Papaya Enzyme Side Effects and Warnings

Side effects of Papaw enzymeWhile there are many benefits to eating papaya fruit, there are also a few potential papaya enzyme side effects and warnings to be aware of. This is particularly the case with regards to the green unripen fruit, papaya seeds and papain enzyme digestive supplements.

Let’s have a look at some of the possible side effects of papaya enzymes and when it may be best to limit their use.

Pregnancy Precautions with Papaya

Green papaya latex, which is rich in the main papaya enzyme papain, has been traditionally used by various cultures in Asia to induce a miscarriage during pregnancy.

For this purpose it was often applied directly to the uterus, but food forms such as green papaya salad, the parasite killing papaya seed smoothie ahead, as well as supplements containing papain enzyme are probably best avoided by pregnant women.

This warning does not extend to a fully ripe fresh fruit with no green on it. These fruit contain much lower levels of papain and are generally considered very healthy for pregnant women with it’s rich antioxidant and vitamin content and many other health benefits.

Papaya Enzyme and Breast Feeding

Some sources advise against using papaya enzymes, unripe papaya or even the ripe fruit during breast feeding, though no specific reasons or supporting research is given why.

Interestingly, green papaya salads and soups are popular across Asia as a galactagogue, a substance that increases milk flow from the breast. To this end, eating the fruit while it is still green and full of papain enzyme is often recommended for breast feeding women.

Many Asian women also eat green papaya salad regularly, even when not breast feeding, believing the papaya enzymes in it can lead to an increase in breast size over time.

Papaya and Stomach Ulcers

Side Effects of Papaya Enzymes

There are mixed reports from health resources regarding papaya enzyme and ulcers. On the one hand, people suffering from severe stomach ulcers are sometimes advised to avoid the fruit, particularly when it’s green, as well as any digestive enzymes with papain.

On the other, eating papaya with its many nutrients and enzymes is often said to help prevent gastric ulcers and heal minor stomach problems. It may do this by both increasing the protective mucus secretions in the stomach and, due to its ability to speed up the break down of protein, lessening the amount of time hydrochloric acid sits in the stomach.

While the occasional ripe fruit should not cause problems, talk to your doctor if you are being treated for a stomach ulcer and are thinking of using papaya enzymes with papain for digestion.

Papain and Blood Thinning Medications

The papain enzyme may increase the blood thinning effects of medications such as Warfarin and other anticoagulants, including daily aspirin taken for this purpose. As such it is not recommended for use at the same time as a course of these drugs. It is best not to take papain for several days before major surgery for the same reason.

People with blood clotting disorders, such as thrombosis and hemophilia, are also advised to avoid papain and green papaya. In cases like these, and any of the above, it is best to discuss using papaya enzymes with a knowledgeable healthcare professional.

Papaya Allergies

Papaya Allergy

Papaya and especially the green fruit high in enzymes should be avoided by anyone with a latex allergy. Papaya allergies are rare, but people who experience allergic reactions to papaw may also have an adverse reaction to pineapples, avocados, bananas, figs, kiwi fruit, melons and possibly other tropical fruit as well and should use any of these with caution and watch for symptoms.

Allergic reactions symptoms, while once again very uncommon, can include: swelling or itching of the face, lips, tongue and throat; rashes that appear shortly after consumption; dizziness; difficulty swallowing; and abdominal pain. There may be other side effects of a papaya or latex allergies so seek medical advice as soon as possible if you have any unusual reactions after eating any of the fruit listed above.

For the vast majority of people, papaya and the enzymes from the unripe fruit are extremely beneficial and a very healthy addition to your diet. Effective green papaya digestive enzymes are available if you can’t get the fresh fruit all the time, but I’d still recommend looking out of it and trying it when you can. 

Do you have any experiences with using papaya enzyme that you’d like to share? I’d be interested to hear how it worked for you personally, both as a digestive aid and for other health purposes.

Next is a look at the unusual benefits of papaya seeds, an even stronger source of papain and other enzymes and alkaloids, and how to use them to improve your liver health, intestinal environment and even as a treatment for parasites.


Photo 1 credit: waywuwei / Photo 2 credit: stevendamron / Photo 3 credit: Fotokannan


19 Responses to “Papaya Enzyme Side Effects and Warnings”

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  1. Martin says:

    Can Papaya seeds treat blood clotting disorders?

  2. sunn yu says:

    how to use papaya leaf extract for cancer?

  3. Griselda says:

    Buenos días!
    Me haría el favor de decirme si esta bien que estoy tomando Enzimas de Papaya en pastillas? Las comencé a tomar por que sentía que mi excremento me dejaba residuos al rededor del ano.
    También si me podría decir si mi hijo las puede tomar. Él tiene 32 años, tiene molestias en el ano y le pica.
    Muchas gracias.
    Griselda Muñoz V.

