Native to Mexico, the papaya (Carica papaya) gets its name from the Maya páapay-ya which roughly translates as “mottled fruit.” The papaya is yet another staple food in the Mexico diet. Rich in papain, leaves and seeds are used to tenderize meat. The fruit is eaten raw, cooked and blended in fruit juices. The sap from the unripe fruit makes latex.
It is anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory. High in lycopene, papaya juice is often applied to sunburn and skin irritations to reduce inflammation. Papaya also is effective in reducing cancerous breast tumor growth.
Papaya seeds are natural antifungal agents. Dried seeds are often eaten to help in digestion. The seeds have a spicy flavor and are sometimes ground and used to season food as you would black pepper. They have found to be useful in the treatment of IBS and stomach ulcers.
The leaves are used to treat liver damage caused by dengue in some areas as an antiviral agent. Extracts from the leaves are hypoglycemic and antioxidant and have been shown to improve liver and pancreas function.
The papaya is often prescribed in Mexico to treat parasites and is anti-protozoal. There are several remedies to expel internal parasites. One recipe calls for a mixture of juice, honey and coffee drank before breakfast. Another treatment is a tea made from the leaves drank 3 times a day for three days while ingesting a steady diet of the fruit. Yet a third remedy is to eat poached seeds with sap from an unripe fruit.
If your face is starting to wrinkle, eat more papaya and try a mashed papaya fruit mask! Papaya has been shown to reduce the depth of facial wrinkles
Note: The ripe fruit is safe for pregnant women to eat, however, the green fruit should be cooked first as it may cause contractions.
June is National Papaya Month! Have you had your papaya today?