Could Papaya Leaf be a Cancer Treatment?

Cancer Papaya LeavesWhile the antioxidants, digestive enzymes and other nutritional factors in papaya can provide some protection against developing cancer, recent research studies are showing papaya leaves may have potential as a cancer treatment for those already suffering from the disease.

Papaya Leaf Cancer Research

Research by Doctor Nam Dang at the University of Florida found an extract made from dried papaya leaves killed cancer cells directly and slowed the growth of tumor cells in cultures.

The leaf extract was effective against all ten different types of cancer cells tested, including liver, lung, cervix, pancreas and breast cancer cells. The anti-cancer effects were also measured to be stronger at higher doses.

It was also found that papaya leaf extract boosts the production of Th1-type cytokines that benefit our immune system. Dr. Dang said, “Based on what I’ve seen and heard in the clinical setting, nobody who takes this extract experiences demonstratable toxicity; it seems you could take it for a long time – as long as it’s effective.” (Aqueous extract of Carica papaya leaves exhibits anti-tumor activity and immunomodulatory effects – Journal of Ethnopharmacology).

A Homemade Cancer Treatment?

There have been reports of people curing themselves from ‘incurable’ cancers with extracts made from papaya leaf. One well known case is that of Stan Sheldon from the Gold Coast in Australia who was reported to be dying from lung cancer.

He used the liquid from papaya leaves boiled and simmered in a pan, for two months before being tested to find both lungs clear of any traces of cancer. He said the disease had not reappeared several decades later and he had passed his treatment on to others, many of whom were also cured.

His recipe was to wash several medium sized papaya leaves, cut them up and place them in a saucepan with two litres of water. Heat the leaves in the water until it boils and reduce it to a simmer until the water is reduced by half. This may take a couple of hours. 50ml of the resulting concentrate 3 times a day was the suggested dosage.

The liquid can be kept in the fridge in a large glass (not plastic) container and should last for several days, though it was recommended to discard it if it became too cloudy.

I’ve personally made this concoction before and have to tell you the taste is not that great (in fact, that’s a quite an understatement). Much more palatable is dried papaya leaf brewed into a strong tea with a little honey.

Fresh papaya leaves do seem to be potent though and if I had access to them and was in a situation where I thought they could be beneficial I would definitely use them. Rather than boiling them though, I’d actually juice them with a good masticating juicer.

It should be noted though that I’ve read of no reports of scientific studies on using them in this way as a cancer treatment and the papaya enzyme warnings and precautions would be especially applicable with juice made from the leaves.

Many of us don’t have access to a supply of fresh papaya leaves though, or may just be interested in a preventative rather than a potential treatment. Dried papaya leaf is much easier to take regularly as a tea and has been reported as beneficial for cancer sufferers when combined with other cancer treatments.

Keep in mind there are many health benefits of papaya fruit itself, such as its rich array of antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help protect against diseases like cancer. Digestive enzymes, particularly in fruits that are just turning from green to yellow, may also help dissolve the protective layer of fibrin that surrounds cancerous tumours and prevents them from being destroyed by our immune system.

Papaya leaves also contain papain and other proteolytic enzymes but analysis also shows many other biologically active compounds including the alkaloids carpaine, pseudocarpaine and dehydrocarpaine; high levels of tannins, flavinols and antioxidants; and a substance called benzyl isothiocyanate, which is currently being studied for its chemopreventive properties.

While natural treatments like papaya leaf may have a beneficial role to play, nothing on this page is meant as medical advice or as a suggestion to change a current regime for anyone being treated for cancer.

With the seriousness of this disease it is so important to become informed about all the treatment options available and work closely with a healthcare professional who specializes in it and has an open mind to any options that may prove effective.

Photo 1 credit with thanks: Jeff Belmonte / Photo 2 credit with thanks: Dragon Eyezl

20 Responses to “Could Papaya Leaf be a Cancer Treatment?”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. anju says:

    i had a patient of mine who had dengue in terminal stage who got cured with just 5 days of taking papaya leaves she ground the papaya with little water made marble size balls and eat them like tablets 4 to 5 times a day may be we could eat the same way to treat cancers

    • Jim says:

      Hi Anju,

      That’s really interesting that papaya leaves worked so quickly for dengue fever. There are quite a few reports from India of it being an effective treatment. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  2. Santhosh says:

    My grandmother(Age:82) is suffering from breast cancer, is it advisable to provide this treatment .. if so , what is procedure to undergo papaya leaf tratment. Please advise me on this.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Santhosh,

      All the information I have on the subject is in the article above. I can’t advise on individual cases unfortunately and recommend consulting a knowledgeable health care professional who specializes in the condition and ideally is open to holistic treatments.

