Health Benefits of Papaya Leaf

October 04, 2022
Fresh papaya tree

The papaya, also known as papaw or pawpaw, is originally from Southern Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America. Papaya’s bright color, sweet taste, and surprising list of health benefits make it a popular fruit worldwide, which is why papayas are now grown in nearly every tropical climate in the world.

Every part of the papaya fruit benefits health, which is one of its most favorable features. The flesh of papaya is rich in nutrients that are not readily available, including beta-carotene, vitamin E, and vitamin C. The papaya seeds are rich in fatty acids required by the body and can be used to make papaya oil.

However, one of the most remarkable parts of the papaya plant is the papaya leaf. In countries worldwide, papaya leaves have been used for generations to treat a host of disorders and improve overall health. The leaves can be easily obtained from the papaya plant, and each leaf offers a host of nutrients that contribute to better health. Here are a few benefits of consuming papaya leaf juice.

  1. Papaya Leaf is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

The extract of papaya leaves forms a potent anti-inflammatory that works wonders in reducing inflammation and healing the body. The leaves contain a compound called papain, a potent anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation by breaking down oxidized proteins in the body.

If these oxidized proteins are left unchecked, they wreak havoc in the body by causing inflammation and can result in violent fevers. Drinking a regular dose of papaya leaf juice helps to keep the body free from oxidized proteins and allows the body to relax by eliminating inflammation.

Along with papain, papaya leaves are rich in another potent anti-inflammatory called carica. The combination of these two compounds makes the papaya leaf highly effective in dealing with inflammation which can be a big part of the recovery process of any disease.

The leaves themselves are also effective for treating external injuries. Many doctors recommend wrapping a papaya leaf around a broken arm or bruised knee to speed up healing.

  1. Leaves Support Digestion

While papaya is excellent for digestion, the leaves work wonders at processing nutrients in the body and cleaning out the colon.

Along with papain, papaya leaf also contains an enzyme called chymopapain. Both these compounds work in tandem to aid digestion, prevent constipation, and clean out the colon. Besides, as mentioned earlier, the papain found in the leaf is an anti-inflammatory and helps heal the colon and prevent the formation of stomach ulcers.

And it doesn’t stop there! Leaves of the papaya are also rich in two key digestive enzymes – protease and amylase. These enzymes found in the leaf effectively break down carbohydrates, proteins, and a few minerals. This makes it a lot easier for your body to absorb nutrients from the food you eat.

The leaf juice can also help people suffering from common digestive issues. For example, those who have trouble processing gluten can consume papaya leaf juice regularly to digest their food more efficiently.

  1. Papaya Leaf Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

Papaya leaf extract is highly effective in regulating and maintaining blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. This potent leaf increases insulin sensitivity and thereby improves the absorption of sugar by the body.

Additionally, papaya leaf juice can improve the overall quality of life of people with diabetes. Diabetes can result in other physiological complications, including kidney damage and fatty liver. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of papaya leaf juice can significantly diminish and even eradicate these symptoms over time, leading to a healthier, more vibrant life.

  1. Leaf Reduces Menstruation Pains

Papaya leaf juice works wonders to ease blood flow during menstruation, relieving most of the discomfort many women feel during their period. The anti-inflammatory properties of this leaf is a blessing during this painful cycle and can significantly reduce the pain experienced during menstruation.

The various hormones and enzymes in the leaf help regulate hormonal imbalances during the menstrual cycle. In this way, papaya leaf juice can play an essential role in dealing with PMS that besets many women before the beginning of their cycle.

You may try this recipe to get the most out of the leaves.

You need:

  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 Tamarind
  • 1 Papaya Leaf

Get rid of the tamarind seeds and extract the juice from the papaya leaf. Mix the leaf and these ingredients in a vessel and heat the concoction till it starts to boil. You may want to cool the papaya leaf juice before drinking it.

This leaf juice will significantly reduce ‘period pains’ and make this aspect of your life much more enjoyable.

  1. Papayas Give Your Immune System a Boost

Besides all the beneficial compounds found in the papaya leaf, the leaves are also rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, both of which are highly effective in keeping away common illnesses. These vitamins strengthen the immune system, which strengthens the body against most diseases.

Papaya leaf extract also increases TH1-type cytokines in the immune system. These cytokines found in papaya are responsible for producing a pro-inflammatory response to foreign bodies and help to kill intracellular parasites that enter the system. This compound also ensures the perpetuation of autoimmune reactions to specific threats experienced by the body, ensuring the prevention and treatment of certain allergic diseases and disorders.

This, coupled with the other anti-inflammatory properties of papaya leaf juice, makes for a potent immune-system boost.

  1. Grants More Radiant, Healthier Skin

Thanks to the combination of various nutrients, papaya leaves are perhaps one of humanity’s most widely-ranging and beneficial skincare products.

Vitamin A: Papaya leaf juice is rich in vitamin A, which gives the body retinoids and carotenoids. These potent antioxidants neutralize free radicals, breaking down collagen and contributing to fine lines and wrinkly skin if left alone.

