The Surprising Health Benefits of Papaya Seeds
While most people throw them away, papaya seeds are not only edible, small amounts of them in your diet can be surprisingly good for you.
Keep in mind though that chewing half a teaspoon of the seeds is not like eating papaya fruit. They have a strong flavor, more like a cross between mustard and black peppercorns.
If you can handle that, ahead are some of the main health benefits of papaya seeds, followed by some interesting ways to add them to your diet.
Papaya Seeds, Worms and Other Parasitic Infections
Like green papaya, the seeds contain high levels of proteolytic enzymes like papain which can help rid your body of parasites. In the same way that papain breaks down undigested protein waste in your food, it may also break down parasites and their eggs.
Good levels of digestive enzymes in your diet are also believed to help normalize the environment in your intestinal tract, making it less hospitable to worms and other parasites. Enzyme rich green papaya capsules are a simple alternative if you don’t have the fresh fruit available.
The seeds from papaya also contain a unique anthelmintic alkaloid called carpaine that has been shown to be very effective at killing parasitic worms and amoebas. There is much more detail on the human parasite problem and a great tasting smoothie treatment to get rid of them in using papaya seeds for parasites and intestinal worms.
Papaya Seeds as a Treatment for Liver Cirrhosis
Liver cirrhosis is a disease, usually caused by excessive alcohol consumption over many years, wherein the liver shrinks and becomes hardened. In this state it is ineffective at removing toxins from the body, leading to a variety of serious health problems.
Papaya seeds are often reported as an effective treatment for liver cirrhosis. One method is to grind up around five dried seeds in a pepper grinder, or crush up fresh ones in a mortar and pestle, and mix them with a tablespoon of fresh lime juice. Drink this papaya seed treatment down twice a day for a month. Many cirrhosis sufferers have had dramatic improvements with this powerful natural remedy.
Obviously consult your doctor first if you are being treated for cirrhosis of the liver, especially with regards to the papain enzyme that may interfere with medications.
Even for people without such obvious liver damage, a small amount of pawpaw seeds taken regularly is said to help with liver detoxification. And anything that can improve the vital functions of the liver will be likely to improve your health in general.
Another one of the uses of papaya seeds could be to prevent or possibly even treat food poisoning. The seeds of papaya are believed to have a strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect on our digestive systems. Studies have shown an extract made from them is effective at killing E coli, Salmonella, Staph and other dangerous bacterial infections.
Once again, their potent digestive enzymes like papain can help change the intestinal environment to one that is more favorable to the ‘good’ bacteria and less so to the bad ones that can cause so many digestive issues and health problems.
There are even reports of using papaya seeds to successfully treating viral infections such as Dengue fever in parts of Central America like Costa Rica. Obviously this is a serious disease so consult a knowledgeable healthcare professional before using pawpaw seeds if you contract Dengue fever.
Precautions and Warnings
As a precaution, pregnant women should not use papaya seeds or the enzyme rich green papaya. This warning on their use would also extend to breastfeeding.
Additionally, while papaya seeds do have strong anti-parasitic properties, they may be too powerful for young children’s gastrointestinal tracts, so a doctor should be consulted before giving them to infants.
There is also some animal research suggesting that eating papaya seeds may temporarily but greatly reduce a man’s fertility to the point that would make pregnancy unlikely. I’ll leave it up to male readers whether they currently consider that a good or bad thing. There’s a detailed look at the contraceptive potential of papaya seeds for men here if you’re interested.
The side effects and potential warnings for using papaya enzymes on the previous page would also especially apply to papaya seeds as well so keep that in mind if you are currently dealing with any of the health conditions mentioned there.
The benefits of papaya seeds, with their high levels of digestive enzymes, antibacterial, anti-parasitic and liver regenerating properties are powerful. You don’t need many at a time, certainly not a whole fruit’s worth. After you scrape them out of a fresh fruit, it’s best to keep them in a sealed container in the fridge if you’re using them regularly, or in the freezer if only occasionally.
While I do believe fresh papaya seeds are best, in some parts of the USA and Europe buying papaya fruit can be expensive, or they simply aren’t in season for much of the year.
The best alternative I’ve found is this 100% Organic Papaya Seed Powder. I don’t think papaya seed extracts would be as effective as the whole seed and definitely don’t get commercial papaya seeds for planting as they may be treated with chemicals.
I hope this article has helped to spread the word that papaya seeds are edible and potentially good for you in small doses or as specific treatment. The next page will look at how to use papaya seeds for better digestive health, including some unusual ways to add them into your diet.
Photo 1 credit with thanks: Quinn Dombrowski / Photo 2 credit with thanks: kaige / Photo 3 credit with thanks: Ted Major