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Papaya (Papita or penpe)

Botanically it is known as Carica papaya. The fruit contains vitamin A, B, C. It is tonic, stomachic, stimulant, laxative, digestive, and rejuvenative. Ripe fruit is very useful in digestive disorders and if taken regularly, it cures all sorts of stomach troubles. The unripe fruit is also stomachic and digestive. The unripe fruit is prescribed in stomach troubles, jaundice, gastritis and liver disorders.

The papaya is a tropical melon-like fruit which grows in clusters. The tree grows to a height of 20 feet which is drowned by a tuft of leaves on long footstalks. The ripe fruit is yellowish orange and resembles a cantaloupe. It may be 4 to 20 inches (10 to 15 em) long and weigh 1 to 10 pounds. It has a thick rind, fleshy pulp and many small black seeds.

It has a sweetish taste and is very rich in vitamins A, B and C. The juice of the papaya contains papain, a protein splitting enzyme used as a meat tenderizer.

Marcopolo credited the fruit with saving the lives of his sailors when they were attacked with scurvy. Vasco-da-Gama called papaya as the golden tree of life. Magellan regarded it as a valuable article of diet. Many of the ancient explorers found that the natives could tenderize tough meat or fowl by wrapping it in green papaya leaves overnight before cooking. Some­times the juice or slices of unripe fruit were simply rubbed over the meat which served as a great meat tenderizer.

Richard Lucas in his book 'Nature's medicines' has said that the golden ripe papaya is generally recognised as a valuable health food. It is an excellent
source of vitamins B and G. The green fruit is often stewed or baked and used as a substitute for squash. The unripe fruit as well as other parts of the plant
contain a powerful protein digesting enzyme called pepsin which greatly resembles pepsin in its digestive action.

The crude papain of commerce is obtained by slashing the green fruits while they are still in the trees. The natural papain enzymes extracted from the unripe papaya melon has been extensively used in medicine industry and also as a meat tenderizer. It is also made into tablets and sold as a valuable aid for protein digestion. Everyone knows that as we grow older, the secretion of the natural juices in our bodies often declines causing incomplete digestion. This can result in gas, bloating, heartburn and stomach discomfort. These unpleasant symptoms may also occur among younger people whose digestion is disturbed, by a sense of hurry, frustration, stress and strain. Papaya enzyme tablets aid in digesting the proteins of eggs, milk, meat, beans, and similar food products. Papain is also valued as an active blood clotting agent and has been employed to arrest bleeding. It is also very useful in destroying intestinal worms.

Dr. M. Krigg in his book 'Green Medicines' has said that the ripe fruit is stomachic, appetizer, and diestive; it is given in piles and enlarged liver; the ripe fruit is eaten regularly for habitual constipation and chronic diarrhoea. The juice being an irritant is applied to swelling to prevent suppuration and to corns, warts, pimples, horny excretions of the skin and other skin diseases; the juice used as a cosmetic removes freckles and makes the skin smooth and delicate. A paste of the seeds is applied to skin diseases like ringworm.

Dr. S.J. Singh in his book 'Practical Naturopathy' has described papaya fruit as very useful in chronic diarrhoea; it is made into a curry and eaten by women to stimulate secretion of milk after childbirth. Slices of unripe fruit rubbed on the ringworm once daily is believed to cure it. The ripe fruit eaten regularly corrects habitual constipation, bleeding piles and dyspepsia. The leaves dipped in hot water or warmed over fire are applied to painful parts for relief from nervous pains. Bruised leaves applied as poultice ar said to reduce elephantoid growths.

Benefit and uses of Papaya.

  • The papaya not only for food, but also for healing wounds, for supporting a weak liver, for healing constipation, against worms and parasites, for healing inflammation and skin problems and even for treating cancer.
  • The papaya contains a lot of minerals like Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium and is the most alkaline fruit.
  • Papaya contains vitamin A which accelerates the formation of new cells, it protects the external layers of the skin, vitamin c is an anti-oxidant, and builds capillary strength, protein the skin can be benefited with improved smoothness, softness, and resiliency.
  • Green papaya may increase nutrient absorption and help to create a healthier intestinal tract.
  • Green papaya has also been used for over acidity or borderline ulcers as less stomach acid is required for digestion when abundant enzymes are ingested.
  • Papaya is good for many digestive disorders and is excellent for improving poor digestion. It has also been recommended as part of the treatment for cancer. Therapeutically it can often be combined with pineapple juice in which there is another important enzyme, bromelain.

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