and nitric oxide release, as well as inhibiting the expression of NF-κB [70]. Moreover, budding guava leaves also showed their ability as an anticoagulant in plasma, since they reduced thrombin clotting time and inhibited the activity of antithrombin III. Thus, they could help to reduce the development of cardiovascular complications [71].

In addition, flavonoids and phenolic acids in the leaves could contribute to the prevention and amelioration of gout and hypertension, since, in rat-tissues homogenates, they inhibit the activity of two enzymes related to the development of both diseases (xanthine oxidase and angiotensin 1-converting enzymes) [72].

2.1.6. Diseases of the Digestive System

Guaijaverin, isolated from guava leaves, displayed high inhibitory activity against Streptococcus mutans. In fact, guaijaverin exhibited its ability as an anti-plaque agent, becoming an alternative for oral care [73]. Furthermore, guava leaves showed greater bactericidal effect on early (Streptococcus sanguinis) and late (S. mutans) colonizers compared to Mangifera indica L. and Mentha piperita L. leaves, whereas, when they are compared with the plant extract mixture, the effect is slightly lower. By contrast, guava leaves showed similar and higher anti-adherence effect than the plant mixture [74]. In another study, the whole extract was tested on the cell-surface hydrophobicity of selected early settlers and primary colonizers of dental plaque, showing its ability to alter and disturb the surface characteristics of the agents, making them less adherent [75,76,77], and also delayed in the generation of dental biofilm by targeting growth, adherence, and co-aggregation [78]. This property could be due to the presence of flavonoids and tannins detected in P. guajava [79]. Shekar et al. [80] also confirmed the use of the leaves as anti-plaque agents against Streptococcus mutans, S. sanguinis, and S. salivarius. Kwamin et al. [81] discovered the effectiveness of guava leaf extract in the leukotoxin neutralization of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, leading it to be considered as a possible agent for the treatment of aggressive forms of periodontitis. In addition, extracts rich in guava flavonoids have demonstrated their potential for preventing dental caries due to the growth inhibition of the oral flora [82]. Moreover, its soothing of toothache has been verified based on the analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial activity properties [83] and it has been reviewed positively as an adjutant for treating periodontal disease [84].

Concerning the liver disorders, the cytotoxic and hepato-protective effects of guava leaves were reported. Studies carried out in clone 9 cells treated with different extracts of the leaves showed that only ethanol and acetone extracts tend to have cytotoxicity effect at high concentrations. Moreover, the ethanol extract showed hepato-protective activity, although the hot-water extract reported greater effect and lower cytotoxicity [85].

Table 5 compiles the methodology followed and the results reported in the present works. It is important to keep in mind that the origin, the selection of the extraction method or solvent, and the concentration of the extract tested generally provide different data. For example, comparing data for inhibition zones, best results are noticed at long maceration time in acetone, which seems to be a better extracting solvent than ethanol [77,78,80,82]. Hydrophobicity depends on the origin of the leaves, the extraction method, and the concentration of the extract tested, and it also depends on the lipophilic (index > 70%) or hydrophilic nature of the strain [73,75,79]. Finally, minimum inhibitory concentration relies on all factors.


Table 5

In vitro assays against diseases related to the digestive system.

2.1.7. Diseases of the Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue

Qa’dan et al. [86] described the antimicrobial effect of a leaf extract against the main developer of acne lesions, Propionibacterium acnes, and other organisms isolated from acne lesions. The antimicrobial activity was also displayed against pathogenic bacteria associated with wound, skin, and soft-tissue infections [87]. Furthermore, antifungal properties have also been studied by Padrón-Márquez et al. [88]. The acetone and methanol extracts displayed relevant activity against dermatophytic fungi, and thus could be considered as new agents against skin disease. Furthermore, phenols from the leaves were tested on human-skin fibroblast cells and showed antifungal properties [89].

In addition, the tyrosinase inhibitory activities of 4 different parts (branch, fruit, leaf, and seed) of guava, extracted with acetone, ethanol, methanol, and water were tested by You et al. [90] who reported that the ethanol extract from the leaves reached the highest activity. Therefore, the leaves might be appropriate for both boosting the whitening of skin and inhibiting browning. In addition, in a human keratinocyte cell line, an ethyl acetate extract showed a positive effect on atopic dermatitis via the inhibition of cytokine-induced Th2 chemokine expression [91].

Lee et al. [92] carried out the first electrophysiological study based on ultraviolet (UV)-induced melanogenesis with guava leaves. The authors suggested the use of guava leaves for both direct and indirect prevention of skin melanogenesis caused by UV radiation. In fact they demonstrate that methanolic guava leaves extract inhibits tyrosinase, that is the key enzyme in melanin synthesis, and ORAI1 channel that has shown to be associated with UV-induced melanogenesis.

