Apart from enjoying pawpaw as cuisine or salad, the fruit, seeds, leaves, roots and even the bark have medicinal values
| By Chinwe Okafor | Dec. 23, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
NOT many people know that herbs, vegetables and fruits have other benefits to mankind apart from eating them everyday. One particular fruit that does wonderful things in human health is pawpaw also known as papaya. Apart from being a fruit that is great to eat, it has other awesome uses. Pawpaw fruit enjoys a rich history and very long medicinal benefits.
The leaves, seeds and the milk of a pawpaw tree are used to treat intestinal problems and kill intestinal worms and parasites. It is a very delicious food lavishly enjoyed by people as part of cuisines and salad. It can be eaten when it is fairly ripe and crunchy, though its antioxidant content is higher when fully ripened and soft. It is very helpful for the prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease due to its excellent source of vitamins C, E and A.
These vitamins are very powerful antioxidants that help to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol which can lead to the formation of dangerous plaques in blood vessel walls and can cause heart attacks or strokes. This effect can be explained by the fact that vitamin E and vitamin C are closely related to a compound called paraoxonase, which is an enzyme that inhibits low-density lipoprotein, LDL, cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein, HDL, cholesterol oxidation. Pawpaw helps to lower high cholesterol levels because they are high in folate and the folic acid found in it is needed for the conversion of a substance called homocysteine into benign amino acids such as cysteine or methionine.
Unique to pawpaw are protein-digesting enzymes like papain and chymopapain. These enzymes, in addition to the antioxidant nutrients have been shown to help lower inflammation and to improve healing from burns. In terms of immune support, pawpaw is not left out due to its high content of vitamin C and vitamin A which is made from the beta carotene found in its skin. One can therefore prevent recurrent ear infections, colds and flu by eating pawpaw. Its nutrients have also been helpful in the prevention of colon cancer.
Its fiber, asides aiding digestion, increases bowel movement. It is great for the skin and helps to get rid of acne and skin infections by helping to open clogged pores. The fermented flesh of pawpaw known as papain, helps to dissolve the dead cells, giving fresh and glowing skin. It is also good to heal wounds that don’t heal quickly. The antioxidants contained in pawpaw help to control premature ageing, its seeds have some medicinal properties and are very good in treating intestinal worms in the body.
Pawpaw is not just a fruit, it’s also a food and a medicine on its own. Not just the fruits but its parts such as the seeds and leaves help in promoting male virility because they contain an enzyme called arginine which is known in the medical community to boost blood flow around the manhood. It helps to boost body immunity because its ripe fruits are rich in vitamins A, B and C that help to build body immunity. These vitamins help in reducing inflammation and are very important in the treatment of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis among many other inflammatory ailments.
According to Uche Ogbanufe, a health expert, pawpaw helps to detoxify the liver. It is a natural contraceptive and is also used to treat pile and typhoid fever. “Many people consume papaya seeds to cure pile problems. They blend the seeds together with the flesh, add a bit of water, and drink the mixture. It is actually very pungent and very unpalatable. In some parts of Nigeria, papaya seeds with milk are a good cure for typhoid fever and they are also good for treating diabetes,” she said. According to a study reviewed in the 2005 edition of the ‘Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy’ it was revealed that pawpaw helps to keep animals’ blood sugar down as well as lower cholesterol count.