Papaya or Powpaw
Carica papaya L. PAPAYA FAMILY
Well-known in Australia and New Zealand as pawpaw, this native plant of tropical America was widely cultivated in pre-Columbian period. An evergreen tree grows 6 to 8 meters tall and it has a stright trunk and lobed palm-like leaves. Cream male and larger female flowers which are flowering from Winter to Spring are carried on separate trees. Melon-sized fruits are yellow-orange, which many small, black seeds in the centre.
Papaya is best known for its sweet, yellow fruit and it contains the enzyme papain substance, which can “digest” protein of up to 35 times its own weight in lean meat. Medicinally, papaiin is effective in the treatment of people who have difficulty digesting protein and for breaking up blood cloths after surgery. An alkaloid isolated from papaya leaves is a heart depressant. The black, nost-tasting seeds that are grown in the central hollow of the fruit may be used as a subsitute for pepper. However, they may have adverse effects on the digestive intestines (DI).
At one point in time, papaya was used to treat diphtheria, burns and intestinal worms. Since then, the enzyme papain, found in papaya’s sap, has been identified as teh substance responsible for breaking down protein, making it an effective treatment for people who have difficulty in digesting protein, and as an anticlotting agent. It is also added to creams for iches and stings. The ripe papaya can be eaten raw but green papaya needs to be cooked first. The juice is applied as a meat tenderiser.