2.1.8. Other Activities Related to Several Diseases

An aqueous guava extract showed its ability to decrease the radiolabeling of blood constituent due to an antioxidant action and/or because it alters the membrane structures involved in ion transport into cells [93]. Guava leaves also have been demonstrated to possess anti-allergic effects in rat mast (RBL-2H3) cell line by the inhibition of degranulation and cytokine production, as well as blocking high-affinity immunoglobulin E-receptor signaling [94].

2.2. In Vivo Studies

2.2.1. Infectious and Parasitic Diseases

After checking the effect of guava leaf extract, in vitro, against Aeromonas hydrophila, in vivo experiments were carried out in tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), indicating the potential use of P. guajava as environmentally friendly antibiotic [95]. The leaves also had anti-viral and anti-bacterial activity towards shrimp (Penaeus monodon) pathogens such as yellow-head virus, white spot syndrome virus, and Vibrio harvey. In addition, guava leaf extract improved the activities of prophenoloxidase and nitric oxide synthase in serum, and of superoxide dismutase, acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase, and lysozyme in serum and hepatopancreas [96].

Furthermore, guava leaves have been suggested for managing sleeping sickness, since they exhibited trypanocidal effect in albino rats [97]; the extract ameliorate the tissue-lipid peroxidation associated to trypanosomosis, as well as raising the level of the glutathione concentration [98]. The leaves also showed anti-malarial effect in BALB/c mice infected with Plasmodium berghei via parasitemia suppression [99]. Moreover, guava leaves are also recommended for treating infectious diarrhea since they prevented intestinal colonization of Citrobacter rodentium in Swiss albino mice [100]. In chicks, guava leaf extract enabled the control of diarrhea produced by E. coli and reduced the severity of its symptomatology [101]. In mice, the improvement of cholera symptoms caused by V. cholerae, a human pathogen, was also confirmed by Shittu et al. [102].

In addition, anti-helminthic properties towards gastro-intestinal nematodes have been found, as a result of the presence of condensed tannins in the guava plant, which raised the levels of hemoglobin, packed cell volume, total protein, globulin, glucose, and calcium, and lowered the levels of blood urea [103].

All the results published regarding in vivo anti-bacterial properties have been summarized in Table 6.


Table 6

In vivo anti-bacterial effect.

2.2.2. Neoplasms

Only one study is available on the anti-tumor effect that could be related to the phenolic composition of guava leaves. An ethanol extract of the leaves was administrated to B6 mice after inoculation of melanoma cells. The results suggested that the extract had a vaccine effect, but not a therapeutic effect, against tumors through by depressing T regulatory cells [104].

Moreover, the meroterpene-enriched fraction of guava leaves, containing guajadial, psidial A, and psiguadial A and B, was evaluated in vivo in a solid Ehrlich murine breast-adenocarcinoma model. The results suggested that these compounds may act as phytoestrogens, presenting tissue-specific antagonistic and agonistic activity on estrogen receptors [43]. These data partially confirmed the results in vitro obtained by Ryu et al. [47].

2.2.3. Diseases of the Blood and Immune System

Among blood diseases, anemia indicates a failure in the immune system. In this sense, guava extract presented an anti-anemic effect in trypanosomosis-infected Wistar rats, improving the values of hemoglobin, packed cell volume, red-blood cell counts, mean corpuscular volume, and mean concentration hemoglobin count while decreasing white-blood cell and neutrophil levels [105]. Moreover, the same trend in the hematological analyses was also recorded in mice. After the administration of guava leaf extract, no alterations on the erythron were detected [106]. Nevertheless, results differ because subjects under study are different, also the duration of the treatment, the extraction method and the dose assayed (Table 7).


Table 7

In vivo studies against diseases of the blood and immune system.

The anti-inflammatory response of the leaves was dose-dependent in induced hyperalgesia in Sprague-Dawley rats, decreasing in paw-withdrawal latency, and significantly improving the survival rate of mice with lethal endotoxemia [50]. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory activity of aqueous and acetone–water extracts of the leaves was also confirmed in Swiss mice by reducing the amount of leukocyte migration. The acetone–water extract also exhibited peripheral analgesic activity, probably by blocking the effect or the release of endogenous substances that excite pain-nerve endings [19]. The analgesic effect in albino rats was also reported. The ethanol extract reduced the writhing response [107], and a jumping response was found after the administration of a distilled extract (combination of methanol and aqueous extracts) [108]. In this case, the writhing response for both Swiss mice and Wistar rats seems to be comparable, although the dose assayed is completely different (Table 7).

