The papaya is the Fruit of the plant carica papaya in the genus carica. It is native to the tropics of the Americas, and was cultivated in Mexico several centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classic cultures. It is sometimes called a big melon or a pawpaw but the north American pawpaw is a different species, in the genus asimina.

It is a large tree – like plant, the single stem growing From 5 to 10 metres talls, with spirally arranged leaves confirmed to the top of the trunk; the lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and Fruit were borne. The leaves are large 50-70 cm diameter, deeplypalmately lobed with 7 lobes. The tree is usually unbranches if unlopped. They appear on the exils of the leaves, maturing into the large 15-45 cm long, 10 – 30 cm diameter Fruit. The Fruit is ripe when it Feels soft and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue. The Fruit’s taste is vaguely similar to pineapple and peach, although much milder without the tartness.

It is the First Fruit tree to have its genome deciphered.


Green papaya Fruit and the tree’s latex are both rich in an enzyme called papain, a protease which is useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat Fibres was utilized For thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers, and is also marketed in tablet Form to remedy digestive problems. Green papaya is used in Thai cuisine, both raw and cooked.

Papain is also popular as a tropical application in the treatment of cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made From Fermented papaya Flesh, and is applied as a gel – like paste.

Allergies And Side Effects

Papaya is Frequently used For hair conditioner but should be used in small proportions. Caution should be taken when harvesting, as papaya is known to release a latex Fluid when not quite ripe, which can cause irritation and provoke allergic reaction in some people. The papaya Fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves also contain carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid which can be dangerous in high doses.

It is also commonly believed to induce abortions and is best avoided by pregnant women.

Excessive consumption of papaya, as of carrots, can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of soles and palms which is otherwise harmless.


Papaya recipes can easily be Found in Ayesha’s Kitchen.

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