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 seeds of papaya in the parasite killing papaya seed smoothie ahead, as well as supplements containing papain enzyme are best avoided by pregnant women.

This warning does not extend to a fully ripe fresh fruit with no green on it. These papaya 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.

Papain, Papaya Seeds and the Menstrual Cycle

Associated with the precautions of using papain when trying to become pregnant, papaya seeds, green papaya and other potent sources of papaya enzymes may interfer with a woman’s menstrual cycle if taken in large and regular doses.

One research paper on the subject suggested two possible mechanisms for how papain or associated enyzmes within papaya seeds and green papaya could have an effect on normal menstration – “The tropical fruit contains the enzyme papain which suppresses progesterone, a hormone needed to prepare the uterus for conception and maintain pregnancy. Another possibility is that papain may break down a membrane vital to the development of the fetus”.

Once again, fully ripe papaya would not contain enough enzymes to have any effect on the menstrual cycle.

Papaya Enzyme and Breast Feeding

Side Effects of Papaya EnzymesSome 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 Seeds as a Contraceptive for Men

Along with their well known effects on the reproductive cycles of women, papaya seeds in particular can effect male fertility and have been traditionally used as a form of birth control for men.

There’s a detailed look at using papaya seeds as a male contracteptive including supporting research here.

Papaya and Stomach Ulcers

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 AllergyPapaya 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

41 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.
    Saludos
    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 – http://superfoodprofiles.com/papaya-seeds-parasites Papaya seeds can also be frozen for longer term storage if needed.

      Hope this helps.

  8. Kasia says:

    Hello,
    I love papaya, I noticed that every time I eat it I have bad stomach ache. No other symptoms. Usually I eat yellow/ green papaya. Is it because that? Is it have to be completely yellow? I hate to stop eating it.
    K.

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi Kasia,

      It is likely due to the high levels of papain enzyme in still green papaya which some are sensitive to. I’d try having it fully ripe and see if you still have the same problem.

      Hope this helps.

  9. Roxie says:

    Hi,

    I’ve been having a lot of trouble with abdominal cramps and diarrhea, especially after I eat. Someone suggested taking papaya enzymes. Would the papaya enzymes help with that? Thanks for any help you can give me.

  10. Nina in PR says:

    Hi
    I have recently used raw papaya seed to help protein digestion since I have a problem with my gall bladder. I was having it several times a day, chewed up with water, maybe a teaspoon each time. I think that this may have altered my menstrual cycle (normally I am very regular) since my period came two weeks early, around the time I would normally ovulate. I assume this is “break through bleeding” and assume that the papain diminishes women’s estrogen levels. Could this be its contraceptive mechanism in women?

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi Nina and thanks for your question.

      Papaya seeds and their papain are used traditionally to prevent pregnancy as described in the article so may indeed have an effect on the menstrual cycle in large doses. This effect is said to be temporary and completely reversable but it sounds like it would best to take a weeks break from the treatment and try a half dose in the following week to see if it has the same effect the next month if you want to continue with the treatment.

      Hope this helps.

  11. Audrey Wint says:

    Green Papaya can be used to treat bed sores or any cuts that is not healing properly. This method is used by Jamaican doctors after an operation.

    1. Grate the green papaya using sterilized utensils. Extras must be stored in a sterilized bottle in the fridge.
    2. Clean the wound thoroughly with saline
    3. Wrap the grated papaya in sterilized gauze ensuring that it does not touch the skin as rash may develop leading to further sores
    3. Insert the green papaya wrap inside/over the wound.
    4. Cover with 2 or 3 layers of sterilized gauge and tape over
    5. Change dressing everyday or every other day

    I guarantee you that you will see results

  12. WandaKay says:

    Hello! Jim,

    Thank you for the research you’ve done and making this site available.

    My sister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a couple of weeks ago. The doctor gave her 3 months. We were told it’s in the pancreas, liver, gallbladder and 8 tumors floating around in her colon.

    My sister has always been on the typical American terrible diet all her life. She does eat salads, fresh fruit and out of the garden this time of year, which is good. But she eats all the bad foods too. However, she has decided against chemo/radiation which the doctor will not give her anyway because she continues to loose weight and her digestive tract is still not working well. But even with doctors saying get your digestive-tract corrected and gain-weight to start chemo/radiation she’s decided she will not be able to endure the painful sickness it will cause. She cannot handle the pain she now has and depends on the drugs to relieve her pain.

    So she has decided she will change her diet. Besides the pain-pills the doctor also has her on pancreatic enzymes. I have been searching for food-sources of pancreatic enzymes but only have found the pharmaceutical type.

    I woke this morning at 3AM with papaya and banana smoothy on my mind. I’ve searched for such a thing as helpful for her condition. I found your site as you see, but find no mention of bananas.

    Could you suggest a diet for my sister please. Or if there is anyone on this site who has been cured of pancreatic cancer or knows of someone who has, would you please let me know the diet and the therapy used?

    I am a strong believer in positive thinking, affirmative prayer, a joyous-heart and a Higher-Power/GOD for healing. Up until now the spiritual and pain-pills is all my sister has depended on. Though, now she is open to alternative/holistic means. My family and I are praying and believing in healing-guidance and perfect health for my sister. That guidance may come through your research and/or someone here… I have ears to hear.

