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Papaya (Carica Papaya L.) is a popular and important fruit tree in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. The fruit is consumed worldwide as fresh fruit and vegetable or used as processed product. The fruit is healthy and delicious and the whole plant parts including fruit, root, bark, peel, seeds and pulp are also known to have medicinal properties. The many benefits of papaya are owed due to high content of vitamin A, B and C, proteolytic enzymes like papain and chymopapain which have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Nutritional Values of Papaya Fruit:
A consumption of 100 gram of Papaya contains: Energy (163 KJ), protein (0.6 g), fat (0.1 g), minerals (0.5 g), fibre (0.8 g), carbohydrates (7.2 g), carotene (2 740 µm), sodium (3 mg), iron (0.10 g), vitamin A (1 094 IU), vitamin E (0.73 mg), niacin (3 mg) and water (89%).
These nutritional values of papaya help to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Papaya is rich in iron and calcium; a good source of vitamin A, B and G and an excellent source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). The extract and fruit juice of Papaya contain alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, carbohydrates, saponins, terpenoids, steroids and tannins.
Papaya is a pack of enzymes. Different parts contain different enzymes: unripe fruit (papain, chemo papain), fruits (B carotene, carotenoids, crytoxanthin, linalool), roots (caryopsides), seeds (papaya oil, glucosinolates, benzyl isocyanine), leaves (Zn, Mn, Fe, K, minerals), shoots (flavonoids, kaemferol, myricetin, minerals, Ca, Mg, Fe) and leaves (Vitamin C and E, alkaloids, carpaine).
Health Benefits of Papaya:
The fruit Papaya has been proved for various medicinal activities like antioxidant, anti-hypertensive, wound healing, hepatic protective, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-fertility, histaminergic, diuretic, ant amoebic, anti-tumor, anthelmintic, effect on smooth muscles, antimalarial, hypoglycemic activity, immune modulatory activity, anti-ulcer activity, anti-sickling activity.
Some of the benefits and activities we will see here and study about how they are beneficial.
1. Tumor Prevention
- The extracts of Papaya and mostly Papaya leaf has anti-tumor effects on the proliferative responses of solid and hematopoietic tumor cell lines.
- This was derived from hepatocellular carcinoma and pancreatic epithelioid carcinoma (which shows anti-tumor activities).
- Juices and Purified content of these are included in medicinal vaccines to prevent Tumor.
2. Effect on Smooth Muscles
- Ethanol extract of papaya seeds at 0.1-6.4 mg/mL showed concentration dependent inhibition of jejunum contraction and found significantly irreversible.
- Thus the extract is capable of weakening the contractile capability of isolated rabbit jejunum.
- From this we can conclude these constituents have proven for relaxation of muscles and relief to muscle contraction at long terms.
3. Prevention of Arthritis
- The ethanolic extract of Papaya leaves using carrageenan induced a cotton pallet granuloma and formaldehyde induced arthritis models.
- The result showed that the extract at the dose of 25-250 mg/kg exhibited significant reduction in the paw edema in the carrageenan test.
- The extract produced slight mucosal irritation at higher doses. This results to reduction of joint pain and moreover to spine (back) pain.
- Secreted juices, extracts and fluconazole has synergistic action on the inhibition of Candida albicans growth.
- This synergistic effect results in partial cell wall degradation.
- Also latex proteins appear to be responsible for anti-fungal action and minimum protein concentration for producing a complete inhibition.
- This determined the actions of anti-fungal activity in Papaya.
5. Wound Healing Activity
- The aqueous extract of C. papaya fruit [100 mg for 10 d] for wound healing property in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats using excision and dead space wound models.
- The aqueous extract shows 77% reduction in the wound area when compared to 59% contraction to wound of the controls.
- Thus the result suggested that the aqueous extract of C. papaya had a potent wound healing property.
6. Prevention of Hypertension
- The ethanolic extract of ripe fruit of C. papaya was used for the anti-hypertensive activity.
- Both hydralazine (200 µL/100 g) and ethanolic extract of unripe fruit of C. papaya (20 mg/kg) produced a significant depression of MAP in normotensive, renal and DOCA-salt hypertensive animals groups as compared to control.
