Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXIX No. 24, April 1-15, 2020
On roadsides in Chennai, street-cart vendors do a roaring sale of Papaya slices. Many house in Madras has Papaya tree. And it is the one fruit doctors in the city recommend as safe. But how many are really familiar with its medicinal properties? Nalini urging to take papaya as often as you can, writes on some of the latest findings on the fruit.
Originally native to southern Mexico and now widely cultivated in many tropical countries (including India) the papaya (Carica Papaya) plant has been touted by traditional healers for centuries as a source of powerful medicine. Not only is the papaya fruit delicious, it is also loaded with vitamins and phytochemicals. Other parts of the plant too have been used historically to treat health problems too.
Now University of Florida (UF) researcher Dr. Nam Dang and his colleagues in Japan have announced new evidence that papaya fights cancer cells. In fact, they discovered that an extract made from dried papaya leaves produced a dramatic anti-cancer effect against a broad range of tumours grown in the laboratory including cancers of the cervix, breast, liver, lung and pancreas.
The study, recently published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology not only showed that papaya has a direct anti-tumour effect on a variety of malignancies, but it also documented for the first time that papaya leaf extract increases the production of key signalling molecules called Th1-type cytokines.
That’s important because this regulation of the immune system raises the strong possibility that the use of papaya could help the body’s own immune system to overcome cancers. In addition, it suggests papaya could be helpful in treating or preventing other health problems such as inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
The research team found that papaya’s anti-cancer effects were strongest when cancer cells received larger doses of the papaya leaf extract – yet, unlike many mainstream cancer therapies, there were no toxic effects at all on normal cells.
In a statement to the media, Dr. Dang pointed out that the ability of papaya extract to stop cancer without toxicity is consistent with reports from indigenous populations in Australia and in his native Vietnam.
“Based on what I have seen and heard in a clinical setting, nobody who takes this extract experiences demonstrable toxicity; it seems like you could take it for a long time – as long as it is effective,” stated Dr. Dang, who is a professor of medicine and the medical director of the UF Shands Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office.
In all, the UF scientists exposed ten different types of cancer cell cultures to four strengths of papaya leaf extract. When they measured the effect of the extract after 24 hours, the papaya had slowed the growth of tumours in all the cultures.
What exactly does papaya do to halt malignancies? To find out, the researchers focused on a T-lymphoma cancer cell line. They discovered that at least one of the mechanisms that makes papaya extract a potent anti-cancer weapon is the natural compound’s ability to cause malignant cells – but not normal ones – to die.
The researchers hope to follow up these experiments by eventually testing the papaya cancer treatment in animal and human studies. Up next for Dr. Dang and his colleagues: they’ve applied to patent a process to distill the papaya extract through the University of Tokyo and they are working to identify all the specific compounds in the papaya extract that are active against cancer cells.
To this end, Dr. Dang has partnered with Hendrik Luesch, a UF Shands Cancer Center professor of medicinal chemistry who is an expert in the identification and use of natural products for medical purposes.
Papaya leaf juice is claimed to have reversed cancer in many people living on the Gold Coast in Australia.
Harold W. Tietze, in his book Papayas – The Medicine Tree, describes how to make the juice and tells the stories of many cancer survivors who reportedly used the juice to get rid of their cancer.
The book contains the the following report that was published in the Gold Coast Bulletin, ‘PawPaw Cancer Plea Bears Fruit’.
Gold Coast gardeners have responded to an appeal by cancer victims desperate to find supplies of pawpaw leaves. And the Gold Coast man who, 14 years ago, first exposed the leaves as a possible cure for cancer has been tracked down to a Labrador (Gold Coast) nursing home.
The story of how Stan Sheldon cured himself of cancer by drinking the boiled extract of pawpaw leaves was first told in the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1978.
Now research in the United States has given scientific support to his claim, isolating a chemical compound in the pawpaw tree which is reported to be a million times stronger than the strongest anti-cancer drug.