    Thank you for any help you can suggest!
    Blessings!!
    WandaKay

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi WandaKay,

      I would be important to discuss taking the smoothie treatment with her physician and having it well away from any medications but it is indeed a good source of proteolytic enzymes like papain and bromelain from pinapple cores. Bananas would be good to add too to this recipe if she’s losing weight so if the doctor says it’s ok then you could make it up with these as an extra ingredient – http://superfoodprofiles.com/papaya-seeds-parasites

      If she does decide to have the papaya seeds as well then start slowly with perhaps just a quarter of a teaspoon and increase the dose slowly if this is well tolerated.

      I’d also suggest investigating what has worked for others with her specific condition in terms of holistic healing on Curezone.org

      I really hope this can help and all the best in her healing.

    • Tabitha says:

      Hi can I use papaya leaf if i am breastfeeding a 2 month old baby

      • Jim Dillan says:

        Hi Tabitha,

        You’d have to consult pediatrician on this as it’s often advised to avoid many herbs during breastfeeding and papaya leaf would be considered a potent herbal remedy.

        Hope this helps,

        Jim

  13. ilima says:

    I just want to add that eating the seeds of a papaya should only be done in small doses…I didn’t do enough research and made the bad decision to add a whole peeled papaya to a smoothie and have been in extreme discomfort for over 24 hours now. I’m sure i’m going to be fine but it is NOT pleasant nor recommended!

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi Ilima,

      Yes that’s definitely too much to start with. As I mention in all of the papaya seed posts just a teaspoon is generally a good starting amount.

      All the best

  14. Dee says:

    I know that herbal ginger tea and chewable papaya enzyme tablets help with digestive troubles… I got food poisoning from the country club here in town last weekend from eating their undercooked chicken and was sick all week. I went online to see what I could do because I was getting worse and had symptoms of gastroparesis. (food staying in my stomach and burning pain) Instead of going to a dr and getting expensive tests done and loaded down with medication I decided to go online and see if there was something I could do at home. I found several websites by medical and herbal doctors and they all suggested the papaya enzyme and ginger tea. I’ve been using these for three days now and they have been working since I started. I don’t have the sick to my stomach feeling or nausia as long as I drink the tea and I can eat again!
    I’m thankful that natural things that God made works!
    also, since doing this, started friday morning, my blood glucose has been under 100, before meals. (I have diabetes 2) it hasn’t gone that low for like 10 years or more. one of the effects of ginger it says helps with glucose levels. I’m wondering if the ginger tea is doing this..
    I am feeling ALOT better! sticking with bland food and small meals for a while.
    I am no longer having to stay near the bathroom!

    I would like to ask, how many papaya enzyme chewables are safe to take in a day? It says serving size 4 and to take them all with a meal but is it safe to take them with say, 2 meals a day?
    thanks for this website and information!

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi Dee,

      Glad they are working so well for you. There shouldn’t be a problem with taking them with 2 meals a day. Meals high in protein would be the best to take papaya enzymes with as well.

      Hope this helps,

      Jim

  15. joey says:

    If papaya seeds have thinning the blood properties, why cant we take them as a herbal remedy instead of taking the chemical blood thinning ‘medicines’

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi Joey,

      There’s many natural substances that have blood thinning properties and would likely be healthier and safer than chemical drugs. Regardless, many people are on these prescriptions and it’s right for online writers to warn people of potential interactions.

      All the best.

  16. Patricia Grace says:

    Hi Jim
    I’m originally from Africa therefore, somewhat was taught to recognize the symptoms of having a parasite. After feelinga crawling feeling in mt rear end I decided to make the papaya seeds smoothie yesterday. The taste was bareable but I felt as if ther was a lot of something is now sitting and crawling by my rear end. I feel bloated, so bloated that It unnconfortable sit to sit, lay down or walk.OMG..So late last night I decided to chew some papaya seeds and get it over with (all seeds from half a papaya). Again, I’m extremely bloated, gassy, the crawling at my rear end won’t stop, i feel i want to use the bathroom but I can’t go. I feel a tingling feeling inside my legs and again iam unconfortable. I am even tempted to visit the ER. I don’t know what to do. However, I noticed that my urine was bright yellow. I usually go once or twice a day. After eating activia, it stopped and I haven’t felt like myself for 6 days now.

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi there and sorry for the late reply as I’ve been away.

      It sounds like the papaya seeds have caused pinworms to migrate out. Clove oil on a cotton wool bud applied to the anus can kill pinworms and their eggs but you may need to dilute it and should test on a small area first.

      The seeds from half a papaya is quite a lot and could bring on a bad reaction. Regular doses of the amounts suggested in the article are better for a treatment program with less side effects. I’d suggest visiting a parasite specialist if possible if you continue to get this kind of reaction. While many like myself prefer natural parasite treatments if you are getting this type of reaction it may be better to look at pharmaceutical options.

      All the best,

      Jim

      • Bunmi says:

        If papaya seed and green papaya can caused mis-carriage/abortion and expelled parasite from the body. Can it expelled fibroid out from the womb? What can someone use to bring back menstration and what to use to improved fertility. Thank you.

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