      All the best.

  3. Anjana Bose says:

    Hi My wife Anjana Bose(67+) is under treatment for malignant neoplasm breast with bone metaststis and has been responding to the professional treatment under onchologists at Iaia Medical Center Calcutta and was evaluated at CMCH Vellore((in September 2013) which endorsed her endocrine treatment so far, being HER 2 positive.The disease was low volume initially but has progressed mildly in the past 1.5 years .She is on Tamoxifen 20mg with a monthly dose of Zolendronic Acid at the moment.I have no problem of getting an abundant supply of fresh Papya leavesCan I put her on the leaf juice as prescribed in your site over and above the prescribed treatment by her Oncologist I/C and can it have any adverse effect ?She has not been given any Chemo or radiation in preference to Endocrene.Rgds R BOSE29th June 2014

  4. Hank Davis says:

    Wht is the best process for drying Papaya leaves?

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi Hank,

      In a warm climate sunlight away from moisture would work. Otherwise a dehydrated would be effective.

      All the best,


  5. Han says:

    I was diagnosed with hemorrhoids. Often have rectal bleedings and was recommended to eat more fiber foods. I tried but didn’t help much until I use ripen papaya to regulate my digest system. It not only stop the bleeding, it’s also pull skin around anus back(healing). These ripen papayas I bought it from Wal-Mart and eat it 1 or 2 medium size papayas per week(few pieces a day). I also use the Goji Berry(Wolf-Berry) that I grown it myself. I use both berry and the leaves. I live in Iowa and the Wolf-Berry plant survived last year cold temperature of -40 degree.


  6. Rita Mehl says:

    Lung cancer survivor can I drink papaya dried leaves as tea

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi Rita,

      Unfortunately I can’t advise people on their individual situation in the case of serious diseases like cancer and recommend you check with a knowledgeable health care professional. I personally prefer holistic healers personally as they usually treat the body as a whole rather than just prescribing to cover up symptoms.

      All the best,


  7. S B Rao says:

    Hi my wife 52+ is diagonised stage 4 colon cancer and undergoing chemo 5 th cycle.
    can this papaya leaf extract may be given her together with chemo?

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi there. I’m really sorry to hear that.

      Some people have had positive results with papaya leaf tea for cancer but you’d need to discuss this with the doctor treating her, especially as it may interfere with certain medications.

      All the best,


  8. Tripti says:

    Papaya leaf extract definitely improves platelet count…have been giving my daughter, 17,suffering from non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, after Chemo her count dips very low…papaya leaf thoroughly washed then boiled with little water ground in a mixie seived and is given to her everyday….

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi there and thanks for the useful information and how you make it up. I think papaya leaf has a lot of potential benefits as a cancer treatment and it’s good to here it has improved her platelet count. I truly hope she gets better and that this can help other people out there.

      All the best,


  9. M.Arshad says:


  10. s.krishnan says:

    Hi ,
    My Father(73+) had Cancer in Kidney and Removed on December 2012,he come back well
    upto march 2015. After march we found the Cancer Developed and Doctor said stage 4 RCC
    and Tumor in lungs. But he is Very well active upto this time and as per Doctor advice he taking SUTENT 50Mg from July 2015.whether can I Give PAPAYA LEAF to my Father.please give me
    adivce for using PAPAYA Leaf which is growing my House itself.

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi there,

      Unfortunately I can’t give recommendations on a serious disease like cancer. It’s very important to work with a healthcare professional you trust and discuss complementary treatments with them and how they might interact with medications. Everything I’ve researched on using papaya for cancer is in the article.

      All the best in your father’s healing,


  11. uju says:

    How do I use the paw paw to treat my ovarian cancer

    • Jim Dillan says:

      Hi there,

      Unfortunately I can’t give recommendations on a serious disease like cancer. It’s very important to work with a healthcare professional you trust and discuss complementary treatments with them. Everything I’ve researched about paw paw and cancer is in the article.

      All the best in your healing,


Leave A Comment...