  4. Laurie Way says:

    I was at a farmer’s market and was told to make papaya and blueberry smoothies with the greek yogurt as a change. Later that evening my husband cut it up so we could freeze some and try out our new fruit. The seeds smelled like dirty feet. Is this normal? The papaya I rinsed off well with cold water and that was fine. But the seeds baffeled me.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Laurie,

      The seeds don’t taste great by any means but I wouldn’t describe the smell that way. You’d want to make sure there wasn’t any chance of mold but they will taste and smell very different to the fruit of the papaya. Wasabi would probably be the closest comparison I can think of.

      Hope this helps.

    • Jimmy says:

      I never tried papaya because it always smelled foul to me but after traveling to South America I ordered a fruit salad that came with chunks of papaya and decided to try it out. After a few fruit salads while on vacation, I now love papaya and try to eat it a few times a month back home.

      • Jim says:

        Hi Jimmy,

        It’s funny how many people don’t like the smell of papaya. I personally love both the taste and the smell of it.

        All the best.

    • Jules says:

      Hi Jimmy,

      It’s funny how our taste works. I had the same experience with papaya and dirty feet described it perfectly for me early on. Now after persevering and forcing in down a few times, turns out I love it, and funny enough I no longer equate the smell with dirty feet.

      I had a similar more extremem experience with Durian. Honestly it smelled like poo to me.
      I avoided it many times till a Girlfriend insisted and insisted and… well I tried it, once, twice, by the third time I was hooked. It is now my favourite fruit and when I walk past a fruit stand selling it lo and behold the smell of poo has been replaced with a mouth watering aroma which calls buy me I’m delicous :)

      • Jim says:

        Hi Jules. I’ve heard of a few people changing their opinion of the smell of papaya once they’ve tried it. Apparently the digestive enzymes may be responsible for this. It’s good that you’re enjoying such a healthy fruit now.

        All the best.

  5. Marilyn says:

    What about papaya enzymes with someone who has Neuroendocrine cancer. Rumors in the liver.

  6. nilima says:

    i am a patient of chronic pacreatatis aged 36 since 2004 , had undergone ERCP 2 times. whenever i used to eat banana since 1992 i experienced severe abdominal pain. now since 6 months i experience abdominal pain when i eat papaya. daily i consume one tablet of creyon 10000 while taking meal i also take homeopathy medicine which is very effective. What could be the reason for this allergy.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Nilima,

      Apparently allergies to one tropical fruit like banana often affect your ability to eat others. I’d recommend seeing a knowledgeable healthcare professional as this may affect other related fruits as well.

  7. Sharon says:

    Hi Jim its been 6 days of treatment eating paw paw seeds 1st thing in the morning on an empty stomach with a little help of raw honey. I’m not feeling nausea today. Definitely noticing the change of my tongue colour. I am aware you have to feel ill before the full effect as the parasites release toxins which are inside me.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Sharon,

      I tend to think the detox reaction doesn’t need to be too strong and it’s best to lessen the dosage a little if symptoms are too uncomfortable. Longer regular treatments at smaller dosages can be just as good without the side effects. The change in the tongue color is good and it’ positive that you’re no longer feeling nausea. I’d continue with the timetable described in this article if you can – Papaya seeds can also be frozen for longer term storage if needed.

      Hope this helps.

  8. Raj Bhatia says:

    Hi Jim;

    I have enjoyed reading your work. I am interested to use Pappaya seeds as a contraceptive. Me and my fiance have struggled with this idea and are committed to taking utmost precaution.

    I have started to chew one tea spoon and drink lots of water. I do not mind the smell or taste. We travel a lot and cannot carry a juicer or have refrigeration at disposal. I can get pappaya seeds all I want here in India. How long can I keep the pappaya seeds at room temperature.

    I have been taking the pappaya seeds for 5 days ( understand I need to do this for 90 days). Then I understand that this effect will for 6 months. Do I need to get back to another 90 days to get another 150 days of coverage. How can I get protection non stop for 2 or 3 years.

    Will there be any side effects if I take this more than 3 months; like 9 or 12 months.

    Again, I thank you again for your advice and you are a voice in the dark to many.
    Raj B

    • Jim says:

      Hi Raj and thanks for your positive comments. I’ve written more thoroughly about this topic and would recommend you have a read when you get a chance –

      Papaya seeds at room temperature I’m not certain on sorry. If you can dry them in the hot sun it should prevent any chance of mold, which would be the big issue to be aware of after a few days, depending on the humidity. After that time it would make sense to run them under boiling water as a precaution if they’ve been left in humid conditions for any length of time.

      Of course any chance you get to have them fresh from the papaya would be best and they can definitely be kept in the fridge for several days. Other than this drying a big batch would probably be best. This shouldn’t affect the potency as dried papaya seeds have been used in studies.

      The studies I’ve seen suggested that after 30 – 60 days there was a significant decrease in male fertility and after 90 days no viable sperm. The effect is said to continue for as long as the papaya seeds are taken with several months after the last seeds before fertility is restored. They also noted no side effects, including on libido, and papaya seeds have been used for this purpose by traditional cultures.

      Hope this helps. I’d recommend reading the article link above for more details.

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