Papaya is marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems.

Papain is also applied topically (in countries where it grows) for 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. Harrison Ford was treated for a ruptured disc incurred during filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by papain injections.[6]

Women in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other countries have long used green papaya as a folk remedy for contraception and abortion. [ citation needed] Enslaved women in the West Indies were noted for consuming papaya to prevent pregnancies and thus preventing their children from being born into slavery. Medical research in animals has confirmed the contraceptive and abortifacient capability of papaya, and also found that papaya seeds have contraceptive effects in adult male langur monkeys, possibly in adult male humans as well.[7] Unripe papaya is especially effective in large amounts or high doses. Ripe papaya is not teratogenic and will not cause miscarriage in small amounts. Phytochemicals in papaya may suppress the effects of progesterone .[8]

Allergies and side-effects

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Papaya is frequently used as a hair conditioner but should be used in small proportions. Papaya releases 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 contains carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid (a drug that removes parasitic worms from the body) which can be dangerous in high doses.

It is speculated that unripe papayas may cause miscarriage due to latex content that may cause uterine contractions which may lead to a miscarriage. Papaya seed extracts in large doses have a contraceptive effect on rats and monkeys, but in small doses have no effect on the unborn animals.

Excessive consumption of papaya can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of soles and palms which is otherwise harmless. However, a very large dose would need to be consumed; papaya contains approximately sixteen times less beta carotene than carrots (the most common cause of carotenemia) per 100g.[9]

Medicinal potential

The juice has an antiproliferative effect on in vitro liver cancer cells, probably due to its component of lycopene .[11]

Papaya seed could be used as an antibacterial agent for Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhi, although further research is needed before advocating large-scale therapy.[12]

Papaya seed extract may be nephroprotective (protect the kidneys) in toxicity-induced kidney failure[13]

Raw, fresh papaya leaves ground into juice can increase platelet count dramatically in a matter of days. [ citation needed]

Papaya Leaf Extract Thwarts Growth of Cancer Cells in Lab Tests[14]

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