Health Benefits of Papaya

Updated on September 13, 2017

What Is a Papaya?

A papaya (also known as a papaw or pawpaw) is a tropical fruit native to South America. Papayas grow on trees and the fruits are large and soft with a thin skin that is usually yellow, orange, or peach in color. The flesh of the papaya fruit is a pinkish orange color, and the center is filled with many slippery black seeds. The fruit has a sweet, somewhat mild flavor. Both the seeds and skin of the papaya are edible, but the skin is traditionally removed before consumption; it doesn't taste very good.

A papaya tree with unripe papaya fruits.
A papaya tree with unripe papaya fruits. | Source

History of Papaya Cultivation

Papayas most likely originated in southern Mexico. They have been cultivated by humans for hundreds of years as a food and for medicinal purposes. The first historical record of papaya cultivation dates from the 1500s when papaya seeds were brought to Panama and the Dominican Republic1, but it is likely that cultivation goes back much, much farther. Papayas are often claimed to be part of Aboriginal Australian traditional medicine, but this claim is incorrect; papayas were only introduced to Australia about 200 years ago.2 Today papayas are grown in almost every tropical region of the world including the Americas, Africa, and India.

Along with its delicious taste, papaya is such a popular fruit due to its many health properties and nutritional benefits.

Mineral Content

Papaya fruit also contains many necessary minerals. A papaya's mineral concentration is ultimately determined by the type of soil it is grown in, but these are the minerals most commonly found in papayas3:

  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium

Vitamin Content

The papaya fruit is rich in many important vitamins that benefit the human body. The vitamin content varies depending on the ripening stage and handling of the fruit, but these are some of the main vitamins papayas contain3:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin E
  • Folic Acid

Antioxidant Content

Papaya fruit is extremely high in antioxidants including carotene and provitamin A.4 Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit oxidation reactions and fight free radicals in your cells (both of which can cause severe damage to your cells and are a contributing factor in many human diseases).

A whole papaya fruit before it has been cut.
A whole papaya fruit before it has been cut. | Source

Amino Acid Content

Papaya fruit contains many amino acids as well. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are necessary for the human body to perform digestion, growth, and repair. These are the amino acids found in papaya fruit5:

  • Histidine
  • Alanine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Cystine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Tyrosine

  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalannine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophane
  • Valine
  • Arginine

Papaya Home Remedies

Along with being extremely nutrient-rich, papaya is used in a number of natural and home remedies for a variety of conditions and ailments. listed below are several common papaya treatments.

For Sore Throats

Fresh papaya juice can be gargled and swallowed as a home remedy for sore throats and throat infections.

Papaya for Diarrhea

Fresh, raw papaya fruit is eaten as a natural remedy for diarrhea.

Papaya for Eczema, Ringworm, and Rashes

Fresh papaya juice and/or a mash of fresh papaya seeds can be applied to irritated skin to sooth itches, flaking, and mild rashes.

Women's Health Benefits

Fresh papaya can be eaten as a home remedy to boost breast milk production for nursing women. It may also aid in regulating menstruation for some women.

For Jaundice

Fresh, raw papaya juice taken daily for 2 weeks is a natural remedy for jaundice.

For High Blood Pressure

The fresh fruit or juice of papaya is helpful in lowering blood pressure if consumed regularly.

Easy Papaya Recipes

Since papaya is such an incredibly healthy, beneficial superfood, why not try to incorporate more papaya into your diet? Below are a couple of my favorite fun, easy papaya recipes.

Healthy Papaya Peach Coconut Creamsicle Recipe



  1. Remove seeds from papaya.
  2. Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Blend more or less depending on how chunky you want your fruit.
  3. Pour mixture into popsicle molds.
  4. Let popsicles set in the freezer for 4 hours before eating.


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 papaya, cut into cubes
  • 1 peach, cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp honey

Papaya Blueberry Smoothie Recipe



  1. Remove seeds from papaya
  2. Process all ingredients in blender until smooth. Blend more or less depending on your desired consistency.
  3. Drink in a chilled glass (optional).


