Papaya is a tropical tree that typically grows up to a height of 15 to 30 feet. Papaya fruit is an egg-shaped and measures 15 to 30 centimeters in diameter; the leaves are quite large, measuring about 60 to 70 centimeters in diameter.
The inside core of papaya contains lots of black seeds that looks like black peppercorn. When the fruit is soft to the touch and the skin turns to a shade of yellow, it is already considered ripe. Ripe papaya fruit is sweet to the taste and often eaten as dessert, while the unripe papaya is often used in Asian cooking.
Common Papaya Varieties:
- Hawaiian papayas (also known as Solo) are pear shaped, weighs around 1 pounds to 3 pounds and have a yellow skin when ripe, and the flesh is orange.
- Mexican papayas are much larger than the Hawaiian; they have red- orange flesh and weighs up to 20 pounds; they are less tasty than their Hawaiian counterpart.
Papaya Fruit Health Benefits:
- Contains papain, an enzyme that is similar to the digestive juice pepsin and therefore valuable in aiding digestion and preventing constipation.
- Papaya juice aids in relieving infection of the colon and has a tendency to break down pus and mucus. According to studies this fruit has beneficial tonic effect in the stomach and intestine when taken alone for 2 or 3 days.
- Beneficial for the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestine. After a course of antibiotic therapy, papaya juice will rapidly return the intestinal bacteria count to normal.
- Ripe papaya can help prevents nausea (includes morning sickness and motion sickness). Take ½ to 1 glass of papaya juice after breakfast.
- Beneficial against heartburn and peptic ulcer. Eating ripe papaya for a few months can cure stomach ulcers.
- Papaya juice can help cure jaundice and dengue fever.
- Help prevent prostate cancer because of its lycopene content. Studies showed that men who ate the most lycopene-rich foods have an 82% reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Papaya’s high vitamin A content can also help prevent age-related macular degeneration and lung problems.
Papaya Nutrient Content: Per 100 gm.
- Vitamin A: 1,750 I.U.
- Vitamin B: Thiamine .03 mg.; Riboflavin .04 mg.; Niacin .3 mg.
- Vitamin C: 56 mg.
- Calcium: 20 mg.
- Iron: .3mg
- Phosphorus: 16 mg.
- Potassium: 470 mg
- Fat: .1 gm.
- Carbohydrates: 10 gm.
- Protein: .6 gm.
- Calories: 39
Culinary Uses of Unripe Papaya: Slices of unripe papaya fruit when rubbed over tough meat; can make the meat tender.
Medicinal Uses of Papaya Leaves and Papaya Seeds
Papaya Leaves Uses:
- From several studies described, stems and leaves of papaya plants contain milky white sap (latex), which has anticancer potentials.
- Young papaya leaves can help cure malaria and fever. Just pound the young papaya leaves to produce ½ cup juice, add ¾ cup water and salt, strain. Drink 3 times a day; do these 5 days in a row.
- Papaya leaf tea can help against prostate enlargement and inflammation.
Preparation of Papaya Leaf Tea: Papaya leaf tea is made by placing one teaspoon of the cut or powdered dried papaya leaves in a pot of boiling water; let it simmer for 10 minutes. This tea tastes very bitter.
Papaya Seeds are black and resemble peppercorns. They have a peppery taste and can be ground up and used as a substitute for black pepper. The seeds can also be eaten by themselves, sprinkled on salads, or added to smoothies.
Papaya Seeds Uses:
- Papaya seeds are used to remove worms in the stomach. Just chew and swallow two teaspoonfuls of seeds after each principal meal (three times a day). Studies showed that papaya seeds and honey was fed to 30 children that were identified as having intestinal parasites. After 7 days, 23 of the 30 were cleared of parasites.
- Papaya seeds might help reverse infertility.
- Papaya seeds can help detoxify the liver; that is why natural doctors often recommend papaya seeds in the treatment of cirrhosis of the liver.
- Papaya extract has no toxic effect on normal cells and thus more safe than cancer therapy in general.
- Papain is the cause of dermatitis that some people experience when handling papayas; this irritation is not necessarily an allergic reaction.