rel=”nofollow noopener”>It’s no secret that papaya, a tropical superfruit, has extraordinary health benefits, but many people don’t know that every part of the plant can boost our health, including its amazing leaves. Like the fruit, the papaya leaf and papaya leaf extract contain high quantities of papain and chymopapain, aka enzymes responsible for overall health and well-being. These ‘proteolytic’ enzymes digest proteins and are known to boost immunity, and reduce inflammation in the body. Papain can also reduce bloating, act as a diuretic, and soothe heartburn.
Unfortunately, papaya was almost wiped out by a viral disease, which appeared in the 1940’s and slowly spread from farm to farm and island to island. To fight this deadly disease, scientists designed the papaya with a gene that allowed them to withstand the virus, making it the first fruit to be genetically modified in 1998. As a result, it can be hard to find papayas that are non-GMO in stores. This is problematic because GMO papayas contain a string of amino acids identical to a known allergen, which could cause allergic reactions, and increase antibiotic resistance, which contributes to the risk of superbugs.
Papaya also contains more of those beneficial proteolytic enzymes in its un-ripened form, and most people usually opt for the ripe version. Thankfully, papaya leaf extract allows you to soak up papaya’s unique enzymes without having to find and eat the rare, non-ripened GMO fruit. Even better, is a non-GMO organic papaya supplement, such as those provided by leading suppliers like Herbal Papaya.
This online store, in particular offers a wide array of top-shelf rel=”nofollow noopener”>non-GMO papaya leaf extracts in capsules, juice, tea, and tinctures. Papaya leaf extracts in capsule and liquid form often come as a glycerin extract – an alcohol and gluten-free liquid herbal preparation that uses vegetable glycerin as its main method of extraction. Papaya leaf extract liquids and supplements are created using the whole organic papaya leaf herb or as a proprietary blend that aims to support blood health, high platelet counts, immune system function, and digestion. Papaya leaf extract is much more potent than a dose of the actual fruit. For instance, some liquid extracts contain 1,000 mg of healing papaya medicine in just 1/8 of a teaspoon. HerbalPapaya’s non-GMO liquid extract is the highest quality and most powerful available.
Benefits of Papaya Leaf Extract
Papaya leaves are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that do everything from supporting digestion, to promoting healthy hair, to fighting different types of cancer. Here are seven health benefits of papaya leaf extract:
1. Makes Your Skin Glow
Papayas contain an abundance of vitamins and enzymes that make them powerful antioxidants. Rhonda Klein, board certified dermatologist at Connecticut Dermatology Group, explains that vitamin C, E, D, A and papain contribute to your skin’s health. “Papain, a natural exfoliating enzyme in papaya, helps clear pores, leaving skin glowing and healthy,” says Klein.
Vitamin A and alpha hydroxy acids in papayas can also break up dead skin cells to improve skin tone, help with collagen remodeling, and lightening lentigos. Klein added that papayas are rich in vitamin C, which works to naturally lighten sun spots and soothe the skin. Dr. Alex Roher, certified anesthesiologist and founder of SDBotox, says that the vitamin C in papaya leaves can release antioxidants that fight skin aging. “This antioxidant is beneficial for issues like acne, wrinkles, and heavy pigmentation,” he says.
2. Boosts Your Immune System
If you can’t kick a common cold, you may want to try papaya leaf extract. High concentrations of vitamin A and vitamin C in papaya leaves work to strengthen your immune system and keep colds and coughs from returning. One study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology also concluded that papaya leaf extracts can boost Th1 type cytokines in the immune system. These signaling molecules regulate the immune system, giving papaya more immunotherapeutic benefits and providing treatment and prevention of certain diseases and allergic disorders.
The anti-inflammatory properties of papaya leaf extract can help reduce stubborn inflammation. Papain, which is mostly concentrated in the papaya leaf, is thought to reduce inflammation in the body by breaking down damaged and oxidized proteins. These damaged proteins are associated with several autoimmune disorders that make the body much more vulnerable to disease. Susie Wang, Founder of organic skincare and cosmetic brands, 100% Pure and Puristy, says that, in addition to papain, papaya leaves are “rich with carica, a potent anti-inflammatory.”