  • 1 cup soy, rice, or almond milk
  • 1/4 papaya, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tsp Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp flax seed meal (optional)


Papaya Tropical Fruit Salad Recipe



  1. Remove the skin from the papaya, kiwi, and mango and discard.
  2. Dice all the friuts.
  3. Mix together and enjoy.
  4. Top with a sprinkle of shredded coconut if desired.


  • 1/4 papaya, chopped
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/2 mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
  • sprinkle of shredded coconut (optional)


Papaya Seeds

Papaya seeds look weird, slimy, and inedible, but don't throw them away! Papaya seeds are actually edible, and they contain many of the same health benefits that can be gained from eating the fruit. Papaya seeds are also used to remove and prevent intestinal worms of all sorts.4 In fact, eating a teaspoon of fresh papaya seeds after every meal is recommended as a method of parasite prevention when visiting tropical countries.


You can eat papaya seeds fresh. A spoonful is typically chewed and swallowed for health benefits and as a parasite cleanse.

Papaya seeds can also be dried and eaten as a spice that resembles a mild peppercorn flavor. Simply dry the seeds, place them in a pepper grinder, and use them as a seasoning for meats, fish, and roasted vegetables.

Papaya for Beauty

As well as being delicious and healthy to eat, papaya is also excellent for skin and hair, and is great for enhancing your natural beauty. The vitamin E and C present in papaya nourishes hair and skin. The enzyme papain helps to remove dead skin from the face and scalp, and works to soothe acne. Check out the fun papaya face mask below and try it at home! (Or just massage papaya pulp into your scalp for shining hair and as a dandruff cure.)

Papaya Face Mask Recipe



  1. Wash your face before applying the mask.
  2. Puree all ingredients in your blender and apply to your face.
  3. Leave the mask on for 10-15 minutes and rinse away with warm water.


1 cup cubed fresh papaya

1 tbsp plain yogurt

1 tsp honey

1 tsp papaya seeds (optional)

Trying it out for myself! Feels tingly. :)
Trying it out for myself! Feels tingly. :) | Source

Rate My Papaya Recipes

5 stars from 4 ratings of Christy's Papaya Recipes


  1. Morton, Juila F. Fruits of Warm Climates. Florida Flair Books: Miami, FL. 1987.
  2. Tietze, Harald W. Papaya the Medicine Tree. Harald W. Tietze Publishing: Bermagui, Australia. 2006.
  3. Terry, Leon A. Health-promoting Properties of Fruits and Vegetables. CABI: Cambridge, MA. 2011.
  4. Somonsohn, Barbara. Healing Power of Papaya. Lotus Press: Twin Lakes, WI. 2000.
  5. Dr. Rajiv Sharma. Improve Your Health With Papaya & Bengal Quince. The Book Factory: Noida, U.P. 2006.
  6. Dr. Rajiv Sharma. Improve Your Health With Fruits & Flowers. The Book Factory: Noida, U.P. 2006.


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    • alexarain379 profile image

      Alexa Rain 8 weeks ago from egypt

      Great all these benefits even the seeds.

      love it too mush and great Hub.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Wow, what a great hub on papaya. I never had it before. I would love to try it out on those recipes, too. Voted up! Very useful!

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 2 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      So interesting and so 'fruitful' your article is. Papaya is a great fruit loved and eaten by millions of people around the world. We in India are great lovers of this fruit. Our former Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi was a great fan of this item. You have beautifully presented your points with stunning photos. It has to reach more audience and obviously for that reason I am sharing it here as well on my FB page. Thank you for this nice post.

    • Sulabha profile image

      Sulabha Dhavalikar 3 years ago from Indore, India

      Dear Christy,

      Good hub. Even I agree papaya is very good. It suits me well.

      But others in my family simply dread the fruit.

