Papaya as a medicinal plant

O'Hare, Timothy J. and Williams, David J. (2014). Papaya as a medicinal plant. In Ray Ming and Paul H. Moore (Ed.), Genetics and genomics of papaya (pp. 391-407) New York, NY, United States: Springer New York. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-8087-7_21

Author O'Hare, Timothy J.
Williams, David J.
Title of chapter Papaya as a medicinal plant
Title of book Genetics and genomics of papaya
Place of Publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Springer New York
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-8087-7_21
Open Access Status
Series Plant genetics and genomics: crops and models
ISBN 978-1-4614-8086-0
Editor Ray Ming
Paul H. Moore
Volume number 10
Chapter number 22
Start page 391
End page 407
Total pages 17
Total chapters 21
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Papaya has been used medicinally to treat an extremely broad range of ailments including intestinal worms, dengue fever, diabetes, hypertension, wound repair, and as an abortion agent. Although papaya is most commonly consumed as a ripe fruit, the plant tissues used as curatives are mainly derived from the seeds, young leaves, latex, or green immature fruit. The agents responsible for action have not been conclusively identified for all uses, but there is increasing evidence that activity may be attributable to benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC) in the case of anthelmintic and abortifacient action, and to the protease papain, and possibly chymopapain, in relation to wound repair. The location of these compounds in papaya tissues is likely to explain why different tissues are used for different ailments. Seeds, young leaves, and latex are good sources of BITC and are consequently used as a curative for intestinal worms. Immature green fruit is a good source of protease and is used as a topical application for burn wounds to accelerate tissue repair. The type of papaya tissue used may therefore provide a clue as to the active agent in ailments where papaya extracts have exhibited some activity (diabetes, hypertension, dengue fever). However, the compound(s) responsible for action remains to be identified. Modes of action of papaya extracts vary, but may include lowering blood glucose levels (diabetes), vascular muscle relaxation (hypertension), increasing blood cell count (dengue fever), stimulation of cell proliferation (wound healing), spasmodic contraction of uterine muscles (abortion), and induction of phase 2 enzymes (cancer chemoprevention). Although there has been increased study over the last decade into the physiological mode of action of papaya extracts, further increase in the knowledge of the compounds responsible for curative action will help to transfer the use of papaya from folklore remedies to mainstream medicinal use.
Q-Index Code BX
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Thu, 16 Apr 2015, 15:06:37 EST by Caitlin Maskell on behalf of Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences