Melon tree, or papaya

Parts used: unripe fruits, leaves.

Pharmacy name: milky juice of unripe papaya fruits – Papaya-Latex (Papainum, Papayotinum), papaya leaves – Caricae papaye folium (formerly: Folia Caricae papayae).

Botanical description. The melon tree comes from the tropics, where it is successfully bred. There are extensive plantations in Sri Lanka, East Africa, Pakistan, India, Australia and Brazil. The tree reaches 4-6 (up to 8) m in height, has spongy wood and a crown formed by a bunch of large petiolate leaves, palmately dissected into 7 segments. The fruits are similar to melons, very large, weighing up to 7 kg, yellow when ripe. Local residents use the yellow pulp of the fruit fresh and make compotes from it.

Collection and preparation. It is very important to collect unripe fruits. In their peel is a transparent milky juice, which is obtained by making incisions. In the air, it quickly dries and hardens. This is the raw material called Papaya-Latex. From it, the enzyme papain is obtained, which in its crude form is called papaiotin. Leaves are harvested when young.

active ingredients. Papain is the most important of the six enzymes isolated from papaya juice. The rest: chymopapain A, chymopapain B, lysozyme, callase, lipase and glutamine transferase; besides them, there are also amino acids. The leaves contain papain and other enzymes, glycosides, saponins and alkaloids.

Healing action and application. Papain, as well as a mixture of Papaya-Latex enzymes, are used in the form of various ready-made products for violations of gastrointestinal secretion, especially when it is difficult to digest proteins. In the tropics, the milky sap is used as a remedy for tapeworms. The leaves are also used as an anthelmintic medicine.

Side effects in therapeutic dosages are unknown.

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