Apart from this, the vitamin A in papaya leaf also lessens the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, providing natural protection against UV rays and sun-induced redness.

Vitamin C: Papaya leaf is abundant in vitamin C, which, besides being a powerful antioxidant, is also responsible for collagen synthesis and helps to build new skin cells and maintain skin elasticity. Vitamin C is a vital part of the two outer layers of the skin – the dermis and the epidermis. Consuming papaya leaf juice regularly provides your body with a steady supply of vitamin C to constantly replenish the skin cells.

Thanks to vitamin C content, papaya leaf has also been shown to fight, prevent, and even treat ultraviolet-induced photodamage caused by overexposure to the sun.

Papain: As mentioned earlier, papain in papaya leaves is a potent anti-inflammatory compound that helps reduce inflammation in pimples and red spots on the body. Aside from this, papain is also a natural exfoliant found in the papaya leaf and helps to clear out the pores, leaving the skin looking fresh and healthy.

Karpain: Karpain is a string of different compounds found in the papaya leaf extract. Karpain checks the growth of excess microorganisms and cleanses your skin of any toxins that may have settled there. Hence, the papaya leaf protects your skin from pimples and acne.

  1. The Leaves Promote Healthy Hair Growth

While consuming papaya leaf extract works wonders within the body, topical application on the scalp can transform your hair.

Karpain found in papaya leaf juice helps to cleanse the scalp of dirt and bacteria, opening up the hair follicles and promoting thicker hair growth. This compound in the leaf extract also removes excess oil from the scalp, which can sometimes disrupt hair growth and cause baldness.

As a result of these properties, papaya leaf juice is a popular ingredient in nearly every haircare product today.

Papaya leaf juice can also help restore the hair’s lost sheen and thickness, which can sometimes result from excess shampooing. This is not to say that you should stop using shampoo, but overusing it can adversely affect your hair. Instead, regular application of papaya leaf juice can restore the hair.

Papaya leaf close up
  1. The Leaf Fights Dengue

Perhaps one of the main reasons why the papaya leaf has been subjected to so many studies recently is that this magical leaf can fight the deadly dengue fever and restore your body to pristine health. In most cases, dengue can be a fatal disease; without proper treatment, death is guaranteed.

Papaya leaf offers a simple solution – drink this extract daily, along with your other treatment, and you’ll return to pristine health in no time. How, though?

Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the dreaded Aedes mosquito bite. This infection significantly hampers the body’s capability to do almost anything. It causes platelet count to decrease at an alarming rate. As the strength leaves the body, the patient experiences high fever, skin rashes, and severe joint pain.

While all other symptoms can be dealt with using regular pharmaceuticals and hospital medication, increasing the platelet count can be tricky and nearly impossible without papaya leaf juice. The dengue virus induces bone marrow suppression. Since the bone marrow is where blood cells and platelets are manufactured, suppression of the marrow leads to a significant drop in platelet count.

The average platelet count in everyday life lies between 150,000 to 250,000. However, during a dengue attack, the platelet count can drop below 50,000, which can be extremely dangerous. Platelets cause the formation of blood clots, and their absence can lead to the onset of a life-threatening dengue condition called hemorrhagic dengue fever. This condition causes spontaneous bleeding in patients and regular shocks all over the body.

To combat this deadly virus, papaya leaf juice offers an abundance of blood platelets, and consuming the leaf while battling the virus is vital to a full recovery.

  1. Potential to Fight Cancer

While we haven’t found a pharmaceutical product that completely stops cancer, papaya leaf juice is an excellent way to stave off cancer. It can even fight it in the initial stages. This leaf contains a powerful compound called acetogenin, a family of natural compounds with anti-tumor properties that help prevent the formation and mitigate the growth of tumors.

Research into papaya leaf juice has shown that the leaves can stop the growth of cancer cells and even help normalize the cell cycle again. A few studies have even shown that the enzymes in papaya leaf extract can kill cancer cells, especially in liver, cervix, and prostate cancer.

In addition to its cancer-fighting properties, papaya leaf juice is also rich in antioxidants which help to keep the cells healthy by fighting free radicals. The papaya’s anti-inflammatory properties also help ease the side effects of conventional treatments like chemotherapy.

  1. Papaya Promotes More Restful Sleep

This may come as a surprise, but drinking even half a glass of papaya leaf juice at least an hour before getting to bed can go a long way in improving the quality of your sleep.

Papaya leaf extract is rich in magnesium, a mineral vital for proper nerve functioning. Drinking papaya leaf juice before sleeping allows the magnesium to activate neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for soothing the mind and body. This will put the mind into a relaxed state.

Consumption of papaya leaf helps to directly improve the quality and duration of sleep, allowing you to feel more energetic during the day.

Additionally, magnesium in the leaf also helps to regulate the body’s metabolism, which in turn helps to fight sleep disorders and prevent insomnia.

  1. Papaya Leaf Maintains Healthy Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is controlled by the rise and fall of salt in your body. Most foods today are high in sodium content, leading to frequent fluctuations in blood pressure. Potassium balances salt’s adverse effects and helps maintain steady blood pressure throughout the body.

