Carica papaya

The papaya (from Carib via Spanish), papaw or pawpaw is the fruit of the plantCarica papaya, in the genus Carica. It is native to the tropics of theAmericas, and was first cultivated in Mexico several centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classic cultures.

It is a large tree-like plant, with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 metres (16 to 33 ft) tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk. The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and fruit were borne. The leaves are large, 50–70 centimetres (20–28 in) diameter, deeply palmately lobed with 7 lobes. The tree is usually unbranched if unlopped. The flowers are similar in shape to the flowers of the Plumeria, but are much smaller and wax-like. They appear on the axils of the leaves, maturing into the large 15–45 centimetres (5.9–18 in) long, 10–30 centimetres (3.9–12 in) diameter fruit. The fruit is ripewhen it feels soft (like a ripe avocado or a bit softer) and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue.

Carica papaya was the first fruit tree to have its genome deciphered.[1]

Uses

Papayas can be used as a food, a cooking aid, and in medicine. The stem and bark are also used in rope production.

Gastronomy

The ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit of papaya can be eaten cooked, usually in curriessalads and stews. It has a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies.

Green papaya is used in south east Asian cooking, both raw and cooked.[8]

The black seeds are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground and used as a substitute for black pepper. In some parts of Asia, the young leaves of papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach. In some parts of the world, papaya leaves are made into tea as a preventative for malaria, though there is no real scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this treatment.[9]


Green papaya fruit and the tree’s latex are both rich in an enzyme called papain, a protease which is useful in tenderizingmeat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibers was used for thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers.

Folk medicine

Papaya is marketed in tablet form to remedy digestive problems.

Papain is also applied topically (in countries where it grows) for the treatment of cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made from fermented papaya flesh, and is applied as a gel-like paste. Harrison Ford was treated for a ruptured disc incurred during filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by papain injections.[10]

Women in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other countries have long used green papaya as a folk remedy for contraception and abortion. Enslaved women in the West Indies were noted for consuming papaya to prevent pregnancies and thus preventing their children from being born into slavery.[11] Medical research in animals has confirmed the contraceptive and abortifacient capability of papaya, and also found that papaya seeds have contraceptive effects in adult male langur monkeys, and possibly in adult male humans, as well.[12] Unripe papaya is especially effective in large amounts or high doses. Ripe papaya is not teratogenic and will not cause miscarriage in small amounts. Phytochemicals in papaya may suppress the effects ofprogesterone.[13]

 

{Information courtesy Wikipedia}