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Carica papaya

Carica papaya (Curcurbitaceae)

PAW PAW, PAPAYA, MELON TREE

 

The delicious, melon-like, tropical fruit of paw paw provides a useful protein-digesting enzyme, which is used by herbalists for indigestion and intestinal worms.

 

One of the most fragrant of tropical fruits, it is eaten green as a vegetable or ripe as a fruit. Native to south America but now cultivated throughout the tropics, this tall herbaceous plant has large, deeply divided leaves. The fruit is oblong, ripens to yellow with deep yellow-orange flesh, and has a central cavity filled with small black seeds.

 

PARTS USED

White latex from fruit, fresh leaves.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Alkaloid carpaine in leaves; enzyme papain from latex.

 

ACTIONS

Kills and helps expel worms; dissolves protein in dead skin; stimulates the stomach; promotes wound healing.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Given for indigestion and gastritis (stomach inflammation), and effective against threadworms and roundworms. Also applied externally to deep, slow-healing wounds; fresh leaves can be wrapped directly around wounds.

 

PREPARATIONS

Powdered enzyme, tablets.

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