Papaya – Carica papaya
Although I like papaya, I never buy them at
the grocery store. They just don’t taste right (like store-bought tomatoes don’t
taste right). If you’ve ever been in a tropica country and had fresh papaya, you
know how good a naturally ripened papaya can be.
But papaya isn’t just a tasty fruit,
it’s also a very good medicine. Both the latex of the papaya plant and the
fruits themselves contain two proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes-papain and
chymopapain. The green fruits, not the ripe fruits, are the best source of these
enzymes. Papaya also contains other enzymes, including lysozyme,
chitotransferase, glycosidases, callase, pectinesterases, lipases, phosphatases
latex that flows from cuts made in green fruits. It is used to make meat
tenderizers for home use, but also finds it’s way into other commercial
applications. Papain is used to clarifY beer, treat wool and silk before dyeing
and take the hair off of hides before they are tanned. It is also used in
personal care products like toothpaste, cosmetics and deodorants.
Of course, in the health world, papain
is used in preparations to aid digestion. This is why it is an ingredient in
Food Enzymes, NSP’s main digestive enzyme formula. Because it breaks down
proteins, it is also found in Everybody’s Formula, a protein powder. Besides
aiding protein digestion, papain has been used to reduce swelling, fever and
adhesions after surgery. It can also be used to help rid the body of parasites
and heal ulcers.
However, it isn’t just
papain that’s useful in natural healing. The fruits themselves are also a
digestive aid, just like raw pineapple, which contains another proteolytic
enzyme called bromelain. Papaya fruit is also a natural healing agent. In a
London hospital in 1977, a post-operative infection in a kidney transplant
patient was treated with strips of papaya that were laid on the wound and left
for 24 hours. This cured the infection after all modern medications had failed.
Studies at the University of Nigeria
found that extracts of ripe and unripe papaya fruits and seeds had an
anti-bacterial action. They are affective against both gram-positive and
gram-negative bacteria. The crushed seeds yield a compound (the aglycone of
glucotropaeolin benzyl isothiocyannate, BITC for short) which is bacteriostatic,
bactericidal and anti-fungal. A single dose of 4-5 grams of crushed seeds is
In countries where it grows,
papaya has many other medicinal uses. In tropical folk medicine, the latex is
used topically to help heal boils, warts, cancerous tumors, boils and freckles.
Dried leaves are smoked to relieve asthma and have been used to dress wounds.
The seeds are used to expel parasites. The seeds can also be abortive.
Papaya fruit is an ingredient in Papaya
Mint Tablets, a chewable digestive aid that is also great for
children. It lends help to the digestive process in Stomach Comfort, an antacid formula. It’s also
an ingredient in SF,
a formula that aids liver function and helps in weight loss; Skeletal Strength, a formula for supporting
healthy bones; and GreenZone, a natural food
individuals have allergic reactions to papaya. They react even to meat that has
been tenderized with papain. Such individuals should probably avoid supplements
containing papaya or papain. For the rest of us, papaya is a great fruit for
supporting healthy digestive function.