Papaya is one of the most popular fruits and has been consumed for ages owing to the medicinal and healing qualities that it shows. Papaya plants are said to be native to Mexico and South America. It has been grown throughout the tropical and subtropical regions owing to its qualities.
Papaya plants are small, with a single stem growing not more than 5 to 10 meters in height. The slender stemmed plant has a spiral leaf arrangement that is seen at the top of the trunk. The plant is abundant in latex, and cutting any part will expose the same.
Papaya plants are deciduous plants with flowers with five petals. The fruit that the plant bears is considered to be a large berry. This fruit is generally cylindrical and is about 15 to 45 cm in length with a good amount of weight. When ripe, papaya fruit is soft and fleshy. It has several black seeds in it. Papaya has been used for several culinary purposes, as well as medicinal purposes.
Papaya has many qualities that have made it a great Ayurvedic medicine over the years. It is rich in antioxidants with low calories and has anti-inflammatory, anti-pigmentation, antibacterial, and laxative properties. Papaya has been used to cure a variety of problems and diseases, such as indigestion and diabetes. It prevents the growth of viruses and also does not let the growth of cancer cells. Due to the properties mentioned above, papaya is also useful in managing the heart and sugar levels.
However, one must not overdose with papaya. That can also be dangerous. Here is all you would need to know about the Ayurvedic uses of papaya.
How did the word “Papaya” Originate?
In scientific terms, papaya is also known as Carica papaya. The genus names Carica was named owing to the leaves of the tree. It looks like the leaves that a fig plant bears. Papaya is a Spanish word that was derived from the word "papaia." This word comes from the language that the Tiano is said to have spoken. In some parts of the world like Australia, papaya is known as pawpaw.
Some people believe that the word papaya might have derived from the French word "papaya" instead of the one mentioned above. However, being of Mexican origin, the facts state the obvious.
Historical uses of Papaya
Papaya is said to be native to Mexico. The Indians spread the use of it in the south throughout the Caribbean regions. By the mid of 17th century, papaya was known and distributed in about half of the world. By the 1800s, it reached Hawaii as well. The production of the same still continues in Hawaii.
People all over the world have eaten papaya for health benefits. In the past, people have mainly consumed papaya for digestive properties and anti-inflammatory properties. It has helped prevent several diseases and keep people healthy for years to come.
Nutritional Value of Papaya
Papaya has high nutritional value and is very healthy to be consumed. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals and other nutrients. Papaya has been included in a balanced diet. One average-sized papaya has about 120 calories only along with 30 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.
Papaya has proven to be a great source of folate, magnesium, copper, pantothenic acid, calcium, and potassium. It is also packed with vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, and vitamin K. also, due to the presence of a good amount of lycopene, papaya gains its place as a great antioxidant.
Ayurvedic Properties of Papaya
Papaya is "laghu" or light when eaten and has a "ruksa" or dry property. It has a "tikshna" or pungent after effect when swallowed. Ripe papaya is sweet in taste; however, unripe papaya is really good for health and has a "tikta" or bitter taste.
Papaya has an "ushna veerya" or hot potent that helps in increasing the "Agni" or the digestive fire. The fruit, leaf, latex, and seeds of the plant are used for different purposes, and overall, papaya has some great benefits to health.
Benefits of Papaya in Ayurveda
There have been many studies conducted that show the benefits of papaya in scientific terms. However, these studies were conducted on animals, but we cannot deny the already known fact that people have used the same large berry to cure several bodily disorders in the past. Papaya has been a trusted medicine by the Ayurvedic experts.
Owing to the properties mentioned above, papaya helps cure dengue fever, tone the skin complexion, enable the free flow of blood, improve heart health, and prevent any related disease. Papaya is also said to have agents that prevent the growth of cancer cells. The fruit is good to cure ulcers, insect bites, swelling, fever, etc. Papaya has been widely used to give relief to constipation and treat stomach problems as well.
The above proves how helpful papaya is to our bodies. Here is all you need to know about treatments with papaya in both scientific and Ayurvedic terms.
