The carica papaya or pawpaw as it is commonly known is an edible plant easily available in the tropics. Its main use is as a digestive agent due to the presence of papin a plant-based digestive enzyme. The ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit of papaya can be eaten cooked.
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.
The juice of Papaya has an antiproliferative effect on in vitro liver cancer cells, probably due to its component of lycopene. Moreover in lab tests, Papaya Leaf Extract has demonstrated potency in killing cancer cells. See Rahmat, Asmah et al.. “Antiproliferative activity of pure lycopene compared to both extracted lycopene and juices from watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris) and papaya (Carica papaya) on human breast and liver cancer cell lines”. http://www.scialert.net/pdfs/jms/2002/55-58.pdf. Retrieved 9 May 2009.
University of Florida researcher Nam Dang, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues in Japan have documented papaya’s dramatic anticancer effect against a broad range of lab-grown tumors, including cancers of the cervix, breast, liver, lung and pancreas. The researchers used an extract made from dried papaya leaves, and the anticancer effects were stronger when cells received larger doses of the tea. See ScienceDaily (Mar.10, 2010)http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100309182449.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29.
In a paper published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Dang and his colleagues documented for the first time that papaya leaf extract boosts the production of key signaling molecules called Th1-type cytokines. This regulation of the immune system, in addition to papaya’s direct antitumor effect on various cancers, suggests possible therapeutic strategies that use the immune system to fight cancers. See further Papaya extract thwarts growth of cancer cells in lab tests”. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100309182449.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29. Retrieved 3 March 2010.