      I first realized the importance when my daughter had just completed 10 years. That's when I started giving papaya to her. She got periods within a month or so. And from being one of the tall girls, she landed with 5'2" height. She desists from eating papaya now. Her daughter i.e. my granddaughter is now 1 year 7 months, but my daughter refuses to give her papaya.

      The next is my husband who is diabetic. And when I give him papaya, he lands with diarrhea.

      And so rarely do I buy papaya now a days. But yes, your hub has made me think that I could make s sweet dish or so once a while- with sugar free.

    • TarrinLupo profile image

      Tarrin Lupo 3 years ago from Peterborough NH

      I love the self picture of you trying it :) . I really want to start eating them more often but is there an easy way to get the seeds out, they are kind of a pain to eat.

    • profile image

      dragonflycolor 3 years ago

      I love Papaya. It reminds me of my village in Mexico. I had a Papaya Sriratcha smoothie once and it was good!

    • WriterJanis profile image

      Janis 3 years ago from California

      I love the fresh taste of papaya, but was quite surprised to learn about all of the health benefits. Will have to try the smoothie.

    • VioletteRose profile image

      VioletteRose 4 years ago from Chicago

      Great hub, I agree on the health benefits on papaya. I am not very happy with its taste though, we had lots of them growing in my parents home and one is growing right outside my balcony. I can simply pick the fruit from the tree !

    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 4 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Just found this hub ... the recipes and pictures are awesome. My daughter is on a health plan and this looks to be something she would benefit from also. Thanks so much for sharing this information and recipes!

    • Christy Kirwan profile image

      Christy Kirwan 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for the kind comments, everyone!

      @fivesenses, I hope your papaya tree begins producing fruit soon. It's truly delicious! :)

      @twig22bend, a ripe papaya can be green, yellow, or slightly orange in color, but it should be soft to the touch.

    • twig22bend profile image

      twig22bend 4 years ago

      Great Hub. I love papaya juice. I have never purchased a fresh a papaya, because I did not know when they are ripe and ready to eat. Thanks for sharing.

    • fivesenses profile image

      Leena 4 years ago from new delhi

      Great information on the benefits of papaya.

      I have a papaya tree growing in my house, though the fruit has yet to come.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I have to try some of these recipes Christy. I never knew papaya has so many health benefits. And I like to eat healthy.

    • diannelewis profile image

      Dianne Lewis 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This is a very informative hub! I always eat papaya when I'm constipated and I had no idea that it can also be used as a home remedy for other conditions and ailments.

    • VitamineCentral profile image

      VitamineCentral 4 years ago

      great article.

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 4 years ago from United States

      I never knew - cool!

    • Schoolmom24 profile image

      Schoolmom24 4 years ago from Oregon

      Great tips! The recipes all look amazing and I really want to try the popsicles. I didn't know about the seeds! i just joined Hub and wrote my first one last night and is nutrition related, as well- all about juicing! :) Hope you'll stop by!

    • Christy Kirwan profile image

      Christy Kirwan 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Alphadogg16, I was not aware that papaya is also anti-inflammatory. Thanks for the great info!

      twig22bend, I've also been eating more papaya after finding out how healthy they are through all my research. It doesn't hurt that the fruit is so delicious either! ;)

      Thanks, Thelma Alberts! I'd love to be able to grow my own papayas. That must be great!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Great and very informative hub. I have papayas in my tropical garden. I learned a lot from reading this hub. Thank you. I have to pin it in my healthy fruits board for later use.

    • twig22bend profile image

      twig22bend 4 years ago

      Wow! I must go and purchase a papaya. I saw them in the market, but did not know what to do with them. Thanks to you, now I know. Thanks for sharing.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      Very nice hub Christy Kirwan. Papaya can also be eaten when your muscles are sore, its anti-inflammatory properties assist with sore muscles. Some of the other uses I wasn't even aware of. Great hub. Thumbs up.