Treating diseases/health problems using Papaya
1. Papaya for Indigestion
Papaya is a useful indigestion. The compound breakup that it contains has digestive properties. It helps in reducing the bloating and easy excretion.
Indigestion is caused as a result of an imbalance in Kapha Dosha. This results in Agnimandya or weak digestive fire. Papaya balances the Kapha Dosha and initiates Agni or the digestive fire for a better digestive system. It also serves as a Deepan or appetizer because of the Pachan nature it shows. Thus, papaya is useful in curing indigestion.
2. Papaya for Diabetes
Papaya has antioxidants that help in reducing the toxins from the body. It increases the insulin level in the blood. By reducing the glucose level, papaya helps in managing diabetes.
Madhumeha or diabetes is caused as a result of increased Vata Dosha. Ama or toxins from in the body due to the same. Papaya balances the Vata in the body and helps in removing the toxins. It acts as a Deepan or an appetizer with Pachan or digestive properties that control high blood pressure. Thus, papaya helps in managing diabetes.
3. Papaya for Parasitic Infection
Papaya has antiparasitic and antibacterial properties. It does not let parasites or bacterial infection grow in the body and eliminate the already existing parasites and bacteria. Thus, papaya cures parasitic infections.
In Ayurveda, internal parasites are known as Krimi. This is caused due to low digestive fire. Raw papaya consumption helps in reigniting the Agni or digestive fire. This helps in proper cleaning of the body toxins and also removal of parasitic infection.
4. Papaya for Healing Wound
Papaya has a protease enzyme that gives the antibacterial properties that are spoken of about papaya. This helps in making the papaya paste a great way to heal wounds. Applying the paste to the open wound reduces the healing time.
Papaya has been used for ages along with some other herbs to make dressing for wounds. It used to be applied to arrow piercing where poison could flow to blood quickly. It has been effective in the past and might be effective still to fasten the wound's healing process.
5. Papaya for Fever
Papaya has proved to be a good anti-allergic. It reduces the blocking of the nose, cough, and running nose. Papaya leaf extracts also help in reducing the temperature of the body.
Fever is caused due to imbalance in the Vata and Kapha Dosha. This results in allergies of fever to develop in the body. Papaya helps balance the Vata and Kapha Dosha and reduces the body temperature along with other fever symptoms.
6. Papaya for Swelling
Papaya has anti-inflammatory properties. Due to the same, when papaya paste or extract is applied to the affected areas, the swelling and redness start to reduce.
Swelling in different parts of the body is related to different types of Dosha. Papaya helps in balancing the Tri-Dosha by increasing Pitta and decreasing Vata and Kapha. This helps papaya be a good way to reduce inflammation.
Papaya is also proven to prevent the following.
1. Heart diseases and cardiac arrest
3. Celiac disease
4. Skin disease
Forms of Papaya in Ayurveda with Recommended Dosage
Papaya in Ayurveda has been used for ages. Forms of papaya are now available in the market, especially the Ayurvedic centers for the treatment of several conditions and diseases.
Papaya is available as papaya powder, papaya juice, papaya tablets, papaya capsules, and papaya candy. Here are the recommended dosages for all of the above.
1. Papaya Powder
Papaya powder or papaya churna is easily available in the Ayurvedic stores. It is generally used in an amount of ¼ to ½ teaspoon mixed with warm water or honey. It is recommended to take this mixture once or twice a day after light meals, preferably lunch and dinner.
2. Papaya Juice
Papaya juice should be mixed along with warm or cold water as per your liking. You can add 5 to 6 teaspoons of the juice to one glass of water and enjoy the drink. Papaya juice can be drunk once or twice a day.
3. Papaya Tablets
Papaya tables are exclusive in the Ayurvedic expert stores. There are many types and combinations of tablets available. Those that are only made out of papaya are also available. These tablets can be taken twice a day swallowed with warm water after light meals.
4. Papaya Capsules
Papaya Capsules are also available at the specialist Ayurvedic stores. These capsules can be taken in the amount of not more than 2 pieces along with warm water twice a day. You can take it after lunch and dinner.