The advantage of papaya leaf is its high potassium to sodium content. A cup of papaya leaf juice contains 360 mg of potassium and only 4 gm of sodium. So consuming this leaf regularly can help the blood vessels relax and maintain proper blood pressure, especially in the case of individuals with hypertension.

Another factor that determines blood pressure is the health of your kidneys. The kidneys regulate blood pressure by controlling the fluids in your body. When the kidneys cannot function properly, people experience fluctuations in their blood pressure levels.

Including potassium, papaya leaf juice contains other minerals that help to flush out toxic deposits in the kidneys. Additionally, papaya leaf juice helps reduce uric acid levels in the blood, reducing the risk of kidney damage.

  1. Leads to Better Cardiovascular Health

The magnesium in papaya leaf extract has a highly relaxing and calming effect on the blood vessels in the body, allowing them to regulate blood flow. This helps clear out any arteries blocked and promotes better heart health.

Another way this leaf contributes to better cardiovascular health is its presence of folate, which helps lower the levels of homocysteine in the blood.

Homocysteine is a type of amino acid found primarily in meat. Most people don’t regulate their meat consumption and, as a result, have high quantities of homocysteine in their system. This compound has been linked to the early development of heart disease. Homocysteine contributes to heart attacks and must be taken very seriously.

Another ill effect of homocysteine is that, by default, it tends to lower quantities of vitamin B6, B12, and folate in the body. This makes it even harder for the body to combat the ill effects of homocysteine.

However, papaya leaf juice, rich in folates, is an excellent way to combat this issue and restore the heart to optimal health.

  1. Helps to Fight Alcoholism

While papaya leaves cannot directly fight an addiction, they can help recover alcoholics by keeping their liver healthy while fighting the addiction.

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect of papaya leaf helps to provide relief to the liver and keep the cells of the liver healthy and intact. By doing this, the leaf allows the liver to recover while the alcoholic gets over his/her addiction.

Another way papaya preserves your liver’s health is the presence of phytosterols in the leaf extract. These compounds are made up of a similar structure to LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and displace the LDL in the bloodstream, competing for intestinal absorption. This prevents LDL from accumulating in the body, making it easier for your liver to process the cholesterol in the body.

With the help of this leaf, the liver is kept safe from lipid peroxidation, which is when the lipids in the cholesterol react with oxygen to form harmful peroxides. This way, the leaf keeps the liver safe from free-radical induced inflammatory diseases like liver cirrhosis and jaundice.

  1. Papaya Leaf is a Workout Partner

From all the other benefits mentioned on this list, it’s clear how papaya leaf juice keeps the body healthy and improves physical performance. However, papaya leaf juice also directly impacts physical performance and is a great supplement to add to your workout plan.

For starters, the amylase and protease present in papaya leaf extract help the body to digest protein more efficiently, which is a vital part of muscle recovery. The leaf also allows the body to process carbs more effectively, giving you a surge of energy before any physical activity.

Magnesium is responsible for proper nerve function, which is highly critical for athletes and performers to execute movements precisely. And papaya leaf juice is full of it.

The potassium in papaya leaf juice aids muscle relaxation during recovery periods and can help relieve many of the post-workout or post-performance soreness experienced by athletes. The leaf extract also helps balance blood pressure and keeps athletes from experiencing fatigue or fluctuations in their energy levels.

And finally, the anti-inflammatory properties of papaya leaf can speed up the recovery process during periods of rest and help the muscles return to their optimal state. This is also highly effective for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) athletes. This involves intense activity followed by complete rest multiple times. While intense physical activity can result in a burning sensation in the muscles, papaya leaf juice helps to mitigate this effect. This is so athletes can perform their workouts with maximum efficiency.

  1. Heals Bruises and Cuts Quickly

The availability of platelets in papaya leaves helps the body heal cuts and wounds much faster than it would be on a regular diet. Papaya leaf juice is also highly anti-inflammatory and helps to mitigate the burning and painful effects of cuts and bruises.

There’s Too Much!

If all the benefits listed here aren’t enough, papaya leaf juice is also highly economical and easy to prepare. All you have to do is blend the leaf into a cup or a glass and consume it raw. You can add salt or tamarind, but it’s not required.

The leaf has an additional advantage over the fruit itself. This is because most papayas grown today are the GMO variety, and it can be challenging to find organic papaya in the market. Long-term consumption of GMO papaya can be harmful to your health.

However, the leaves of the papaya tree remain unaffected by GMO chemicals and retain all the original nutrition offered by the papaya plant. This makes it safe to consume the leaf without having to worry too much about the adverse effects it might have.

Including this simple leaf juice in your diet and consuming it even once or twice a week can lead to a lifetime of health benefits. You’ll stay protected from diseases, feel energetic, and be able to live a much more fulfilling, healthy, and happy life. Sure, the leaves might be a bit bitter. But what’s a tad of bitterness compared to a lifetime of pristine health?

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