Though the exact area of origin is unknown, the papaya is believed native to tropical America, perhaps in southern Mexico and neighbouring Central America. It is recorded that seeds were taken to Panama and then the Dominican Republic before 1525 and cultivation spread to warm elevations throughout South and Central America, southern Mexico, the West Indies and Bahamas, and to Bermuda in 1616. Spaniards carried seeds to the Philippines about 1550 and the papaya travelled from there to Malacca and India. Seeds were sent from India to Naples in 1626. Now the papaya is familiar in nearly all tropical regions of the Old World and the Pacific Islands and has become naturalized in many areas. Seeds were probably brought to Florida from the Bahamas. Up to about 1959, the papaya was commonly grown in southern and central Florida in home gardens and on a small commercial scale. Thereafter, natural enemies seriously reduced the plantings.
The latex of the papaya plant and its green fruits contains two proteolytic enzymes, papain and chymopapain. The latter is most abundant but papain is twice as potent. In 1933, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was the leading commercial source of papain but it has been surpassed by East Africa where large-scale production began in 1937.
Papain is a protein-cleaving enzyme derived from papaya and certain other plants. Enzymes are complex molecules produced in living organisms to catalyze (speed up) chemical reactions within the cell. A number of digestive enzyme supplements are available. The simple ones are extracted from tropical fruits: bromelain from pineapple and papain from papayas. Papain has a mild, soothing effect on the stomach and aids in protein digestion. Uses of Papain
The presence and effects of proteases in papaya fruit, Carica papaya, latex have been well known since the 1750s, but it was not until the 1870's that the importance of papaya latex as a source of enzymes was recognized. Papain by far is the most widely studied of the cysteine enzymes because of its commercial value. The uses of papain include:
The uses for papain are diverse and thus it makes it an extremely valuable enzyme. Papain has been employed to treat ulcers, dissolve membranes in diphtheria, and reduce swelling, fever and adhesions after surgery. With considerable risk, it has been applied on meat impacted in the gullet. Chemopapain is sometimes injected in cases of slipped spinal discs or pinched nerves. Precautions should be taken because some individuals are allergic to papain in any form and even to meat tenderized with papain.
In tropical folk medicine, the fresh latex is smeared on boils, warts and freckles and given as a vermifuge. A root decoction is claimed to expel roundworms. Roots are also used to make salt. Crushed leaves wrapped around tough meat will tenderize it overnight. The leaf also functions as a vermifuge and as a primitive soap substitute in laundering. Dried leaves have been smoked to relieve asthma or as a tobacco substitute. Packages of dried, pulverized leaves are sold by “health food" stores for making tea, despite the fact that the leaf decoction is administered as a purgative for horses in Ghana and in the Ivory Coast it is a treatment for genito-urinary ailments. The dried leaf infusion is taken for stomach troubles in Ghana. Studies at the University of Nigeria have revealed that extracts of ripe and unripe papaya fruits and of the seeds are active against gram-positive bacteria. Strong doses are effective against gram-negative bacteria. The substance has protein-like properties. The fresh crushed seeds yield the aglycone of glucotropaeolin benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC) which is bacteriostatic, bactericidal and fungicidal. A single effective does is 4-5 g seeds (25-30 mg BITC).
In a London hospital in 1977, a post-operative infection in a kidney-transplant patient was cured by strips of papaya which were laid on the wound and left for 48 hours, after all modern medications had failed.
Plant extracts with a high content of proteolytic enzymes have been used for a long time in traditional medicine. Besides proteolytic enzymes from plants, ‘modern’ enzyme therapy additionally includes pancreatic enzymes. The therapeutic use of proteolytic enzymes is partly based on scientific studies and is partly empirical.
Papaya Complex Benefits
Apart from its digestive properties, papain has been used to treat ulcers, dissolve membranes in diphtheria and reduce swelling, fever and adhesions after surgery, and has also been credited with the following benefits:
And now its being used in new BIO cleaning products for the prevention of asthma attacks caused by air allergens and the spread of MRSA.
About the Author
Ian Harper owns and operates a cleaning company, http://www.allergystop.carpet-upholstery-cleaner.com/ which specialises in Asthma Attack Prevention caused by air allergens in the home and work place. , using the most up-to-date efficient methods and allergystop (allergstop). this product is also useful in controlling MRSA. You can learn more about this unique cleaning technologies by visiting the website for his Carpet Cleaners Network.