Dr. Murray Grossan explains that papaya leaves themselves, which are chock full of the anti-inflammatory proteolytic enzyme papain, are beneficial when it comes to external inflammation. “If you sprain your elbow, wrapping it in papaya leaves will reduce the swelling,” he explains.
4. Supports Digestion
At this point, you’re aware that papaya leaves contain some pretty powerful enzymes. Along with papain and chymopapain, the leaves contain protease and amylase. Together, they support proper breakdown of carbs and proteins, which helps with digestion. As a result, papaya leaf extract is often positively associated with digestive or gastric problems, including stomach ulcers. One study shows that the gastric ulcer index of alcohol-induced rats was significantly reduced when they were pretreated with carica papaya leaf extract, and concluded that it could potentially protect against gastric ulcers and oxidative stress.
Papaya leaf extract could also be a solution to common digestive issues, according to Dr. Konda Reddy. For instance, he says that for “those sensitive to gluten, adding the juice to your diet can help assist with its digestion.”
5. Promotes Healthy Hair
If you’re looking for longer, healthier, and shinier hair, papaya leaf extract could be your answer. Susie Wang explained that the scalp can collect too much oil, dirt, and bacteria, which causes an overproduction of yeast. “This is happening often since many women are shampooing their hair less,” she says. “This can cause ringworm, dandruff, psoriasis, itchy scalp, thinning hair (if hair follicles get clogged for too long, hair follicles will plug up and die, and hair can never grow out of that dead follicle), etc.” Papaya leaf purifies and treats the scalp without stripping it because it is rich in karapain, a deep cleansing detoxer with natural anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Wang remarks, “For the hair, all the nutrients in papaya leaf work together for healthier, shinier locks.” This isn’t to say that shampooing your hair less is always a bad thing. Shampooing less can restore shine to your hair, keep healthy amounts of natural oils on your scalp, reduce frizz, and more. It all depends on your hair and your scalp’s oil glands.
6. Increases Blood Platelet Production
If you’ve just suffered from a serious illness, keeping your blood platelet count high is vital. Research shows that papaya leaf extract can increase red blood cell and platelet counts. Patients with dengue fever, a mosquito-borne tropical disease that can cause blood platelet counts to drop to dangerous levels, have benefited from the papaya leaf extract. A 2016 meta-analysis of four studies found that while large clinical trials have not yet been conducted, papaya leaf extract is associated with an increase in platelet counts and a decrease in hospitalization days for patients with dengue. Further research suggests that the ethanol seed, leaf, and pulp extract of papaya may have potential health benefits for general blood-related medical problems.
7. Potentially Fights Cancer
Papain and other proteolytic enzymes found in papaya leaves are understood to break down fibrin protein, which is involved in the process of forming protective coatings for cancer cells. Their ability to destroy cancer cells’ protective coatings has sparked researchers’ interests and created a growing body of studies that examine the possibility of using papain-rich substances as part of cancer treatment. For instance, University of Florida and Japanese researchers teamed up to test how papaya leaf extract affects breast, liver, cervical, lung, and pancreatic cancer. They found that high doses of papaya leaf tea slowed the growth of every type of tumor tested. Papaya leaves also contain acetogenins — polyketides derived from long-chained fatty acids with the potential to prevent the growth of vessels in or around a tumor and kill cells resistant to chemotherapy.
Tap Into the Benefits Of The Papaya Leaf Extract
Many people may recognize the benefits of papaya fruit, but their leaves tend to fly under the radar. These leafy greens are particularly beneficial, providing immune support, skin health, hair health, and more. If you aren’t a fan of taking supplements or liquid extracts, try papaya leaves in rel=”nofollow noopener”>papaya leaves in tea or juice form. Whatever form of papaya leaves you choose, make sure they’re non-GMO like these from HerbalPapaya. Reddy warns that some people are allergic to papaya and “can experience adverse reactions when drinking papaya leaf juice (or taking extracts).” Always speak to your doctor before taking new supplements.
Meredith Minor is a freelance writer, dance teacher, avid reader and wife from Nashville, TN.
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