2.2.4. Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases

Guava leaves have shown their potential against one of the diseases with the highest incidence level worldwide, diabetes mellitus, and also towards biochemical changes caused by the disease. In spite of being leaves from different countries, treatments in different subjects or even different data, the same trend is followed in these works (Table 8).


Table 8

Endocrine and metabolic in vivo assays with guava leaves.

The effect of aqueous guava leaf extract was investigated in rabbits, fed a high-cholesterol diet. Treatment with guava leaves reduced the plasma-cholesterol level, caused a remarkable spike in high-density lipoprotein, a dip in low-density lipoprotein levels, and significantly reduced the associated hyperglycemia. In addition, the extract showed hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic potentials in hypercholesterolemic rabbits [109]. Furthermore, guava leaves reduced oxidative stress induced by hypercholesterolemia in rats [110].

In addition, the anti-diabetic effect was also evaluated in Leprdb/Leprdb mice and significant blood-glucose-lowering effects were observed. In addition, histological analysis revealed a significant reduction in the number of lipid droplets, which, furthermore, at least in part, could be mediated via the inhibition of protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B [111].

In streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, the administration of oral doses of aqueous and ethanol extracts from guava leaves could alter the Ca:Mg ratio [112]; however, in low-dose streptozotocin and nicotinamide-induced Sprague-Dawley diabetic rats, long-term administration of guava leaf extracts raised the plasma-insulin level, the glucose utilization, and the activity of hepatic enzymes [113]. Moreover, the leaves also lowered blood glucose levels and decreased protein glycation [55].

In agreement with the above, a lower blood-glucose level was also reported in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Additionally, no side effects were observed in certain liver enzymes (alkaline phosphatase and aspartate aminotransferase) whereas alanine aminotransferase activity declined [114]. In alloxan-induced diabetic rats, a decrease was also found in blood glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol after 21 days of treatment with guava leaf ethanolic extract [115].

Among the works that evaluated only biochemical parameters, guava leaf extract promoted changes due to an alteration on the activity of alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and acid phosphatase in the kidney, liver, and serum [106,116]. In addition, Adeyemi and Akanji [117] evaluated the effect of daily administration of guava leaves, demonstrating the alteration of the serum homeostasis and the pathological variations in rat tissues.

2.2.5. Diseases of the Circulatory System

Ademiluyi et al. [118] assessed the lipid peroxidation in rats after checking the antihypertensive effect, in vitro, of red and white guava leaves. The work concluded that the activity may be related to rosmarinic acid, eugenol, carvacrol, catechin, and caffeic acid since they were the major constituents of their extracts. In addition, this activity was supported by the biphasic and contractile effect on rat vascular smooth muscles [119,120].

In addition, atherosclerosis development was reduced in apoE-knockout mice by guava leaf extracts. In fact, the effect was connected to the presence of ethyl gallate and quercetin [121,122]. In streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, vascular reactivity to vasoconstrictor agents was reduced, as was vessel atherosclerosis [112]. Furthermore, Soman et al. [123] found that an ethyl acetate fraction of guava leaves reduced cardiac hypertrophy in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats due to an anti-glycative effect.

2.2.6. Diseases of the Digestive System

In the digestive system, formed by the gastrointestinal tract plus the group organs necessary for the digestion, guava leaves have demonstrated activity towards different parts.

On the one hand, the leaves have shown the ability to protect the stomach against ulceration by inhibiting gastric lesions, reducing gastric secretory volume, and acid secretion, and raising the gastric pH [124,125,126]. This anti-ulcer activity, resulting from the protection of the mucosa, was related to the flavonoids in the leaves [127]. Despite of the subject employed for the assay, similar data are reported in these works (Table 9). The anti-diarrheal activity of guava leaf aqueous extract was evaluated on experimentally induced diarrhea in rodents. The extract performed in the same way as the control drugs, offering protection, inhibiting intestinal transit, and delaying gastric emptying [128]. Another study attributed this activity to a dual action between the antimicrobial effect and the reduction in gastrointestinal motility ability of the extract [129]. In rabbits, the anti-spasmodic effects were connected to a calcium channel blocking activity, which explains the inhibitory effect on gut motility. The anti-diarrheal protection was also tested in mice [130]. As is shown in Table 9, the anti-diarrheal activity is dose-dependent, although the protection varied depending on the subjects.


Table 9

In vivo assays for digestive system related diseases.

On the other hand, guava leaves exhibited hepato-protective effect due to the reduction of serum parameters of hepatic enzymes markers and histopathological alterations in the acute liver damage induced in rats [131,132,133,134,135]. Here, a dose-dependent effect is also found. However, decoction of the leaves seems to be the best option for the extraction of the compounds that exhibited this activity (Table 9).