Mr Sheldon, says the discovery does not surprise him. “I was dying from cancer in both lungs when it was suggested to me as an old Aboriginal remedy,” he said. “I tried it for two months and then I was required to have a chest x-ray during those compulsory TB checks they used to have. They told me both lungs were clear. I told my specialists and they didn’t believe me until they had carried out their own tests. Then they scratched their heads and recommended I carry on drinking the extract I boiled out of the papaw leaves.”
That was in 1962. The cancer never recurred. Since then Mrs Sheldon has passed the recipe onto other cancer victims. “Sixteen of them were cured,” he said. Mr. Sheldon’s involves boiling and simmering fresh pawpaw leaves and stems in a pan for two hours before draining and bottling the extract. He said the mixture could be kept in a refrigerator though it may ferment after three or four days.”
One man has been growing pawpaws and giving away the leaves to cancer victims ever since he read the Bulletin’s – original 1978 story about Mr. Sheldon. “I have no doubt that it works,” he said. “I know people walking around now who should have been dead according to their original cancer diagnosis. But the pawpaw treatment helped them to beat the cancer.”
The recipe is as follows: Wash and partly dry several medium-size papaya leaves. Cut them up like cabbage and place them in a saucepan with 2 litres of water. Bring the water and leaves to the boil and simmer without a lid until the water is reduced by half.
-Strain the liquid and bottle in glass containers.
-The concentrate will keep in the refrigerator for three to four days. If it becomes cloudy, it should be discarded.
-The recommended dosage in the original recipe is 3 tablespoons/50 ml three times a day.
It is also reported that papaya juice is a natural cure for dengue fever. The report states that it was a serious situation for a patient suffering from dengue for her platelet count had dropped to 28,000 after three days in hospital and water started to fill up her lung. She had difficulty in breathing. She was only 32-year old. Doctors said there was no cure for dengue. “We just have to wait for her body immune system to build up resistance against dengue and fight its own battle.”
Then a relative heard that papaya juice would help to reduce the fever and got some papaya leaves, pounded them and squeezed the juice out for her. The next day, her platelet count started to increase, her fever subsided. The family continued to feed her with papaya juice and she recovered after 3 days!
It was explained that a person’s body became overheated when down with dengue and that also caused the patient to have fever. Papaya juice had a cooling effect and helps to reduce the level of heat in a patient’s body.
Editors Note: This was sent to us by a reader in Australia who has long been interested in traditional medicine. We wonder what are our doctors’ view on this are.
Sweet and tasty papaya makes an excellent breakfast and is good in fruit salads. It can be blended with yoghurt to make a delicious digestive smoothie. It also works well as an added ingredient in green salads. It tastes particularly good with lemon juice squeezed over it. The health benefits of papaya include heart disease and cancer prevention, cold and flu prevention and healthy digestions.
Papaya is an excellent source of Vitamin C, with one medium papaya containing about 150 per cent of the daily value. It is also a good source of Vitamin A, in beta-carotene form. It is also a good source of vitamin K, Vitamin E and folate as well as the mineral potassium.
One of the health benefits of papaya is related to the fact that it contains high doses of three vitamins involved in heart disease prevention – Vitamin A, vitamin E and beta-carotene. In addition, the high levels of folate found in papayas can help lower levels of the heart disease, promoting amino acid homocysteine.
Foods high in Vitamin C, such a papaya, help to boost the immune system. Vitamin C has been shown to help ward off symptoms of influenza A, the common cold and pneumonia. Vitamin A provides additional immune system support.
Because papayas are rich in folate, they have applications in preventing neural tube defects. Eating folate-rich foods pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy can help the fetal spinal column to develop normally.
Papaya contains special digestive enzymes, called papain and chymopapain, which help digest proteins. Papaya is often used as a detoxification food and to give the digestive system a break, because it is so rich in its own digestive enzymes. Papaya also contains anti-oxidant Vitamins C and E as well as folate, all of which can help prevent colon cancer.