- But the extract produced about 28% more depression of MAP than hydralazine in the hypertensive group.
- The study suggested that the unripe fruit of Papaya had a potential of anti-hypertensive activity.
7. Immuno Modulatory
- Chemical constituents of the Papaya seed extracts and its bioactive fraction were examined in vitro using lymphocyte proliferation assays and complement-mediated hemolytic assay.
- Fermented papaya preparation is a macrophage activator which augments nitric oxide synthesis and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
- This showed the results of constant immune circulation and even Immune production.
8. Prevention of Memory Loss
- The elevation in serum concentration of urea and creatinine are indicative of renal injury.
- Nephro-protective effect of aqueous extract of unripe seeds of Papaya in CCl4 induced renal injury.
- This is also applicable for mental stability and neuron rich cerebrals. Since, the Nephro-protective effect is deeply related to prevention of even memory loss.
- So, from this we can also conclude that consuming this fruit can reduce effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
9. Anti-Ulcer Activity
- Aqueous seed extract of this fruit at the dose of 50 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg (approx. ratio) against alcohol induced acute gastric damage and blood oxidative stress.
- The gastric acidity was significantly reduced when normal human is treated with 100 mg/kg of the extracts.
- Hence, the compression in Ulcers can be controlled using these extracts and also be prevented by consuming Papaya.
10. Uterotonic Activity
- Testing of latex extracts of this fruit in vitro at various stages of estrous cycle and gestation periods was taken into observation.
- This lead to remarkable results showing pro-estrus and estrus stages compared to meta-estrus and di-estrus stages of estrous cycles.
- Papaya latex contains an Uterotonic principle, comprising of a combination of enzymes, alkaloids and other substances.
11. Prevention of Malaria
- The Petroleum extracts of the raw fruit at concentration ranging from 0.05-10.00 µg/mL.
- The Extracts determine the presence of inorganic antioxidants in the inner layers of this fruit.
- So, this results to significant anti-malarial enzymes present in this fruit.
12. Anti-Bacterial Activity
- The seeds were found to possess bacteriostatic activity against bacterizes e-coli, bacillus subtilis, salmonella typhus, e-cloacae, and many others.
- Among gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria tested, the gram negative bacteria were more susceptible to the extracts.
- The fact that these extracts are active against both gram negative and gram positive bacteria is because presence of a broad spectrum of anti-oxidants.
- Hence, this rare activity is not found in any other fruits.
Origin of Papaya:
Papaya is one of the major fruit crops cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical zones. They are mostly oval in shape. Its native is America as it was first discovered in Southern Mexico and throughout the Andes of South America.
Worldwide over 6.8 million tons of this fruit were produced. Of this volume, 47% was produced in Central and South America (mainly in Brazil), 30% in Asia and 20% in Africa. Papaya is mainly grown and consumed in developing countries, it is rapidly becoming an important fruit internationally both as a fresh and processed fruit products. The tree of this fruit is 3-10 meters in height, it is considered as a tree of palm habitat.
The papaya belongs to a small family – Caricaceae, having four genera in the world. The genus Carica Linn is represented by four species in India, of which C. papaya Linna is the most widely cultivated and best-known species.
Chemical Constituents in Papaya:
The fruit basically has – Protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, minerals: calcium, iron, vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and carotene, amino acid, citric acid and malic acids (green fruits), volatile compounds: benzylisothiocynate, cis and trans 2, 6-dimethyl-3,6 epoxy-7 octen-2-ol, alkaloids and carpaine.
The secreted Juices in this fruit contains N-butyric, n-hexanoic and n-octanoic acids, lipids; myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid and oleic acid.
Even the seeds of Papaya contain fatty acids, crude protein, crude fibre, its oil, carpaine, caricin, glucotropacolin, and myosin enzyme.
The roots contain Caryopsides and an enzyme myosin and the Latex contains Papain, chemo papain, peptidase A and B, lysozymes.
So, rather than grabbing some junk foods or a packet of chips, try preferring to a bowl of Papayas. It will elevate your immune and boost your health.