5. Papaya Candy
Papaya Candies are sweet and made out of the extracts of papaya and papaya juice. These candies can be taken in the amount of 4 to 5 pieces a day.
Make sure to never overdose with any of the forms of papaya; it can cause drastic and severe effects.
Types of Ayurvedic Care with Papaya
1. Papaya fruit
- Papaya, in the purest and most natural form, is the most effective. Papaya fruit can be eaten according to the taste.
- It is preferred to eat papaya fruit at least 5 hours before having a proper meal.
- Make sure not to overdose with papaya.
2. Papaya leaf churna
- Take ¼ to ½ teaspoon of papaya leaf churna and mix it in a glass of water or a spoon of honey.
- Take the mixture twice a day after light meals.
3. Papaya leaf juice
- Take 5 to 6 teaspoons of papaya juice.
- Mix them in one glass of water.
- Enjoy the drink with ice if you like it.
- It is good to take the juice on an empty stomach. It helps in curing constipation.
4. Papaya tablets
- Take 1 or 2 tablets and swallow them along with warm water.
- You can take the tablets twice a day after lunch and dinner.
5. Papaya capsules
- Take 1 or 2 capsules and swallow them with water.
- Take the capsules after light meals like lunch and dinner.
6. Papaya smoothie
- Chop up half a papaya in small pieces.
- Add them to the blender along with a cup and a half of cold plant-based milk. If you do not have plant-based milk, you can use regular cow milk.
- Add 2 dates without the seeds as a sweetener.
- Blend them together to form the smoothie. Make sure everything is blended.
- Pour yourself a glass of cold smoothie and enjoy it as you like to.
7. Papaya chips
- You can make papaya chips at home in a few easy steps.
- Cut thin slices of papaya and sprinkle some salt over it. Leave them overnight to dry.
- The following morning, take the dry papaya slices and wash them off.
- Sprinkle some salt on both sides and pop them in the oven for at least 20 to 30 minutes while checking for it to be golden in color.
- Take them out when done and let them cool.
- Enjoy the delicious snacks that you have made.
8. Papaya jam
- Take 1 kg of papaya and chop it up.
- Add sugar and lemon juice to the papaya bowl and leave it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
- Put it in a pan and cook it over medium heat until it starts to thicken.
- As it starts boiling, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Put an empty plate in the refrigerator to cool it down.
- Once the jam starts to make a jelly-like texture, put it in a jar and place it in the pre-cooled plate in the fridge.
- When the jam is cool, blend in it the blender to soften it.
- Finally, enjoy the jam along with wheat bread.
Side Effects of Papaya
Papaya is safe to be taken by mouth. However, you need to be careful with the amount of fruit that you consume. You must not overdose yourself with papaya no matter how much you like them. Side effects of an overdose can include:
1. Damage to esophagus
2. Drastic lowering of blood sugar levels
3. Stomach upset and severe diarrhea
Some people are allergic to papaya. If you have a latex allergy, you are possibly allergic to papayas also. People with an allergy to papain should also not consume papaya. Papaya contains a good amount of latex and papain. Anyone with allergies to these compounds must not eat papaya. In any case, if you find yourself consuming papaya or forms of papaya, visit a doctor immediately and take the prescribed anti-allergic.
Such side effects and allergies can be severe and cause a drastic change to your health. Consult a doctor immediately if you come across such effects.
Precautionary Guide to Eating Papaya
1. Papaya while pregnancy
It is not recommended at all to be eating papaya while pregnant. Papaya prevents blood clots and promotes the flow of blood in the body. It is harmful to a pregnant woman to eat papaya as it can cause miscarriage. If you are a pregnant woman, it is best to stay away from papaya.
2. Papaya while Breastfeeding
There is not much evidence on the effect of papaya while breastfeeding. However, you must not take a risk as it is not good for pregnant women. You can consult your gynecologist before thinking of eating papaya while you are breastfeeding your newborn.
