The Wonders of Papaya Leaves

Papayas are one of the juiciest and most refreshing fruits you can find. There are multiple ways to enjoy them – either raw, or in a shake, salad, or dessert. However, the fruit isn’t the only edible part of the papaya plant. Not many people know that both the leaves and fruits are valuable ingredients in making medicines. This is because of the presence of ‘papain’ – a chemical which breaks down protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

The leaves of this plant contain countless benefits. For instance, they can treat dengue fever, malaria, and blood sugar instability. Further, it aids skin, hair, digestive, liver health. Therefore, societies from around the world use this in culinary and folk healing forms. In addition, animal and test tube studies from around the world its effects. So, here’s why you should go for not just the fruit, but the leaves as well!

Treatment of Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease. It can result in symptoms such as fever, fatigue, nausea, and rashes, all of which are very similar to the flu. Further, it can reduce platelet levels of the blood. Over time, this may increase risk of bleeding and fatality. Worse of all, dengue is a transmissible disease – this means that it can spread quickly between human beings.

Thankfully, papaya leaves can help cure such symptoms. Papaya leaf extract, for instance, can restore blood platelet levels, and thus prevent bleeding. Above all, this is a natural cure which comes with little to no side effects. It is cheaper than other medicines as well. To avail these benefits, simply drink a small glass of papaya juice twice a day.

Blood Sugar Balance

It isn’t just modern and Ayurvedic doctors who suggest treatment through papaya leaves. Mexican folk medicine, for instance, uses this to ensure stable blood sugars and thus cure diabetes. Similarly, scientific studies among diabetic mice show that these leaves carry antioxidant effects and lower blood sugar. This is because the leaves protect the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells from damage and eventual death.

However, studies do not suggest whether the same or similar effects occur in human beings. So, more research in this area can strengthen these findings.

Aids Digestion

Poor digestion is a common worldwide issue today. It usually takes place through symptoms such as gas, bloating, and heartburn. Thankfully, papaya leaves are rich in both fibre and the papain compound which relieves these symptoms. Papain, namely, helps to cut down larger proteins into smaller and digestible forms. In fact, many cooking practices use this to make meat more tender.

Similarly, papain powder helps to treat symptoms such as heartburn and constipation. Thus, it is especially helpful for those facing irritable bowel symptoms (IBS). However, more research can help to confirm its impact on digestion at large. Overall, more studies which speak of its effects on humans can help.

Hair Health

Ditch the toners and serums. Instead, look towards a healthy and nourishing glass of papaya leaf juice or shake. Alternatively, you can prepare a papaya leaf mask too apply to your hair. This is a natural and cost-effective home solution to improve hair growth and scalp health. This is because papaya is antioxidant rich – and thus reduces hair loss caused by oxidative stress. For instance, antioxidant properties such as vitamin E and flavonoids can promote hair health.

In addition, regular use of papaya leaves can prevent dandruff as well. This is namely due to the overgrowth of the Malassezia fungus which can prevent hair growth. Papaya leaves, however, contain valuable anti fungal properties which promote hair health. For instance, multiple test tube studies show that it can promote hair and scalp health in this manner.

Skin Health

You can use these leaves as either an ointment or consume it orally. Both these methods can provide you with supple and youthful skin. This is again because of the substance, papain, which removes dead skin cells, ingrown hairs, and acne, and naturally exfoliates the skin. Further, this substance can promote wound healing. For instance, one study among rabbits finds that it lowers the presence of scar tissues.

Make use of these leaves on cracked or dry skin to witness highest results. Alternatively, you may use this to retain healthy skin as well.

Anticancer properties

Traditional medical practices from around the world stress on papaya leaves as a treatment for certain cancer types. For instance, test tube studies show that it can prevent the growth of prostate and breast cancer. Further, papaya leaves form part of a wider subset of antioxidant rich foods, all of which enable cancer prevention. On the other hand, studies among human beings and animals are yet to confirm the same.

Thus, if you do opt for papaya leaves as a cancer preventative measure, be sure to consume this in tandem with other medicines or foods.

Boosts Immunity

These leaves are rich in immunity boosting compounds, such as phenolic compounds, papain, and alkaloids. Moreover, they contain numerous vitamins and antioxidants. For instance, the presence of vitamin C can boost immunity and protect you from infections. Among other benefits, it can heal wounds and enable tissue and cell regeneration.

Weight Loss

Many people worry that the sugar content in fruits can cause them to gain weight. However, this isn’t the case with papaya, or its leaves. This is because papaya leaves have lower calories than other fruits at a given volume, and also hold a high fibre count. These fibres keep you satiated for longer and prevent overeating. In this manner, they help your body detoxify naturally. Finally, it raises metabolism levels as well, which contributes to weight loss.

Menstrual Health

Isn’t that time of the month simply annoying? Luckily, papaya leaves can help you get through it. They help to reduce uterus contractions, and can thus ease cramps as well. In addition, the papain enzyme helps blood pass out from the uterus smoothly. Finally, it can naturally reduce symptoms of polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD). So, reach out for a papaya leaf smoothie the next time you are on your periods.

Takeaways

There’s more to the papaya plant than what meets the eye. The fruit is definitely juicy and nutritious – but the leaves pack in wonders of their own. This is because it contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Each of these promote long term health. They can namely treat dengue fever, high blood sugar, and menstrual pain. Moreover, it aids digestive, hair, heart and skin health, and boosts immunity and weight loss. So next time, don’t throw away those papaya leaves. Cook it into a dish or blend it in a smoothie instead.

Check out an Ayurvedic package for weight loss here. 

Click here to join us here at Mekosha for an Ayurvedic retreat in Kerala. 

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