Scientific Name:Carica papaya
About this Herb:Originating in South America, the papaya is a large tree-like plant, with a single stem growing from 16 to 33 ft. tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk. The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and fruit were borne. The leaves are large, 20 to 28 in. diameter, they have 7 deep lobes. The tree is usually branchless, unless lopped. The flowers are similar in shape to the flowers of the Plumeria, but are much smaller and wax-like. They appear on the axils of the leaves, maturing into the large 6 to 18 in. long, 4 to 12 in. diameter fruit. The fruit is ripe when it feels soft (as soft as a ripe avocado or softer) and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue.
Common Names:Papaw, Pawpaw, Mugua, Lechosa, Fruta Bomba
Uses:Papayas can be used as a food, a cooking aid, and in traditional medicine. The stem and bark may be used in rope production.
Papaya has been proven to be a natural remedy for many ailments. In traditional medicine, the papaya seeds are used for their anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and analgesic components. They are also used to treat stomachache as well as ringworm infections.
Papayas contain soft, easily digestible pulp/flesh with a good amount of soluble dietary fiber, this helps to maintain normal bowel function; thereby reducing constipation.
The fruit is very low in calories (just 39 cal/100 g) and contains no cholesterol and is a rich source of phyto-nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
Fresh, ripe Papaya is one of the fruits with the highest vitamin-C content (provides about 103% of RDA, more than in oranges, or lemons). Research studies have shown that vitamin C has many important functions. Its free radicals boost immune systems, and have anti-inflammatory actions.
Papaya is also an excellent source of Vitamin-A (provides 1094 IU/100 g) and flavonoids like beta carotenes, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthins. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties which act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Consumption of natural fruits rich in carotenes has known to protect body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Papaya fruit is also rich in many essential B-complex vitamins such as Folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential to the human body, they play a vital role in maintaining metabolism balance.
Fresh papaya also contains good amount of potassium (257 mg per 100 g) and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure countering effects of sodium.
Papaya contains a chemical called papain. Papain breaks down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Papaya also contains a chemical called carpain. Carpain seems to be able to kill certain parasites, and it might affect the central nervous system.
Papaya enzymes are available commercially.
Applications:Eating: You can eat Papaya every day.
Capsule: Follow package directions.
Juice: Drink an 8 oz. glass daily.