3. Papaya with Diabetes
Papaya is useful in lowering blood pressure. Thus, it must not be consumed by diabetic patients and anyone with low blood pressure. It can cause blood pressure to fall really low, which can be severely dangerous to health.
4. Papaya with thyroid
You must not consume papaya if you are suffering from thyroid. Consumption of papaya, in this case, can cause the thyroid problem to escalate.
5. Papaya with an allergy to latex and papain
If you are allergic to latex or papain, you must not consume papaya. Papaya is abundant in both the compounds, and consumption of the same will need immediate medical attention.
6. Papaya before Surgery
If you have a scheduled surgery, make sure to not eat papaya before that. It can cause the body to lose a lot of blood. You can stop eating papaya at least 2 weeks before the surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I eat the skin of papaya?
- The skin of papaya is not toxic at all. However, it has been used in the cosmetic industry to make skincare and beauty products. It is also not in any accounts that you must eat the skin of papaya. Although it is great for the skin when applied externally, you must not consume papaya's skin by mouth.
2. Can I drink milk with or after eating papaya?
- No, you must not consume milk while or after eating papaya. It can react in the stomach along with the enzymes and cause diarrhea.
3. Can I drink water after consuming papaya?
- No, you must not consume water after eating papaya. Papaya helps in curing the ulcers and reducing the excess acid production. However, along with the water, it can make your stomach uneasy and cause the digestive system to fail in operation, thus causing constipation.
4. Can papaya be eaten empty stomach?
- Yes, papaya is beneficial when eaten on an empty stomach. Papaya is a superfood that is good for the bowel movement. If you consume papaya in the morning before breakfast, you can get rid of constipation and have a free bowel movement.
5. Is papaya easy to digest?
- Yes, papaya is easy to digest and makes the digestive function easy as well. The papain enzyme in papaya helps in easy digestion; this is another reason why papaya is good for the digestive tract.
6. Can I eat papaya during periods?
- Yes, papaya is good to eat during periods. It helps in the easy flow of the blood during the menstrual flow. It can also help in reducing cramps.
7. Is papaya seed poisonous?
- No, papaya seeds are highly nutritious as well. However, people often discard them because of the lack of this knowledge.
8. Can I feed papaya to my pet?
- Yes, papaya is good for pets with a canine. However, the seeds are not good for the pets and should not be fed to them. It can be poisonous for your pet.
9. Can papaya prevent cancer?
- Yes, papaya is rich in antioxidants and protects the body and cells. It lowers the chances of developing cancer cells. Papaya has lycopene, which has anti-cancer properties. The presence of beta carotene in papaya makes it good to prevent prostate cancer.
10. Does papaya help in weight loss?
- Papaya is a fruit that has fewer calories and is rich in fiber. The consumption of papaya can make you feel full even though it is light. This can helps your stomach stay full for a longer time. In turn, consumption of papaya also reduces untimely craving that you get. Being sweet in taste also reduces the sweet cravings you might otherwise fulfill by artificial sweeteners. All these together help papaya to promote weight loss and manage the weight.
11. How should I store papaya?
- Papayas are available throughout the year in the stores. You can store the papaya wrapped in a paper bag inside the refrigerator. If you have cut away half of the papaya, you can use the other half for up to 2 to 3 weeks if kept in the refrigerator.
12. Can I eat papaya while on medication?
- It is not recommended to eat papaya while on medication. You must consult your doctor or physician before consuming papaya while taking the medicines.
13. Can papaya cure gum disease?
- Papaya has anti-inflammatory properties. This can help in reducing the swelling in the gum and bleeding, if any. There is toothpaste available that contain papaya extracts. These are beneficial for gum health and can be used if you are not allergic to papaya.
14. Can papaya improve vision?
- Yes, papaya can improve vision. It has vitamin A and vitamin C, which is scientifically proven to be good for eyesight.
15. Is there any benefit of raw papaya?
- Yes, raw papaya is good for human health. It helps in the digestion of food and clears the digestive tract. Raw papaya is rich in fiber and water, which reduces constipation and let's easy bowel movement. Raw papaya, in an easy sense, is great for stomach and digestive related problems.