What is Carica Papaya?
What is Carica Papaya you ask? More like, what isn’t it? You might be surprised what you can use it for.
Papaya may sound soft and feminine but with its unique enzyme papain - it really is the man’s man of enzymes, with the startling ability to aid digestion, tenderise meat and even clarify beer!
Not bad for something that looks like a large melon.
We often say that good things don’t grow on trees, and papaya proves us right again as they actually grow on giant herbs that look like trees! Get out of town!
So just what is Carica Papaya used for? It originated in Central America, but has been cultivated around the world for its sweet, tropical, healthful fruits for centuries.
All parts of the plant are therapeutic, with potential anticancer, antiseptic, wound-healing, digestive, cleansing and antioxidant properties present in the leaves, bark, seeds and twigs.
It’s one incredible plant, and one potent health supplement.
It’s also a master of disguise. When abroad, Carica papaya goes by many different names. It’s known as pawpaw in Europe and Australia, fruita bomba in Cuba (clearly it wears a hat for this disguise), papaye in France, mamao in Brazil and when appearing in text has the elegant botanical name, Carica papaya.
What Is Carica Papaya Good For?
All parts of the papaya plant contain a wonderful enzyme called papain, which is a milky substance that helps break down proteins and increases the digestibility of meats and other foods. It makes sense that papaya is a traditional marinade and salad addition in many cultures.
Ingesting Carica papaya helps your body release amino acids like arginine, which may help preserve and promote the growth of lean muscle tissue. So it’s perfect if you are working on building muscle or toning up.
Carica papaya is also useful for those with low stomach acid, as - unlike most other plant enzymes which are destroyed during human digestion - it retains enzymatic activity in the gut.
It also increases nutrient absorption due to this enzyme activity and boosts general nutrition - especially useful if you’re low in iron, B12, zinc and other hard-to-absorb minerals.
Along with arginine comes its enzyme buddies chymopapain and carpaine, which are antiseptic and reported to regulate (but in a cool way) the intestinal environment, allowing good bacteria to party and nutrients to be properly absorbed from food. Yay!
Carica papaya works in tandem with Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple. Naturally, we’ve included both in Athletic Greens. And in more than one form. Athletic Greens contains Bromelain in our digestive enzyme & super mushroom complex, as well as pineapple fresh fruit concentrate in our raw superfood complex. Together, Carica papaya and Bromelain help with the breakdown of protein and can boost digestion.
Carica Papaya: The List Goes On
Papaya contains high levels of vitamin C, provitamin A, plus carotenoids such as beta carotene and lycopene - up to three times more bioavailable than carrots and tomatoes (take that you run of the mill store favorites).
Also present are B vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and iron. See what I mean about the man’s man of supplements?
The dried leaves (also the bark and twig) of the plant were traditionally administered as a tea against cancer, and as an antitumour compound, which has lately been backed by science. We love it when science comes to the party…
Papaya extract appears to be able to modify the immune system, support healthy gene expression and destroy cancer cells.
Who needs martial arts training when the papaya plant produces natural self-defence chemicals?
It is also incredibly resistant to disease. Happily for humans, it passes these onto us! The fresh, green leaf is highly antiseptic and the seeds contain antimicrobial properties - especially against intestinal worms.
Papaya leaf extracts were also found to target Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Shigella flexneri. That’s a lot of fancy words to say nasty critters that want to set up home in our digestive tracts.
We can all breathe easy knowing that the dried brown leaves of Carica papaya have been shown to purify and cleanse the blood, and when chewed, the seeds are known to relieve nasal congestion.
What Is Carica Papaya’s Main Benefit?
Now that we’ve explored the many amazing benefits of Carica papaya powder we can break down all of the ailments it may be useful for:
✔ Peptic ulcer
✔ Relieving indigestion
✔ Improving bloating after meals
✔ Reducing gas and belching
✔ Stimulating digestion
✔ Reducing nausea
✔ Maintaining the healthy balance of gut flora
✔ Regulating bowel function (specifically, constipation)
✔ Improved immune function
✔ Increased energy
✔ Better skin
✔ Reduced inflammation
✔ Weight loss (thanks to improved digestion, absorption and metabolic regulation)
✔ Lowering blood pressure and protecting the heart
Dosage And Safety For Carica Papaya Supplementation
Unfortunately there’s a lack of research about the ‘correct’ dosing of Carica papaya powder, however some sources cite 1 - 2 teaspoons per day, dependent on individual requirements.
Let’s face it, we could all benefit from a boost to our digestive capabilities, so we added it to Athletic Greens for an easy daily dose.
Also, boosting digestive abilities doesn’t only help with reducing bloating and discomfort. It may also lead to better nutrient absorption by helping your digestive system properly break down food in the first place.
Carica papaya is best avoided by pregnant women - papaya enzymes (in high doses) may interfere with female hormones, the menstrual cycle and the developing fetus. Those taking blood-thinners or about to undergo major surgery, and people with latex allergy should also avoid it.
There’s debate around whether papain from papaya may aggravate certain digestive complaints, so it’s best discussed with a healthcare professional.
You may see some alternative health sites warning that eating too much papaya may cause your body to generate too much additional heat. We don’t have specific evidence on this, but steer clear of midnight raids on your papaya fridge.
There you have it folks, Carica papaya has a wide range of traditional uses and, unlike many natural supplements, a corresponding body of quality scientific research.
So next time someone asks, ‘What is Carica papaya?’ you can say it’s a wing-man for your digestion and gut health and aids in cancer prevention and treatment, not to mention helping out with allergies, congestion, infection and immune regulation. Go Papaya!