Papaya originated from tropical American countries and is now grown worldwide. Even though it is a tropical plant it may be grown with success as an indoor plant in colder climates. The leaves, fruit, skin, seeds, flowers, latex and roots may be used in a variety of concoctions. The leaves may be dried, (24C) stored in a cool dry place and used as a herbal tea. The fruit may be sliced, dried in a dehydrator (24C) and stored as for any other dried fruit.
The flesh of the mature green papaya is very high in papain (an enzyme that is used in a dried form to tenderise meat). Papain and other plant enzymes are able to tolerate a wide range of PH so that they are able to work both in an acid stomach and an alkaline small intestine. The flesh of the mature green papaya may be used to assist in the digestion, thereby taking pressure of the pancreas. It is reported that the enzymes in papaya are able to digest undigested debris in the intestinal tract. The enzymes in papaya are used to ripen the fruit so that by the time a papaya is fully ripe, very few enzymes are left.
It goes without saying that the papaya be grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals, especially if you are going to use the leaves or the skin or the fruit.
The seeds of ripe papaya are very easy to germinate. Just bury them about 1/2 inch under good composted soil in a planter box or directly in the garden. If the weather is warm they will germinate in less than a week. If you live in a cold climate then place the planter box in a warm place (30C) , such as on top of a water heater. When the plants reach about 20cm high they may be harvested and the entire plant used to make a tea, added to sauerkraut, or blended in a banana smoothie.
Chop up three leaves and cook in one litre of water. Simmer until the water is reduced to half, strain and store in the refrigerator. Fifty ml, three times a day is considered to be a therapeutic dose. For preventative measures it is used in much the same way that the Japanese drink green tea.
Papaya tea goes off within about 3 days so if you do not have a fresh supply then you may consider preserving the leaves and fruit either by drying or lacto-fermentation.
The seeds may be dried in a dehydrator then ground in a mortar and pestle, and used like pepper.
The flesh of the mature green papaya makes a pleasantly bitter sauerkraut. For therapeutic purposes the skin may be left on but it will make it very bitter. The skin is reputed to have the same beneficial effects as the leaves.
Papaya tea may be used in place of black tea to make a Kombucha tea. The papaya tea extract may also be preserved by mixing one part papaya tea with three parts of Kombucha tea. You may also preserve the peel of the mature green papaya in Kombucha tea that has gone to vinegar.
Papaya smoothies are very easy to make. Just blend ripe papaya with banana and your choice of fruits such as passion fruit or orange. Add raw milk or kefir for additional nutrition and flavour.
For added health benefits, instead of a ripe papaya, use mature green papaya with or without the skin. As mature green papaya may be quite hard, it may help to grate the green papaya before blending it.
Ripe papaya also makes a delicious desert. Chop the papaya into 1 inch cubes then sprinkle with lemon juice.
And Their Traditional Treatment with Papaya
Harald Tietze lists about fifty ailments, including cancer, that respond well to papaya. You may wish to do an internet search for more information on Stan Sheldon who claims he cured himself and others of cancer with papaya.
In rare cases people have been allergic to the pollen of papaya. The latex from the plant or green fruit may burn the lips. Pregnant women should avoid recipes containing unripe fruit, skins, leaves, seeds or latex since this may lead to an abortion. Over dosing may have negative effects. Women from traditional societies used papaya as a contraceptive.
Reference: Harald W. Tietze, Papaya (Pawpaw) The Medicine Tree 2nd edition, 1997.
1 teaspoon = 5 ml / 5 gm. 1 tablespoon = 15 ml / 15 gm. 15 tablespoons = 1 cup / 225 ml. 1 cup = 8 fluid oz / 225 ml. 1 US gallon = 3.6 litres. 1 lb = 16 oz / 454 gm. Temperature 20C = 68F. Conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius: C = (F - 32) / 1.8. Conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit: F = C x 1.8 + 32
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