2.2.7. Diseases of the Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue

Guava leaves have been suggested as a therapeutic agent to control pruritus in atopic dermatitis. The improvement of the skin lesions was due to a reduction in serum immunoglobulin E level and in the eczematous symptoms [136]. Moreover, the epithelium was repaired with connective tissue and absence or moderate presence of inflammatory cells by the leaves. As a result, the leaves exhibited wound healing properties [137]. Furthermore, guava leaf extract was tested on rat skin, and exhibited inhibitory activity towards an active cutaneous anaphylaxis reaction [138].

2.2.8. Other Activities Related to Several Diseases

Triterpenoids from guava leaves were suggested as a potential therapeutic approach for treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy, as they enhanced physical functions and offered neuronal protection towards the suppression of the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines [139]. In addition, the leaves can act as radio modulators for cancer patients because by preventing DNA damage and apoptosis. [140], as well as protective agents by restoring the normal values of sperm viability, sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm-head abnormality caused by caffeine-induced spermatotoxicity [141].

Moreover, the consumption of guava leaf tea was evaluated, in vivo, in the inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A-mediated drug metabolism by the interaction between guava tea and several drugs [11,142]. Matsuda et al. [11] investigated the consequence of the ingestion of guava tea for two weeks in rats, and the effect with an anxiolytic drug. The short-term consumption of the tea had little effect on the assays performed. This weak influence was due to the absence of interaction between the tea and midazolam in the metabolism studied. In addition, two in vivo studies were made in rats, to evaluate the interaction of guava leaf tea with an anti-coagulant drug (warfarin) [142]. Kaneko et al. [141] suggested that because the tea contained compounds that block the affinity between the enzyme and phenolic compounds of the tea, long-term administration showed a low probability of causing drug-metabolizing enzymes. Moreover, short-term administration revealed that the tea did not interfere with coagulation, meaning that the tea consumption did not alter the pharmacological effect and displayed no side effects.

2.3. Clinical Trials

To test the effect of guava leaf extract, several randomized clinical trials have been conducted during the last two decades, although only two studies are available in the last decade. One of the studies consisted of evaluating the effect of guava leaf extract pills on primary dysmenorrhea disorder. For this, 197 women were divided into four groups, and each received a different dosage: 3 and 6 mg extract/day, 300 mg placebo/day and 1200 mg ibuprofen/day. The administration took place over five days during three consecutive cycles. The results demonstrated that 6 mg extract/day alleviated menstrual pain and could replace the use of medicaments like ibuprofen. In fact, guava leaves could be used as a broad-spectrum phyto-drug and not only as an anti-spasmodic agent [143]. Furthermore, Deguchi and Miyazaki [58] reviewed several works regarding the effect of the intake of a commercial guava leaf tea (Bansoureicha®, Yakult Honsha, Tokyo, Japan) on different pathologies of diabetes mellitus illness such as the influence on postprandial blood glucose, on insulin resistance and on hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia. The authors concluded that the ingestion of guava leaf tea can ameliorate the symptoms of diabetes mellitus and that it could be used as an alimentotherapy.

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3. Other Applications

Further applications found with guava leaves are listed below: firstly, to prepare gelatin beads with marine-fish gelatin for various applications such as medicine, and the food and pharmaceutical industries [144]. Secondly, Giri et al. [145] suggested guava leaves as supplementary feed for the fish species Labeo rohita, due to the immune-stimulatory effect. The same conclusion was reached by Fawole et al. [146] in L. rohita. Thirdly, Gobi et al. [147] reported that guava leaf powder, mixed with a commercial diet, strengthened the immunological response of Oreochromis mossambicus, and recommended the leaves as feed complement in aquaculture.

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4. Conclusions

Traditional claims generally require experimental research to establish their effectiveness. In this regard, ethnomedicine applications of Psidium guajava L. leaves have been verified by several researches over the last decade against many disorders, demonstrating its potential in the treatment of the most common worldwide diseases. In addition, the effects of the leaves have been related to individual compounds such as quercetin, catechin, vescalagin, gallic acid, peltatoside, hyperoside, isoquercitrin, and guaijaverin.

Future prospects should be aimed at investigating the biodiversity of guava and/or the purification of the different compounds present in guava leaves in order to obtain functional ingredients for further uses as alternative agents in natural therapeutic approaches.

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The author Vito Verardo thanks the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) for “Ramony Cajal” post-doctoral contract.

Author Contributions

Elixabet Díaz-de-Cerio contributed to the literature review and manuscript redaction; Vito Verardo and Ana María Gómez-Caravaca contributed to the conception of the idea and framework writing; and Alberto Fernández-Gutiérrez and Antonio Segura-Carretero supervised the progress of work.

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Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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