(Carica papaya)

papaya papaya vendors

    Family: Caricaceae
    Genus: Carica
    Species: papaya
    Common Names: Papaya, chich put, fan kua, kavunagaci, lechoso, lohong si phle, mapaza, mu kua, papailler, papaw, papaye, papayer, pawpaw tree, pepol, tinti, wan shou kuo, betik petik, gandul, katela gantung, kates, kepaya, kuntaia

    Part Used: Leaves, fruit, seed, latex

Documented Properties
& Actions:
Analgesic, amebicide, antibiotic, antibacterial, cardiotonic, cholagogue, digestive, emmenagogue, febrifuge, hypotensive, laxative, pectoral, stomachic, vermifuge


James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished:
(From Purdue online)

Papaya is cultivated for its ripe fruits, favored by tropical people, as breakfast fruit, and as an ingredient in jellies, preserves, or cooked in various ways; juice makes a popular beverage; young leaves, shoots, and fruits cooked as a vegetable. Latex used to remove freckles. Bark used for making rope. Leaves used as a soap substitute, are supposed to remove stains. Flowers eaten in Java. Papain, the proteolytic enzyme, has a wealth of industrial uses. It has milk-clotting (rennet) and protein digesting properties. Active over a wide pH range, papain is useful in medicine, combatting dyspepsia and other digestive orders. In liquid preparations it has been used for reducing enlarged tonsils. Nearly 80% of American beer is treated with papain, which digests the precipitable protein fragments and then the beer remains clear on cooling. Papain is also used for degumming natural silk. But most of the papain imported in the U.S. is used for meat-tenderizers and chewing gums. Also used to extract the oil from tuna liver. Cosmetically it is used in some dentifrices, shampoos, and face-lifting preparations. Used to clean silks and wools before dying, and to remove hair from hides during tanning (Duke, 1984b). It is also used in the manufacture of rubber from Hevea (Morton, 1977). Recently, the FDA has cleared chymopapain for intradiscal injection in patients with documented herniated lumbar intervertebral discs whose signs and symptoms have not responded to conservative therapy over an adequate period of time (FDA Drug Bull. 12(3): 17-18). Fruit and seed extracts have pronounced bactericidal activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Escherischia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Shigella flexneri (Emeruwa, 1982).

Folk Medicine

The juice is used for warts, cancers, tumors, corns, and indurations of the skin. Sinapisms prepared from the root are also said to help tumors of the uterus. Green fruit said to be ecbolic. Vermifugal seeds said to quench thirst. Leaves poulticed onto nervous pains and elephantoid growths. Roots said to cure piles and yaws. In Asia, the latex is smeared on the mouth of the uterus as ecbolic. The root infusion is used for syphilis in Africa. Leaf smoked for asthma relief in various remote areas. Javanese believe that eating papaya prevents rheumatism. Dietary papaya does reduce urine acidity in humans. Flowers have been used for jaundice. Experimentally papaya is hypoglycemic. Inner bark used for sore teeth. Latex used in psoriasis, ringworm, and prescribed for the removal of cancerous growths in Cuba. (Duke, 1984b). Latex used locally as antiseptic. Seeds considered alexeritic, abortifacient, counter-irritant, emmenagogue, and anthelmintic. Infusion of roots said to remove urine concretions. Young leaves, and to lesser degree, other parts, contain carpain, an active bitter alkaloid, which has a depressing action on heart. Plant is strong amoebicide. Latex, used as dyspepsia cure, is applied externally to burns and scalds (Reed, 1976).


Per 100 g, the green fruit is reported to contain 26 calories, 92.1 g H2O, 1.0 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 6.2 g total carbohydrate, 0.9 g fiber, 0.6 g ash, 38 mg Ca, 20 mg P, 0.3 mg Fe, 7 mg Na, 215 mg K, 15 ug beta-carotene equivalent, 0.02 mg thiamine, 0.03 mg riboflavin, 0.3 mg niacin, and 40 mg ascorbic acid. Ranges reported for the ripe fruit are 32-45 calories, 87.1-90.8 g H2O, 0.4-0.6 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 8.3-11.8 g total carbohydrate, 0.5-0.9 g fiber, 0.4-0.6 g ash, 20-24 mg Ca, 15-22 mg P, 0.3-0.7 mg Fe, 3-4 mg Na, 221-234 mg K, 710-1050 ug beta-carotene equivalent, 0.03-0.04 mg thiamine, 0.03-0.05 mg riboflavin, 0.3-0.4 mg niacin, and 52-73 mg ascorbic acid. Per 100 g, the leaves are reported to contain 74 calories, 77.5 g H2O 7.0 g. protein, 2.0g fat, 11.3 g total charbohydrate 1. 8 g fiber, 2.2 g ash, 344 mg Ca, 142 mg P, 0.8 mg Fe, 16 mg Na, 652 mg K, 11,565 ug beta-carotene equivalent, 0.09 mg thiamine, 0.48 mg riboflavin, 2.1 mg niacin, and 140 mg ascorbic acid, as well 136 mg vitamin E. Leaves contain the glycoside, carposide, and the alkaloid, carpaine. Fresh leaf latex contains 75% water, 4.5% caoutchouc-like substances, 7% pectinous matter and salts, 0.44% malic acid, 5.3 papain, 2.4% fat, and 2.9% resin. Per 100 g, the seeds are reported to contain 24.3 g protein, 25.3 g fatty oil, 32.5 g total carbohydrate, 17.0 g crude fiber, 8.8 g ash, 0.09% volatile oil, a glycoside, caricin, and the enzyme, myrosin. The fatty oil of the seeds contains 16.97% saturated acids (11.38% palmitic, 5.25% stearic, and 0.31% arachidic) and 78.63% unsaturated acids (76.5% oleic and 2.13% linoleic). The seeds yield 660-760 mg BITC (bactericidal aglycone of glucotropaeolin benzyl isothiocyanate), a glycoside, sinigrin, the enzyme myrosin, and carpasemine. Flath and Forrey (1977) identified 106 volatile components in papaya. Fermentation with brewer's yeast and distillation yielded 4% alcohol, of which 91.8% was ethanol, 4.8%.methanol, 2.2% N-propanol, and 1.2% unknown (non-alcohol) (Sharma and Ogbeide, 1982).


Externally the latex is irritant, dermatogenic, and vescicant. Internally it causes severe gastritis. Some people are allergic to the pollen, the fruit, and the latex. Papain can induce asthma and rhinitis. The acrid fresh latex can cause severe conjunctivitis and vesication. According to Morton (1977) the latex will digest tissue and cause sores under rings and bracelets, while it has been used internally for malicious poisoning. Mitchell and Rook (1979) report a yellowing of the palms and soles caused by eating papaya. Anaphylaxis is reported in about 1% of cases of chymopapain injections."