7 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 7 powerful papaya seed benefits, potential precautions you need to know and recommended ways to add them to your diet for disease prevention and better health.
1. Papaya Seeds for Worms and Other Parasitic Infections
Like green papaya, the seeds of papaya fruit contain high levels of the proteolytic enzyme papain, which can help rid your body of parasites such as intestinal worms.
In the same way that papain breaks down undigested protein waste from your food, it can also dissolve the protective biofilm and fibrin that covers parasites, and particularly their eggs, on the walls of your lower intestine.
Good levels of digestive enzymes in your diet also help to improve and normalize your intestinal ecology, making it much less hospitable to worms and other parasites and much harder for them to breed.
Enzyme rich green papaya powder or capsules, like these ones I take each day, are a simple alternative if you don’t have the fresh green fruit or seeds available. They also give you a consistent and measurable dose.
Make sure you use green papaya powder though, not ripe papaya powder, if you want the digestive enzyme benefits of papain.
Alongside proteolytic enzymes, 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.
2. Papaya Seed 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 natural treatment for liver cirrhosis and overall detoxification of the liver.
The recommended method is to grind up around ten dried seeds in a pepper grinder, or crush up fresh ones in a mortar and pestle, and mix them with a tablespoon of squeezed lemon or lime juice in a glass of water.
A 1/4 of a teaspoon of these powdered organic papaya seeds can also be used as an effective replacement option if you don’t have fresh papayas available.
Drink this papaya seed liver treatment down twice a day for a month. Many cirrhosis sufferers have had dramatic improvements with this powerful natural remedy but it does need to be used regularly.
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.
3. Fighting Bacterial Infections and Treating Food Poisoning
Another potential use of papaya seeds is to combat bacterial infections and possibly even treat food poisoning caused by bad bacteria.
The seeds of papaya have a strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect on your digestive system. Studies have shown an extract made from papaya seeds is effective at killing E coli, Salmonella, Staph and other dangerous bacteria.
As a natural remedy for food poisoning, papaya seeds should be taken at the first sign of sickness and continued 3 times a day with each main meal until symptoms subside.
While people suffering from food poisoning often don’t feel like eating, it’s best to take the freshly crushed up seeds with a small amount of food. Something simple to digest like papaya fruit would be ideal.
For general protection against gastrointestinal infections from bad bacteria, papaya seeds can be used daily in the small dosage described in this article on how to eat papaya seeds.
4. Combating Candida Yeast Overgrowth
The potent digestive enzymes in papaya seeds help change your intestinal ecology to one that is more favorable to the ‘good’ bacteria and less so to the bad ones that can cause so many digestive problems.
In this way papaw seeds can also be a helpful aid in the treatment of candida yeast overgrowth, a common yet often undiagnosed health issue with serious consequences.
Candida thrives when your digestive system is out of balance and left untreated it can cause chronic fatigue, lowered immunity, intestinal inflammation and a myriad of disorders throughout your body.
By creating a supportive environment for healthy intestinal bacteria, both pathogenic yeasts and debilitating bad bacteria are much less likely to take hold within your intestinal tract.
This concentrated papaya seed liquid gut cleanse can be used to fight both candida yeast and bacterial infections such as food poisoning. Unlike the fresh seeds it’s best taken with just a big glass of water and used on an empty stomach 2 to 3 times a day.
5. Treating Viral Infections
There are even reports of using papaya seeds to successfully treating viral infections such as dengue fever in parts of Central America and Asia. Obviously this is a serious disease so consult a doctor if you contract dengue to monitor your condition.
Papaya leaf juice is actually an even better natural treatment for dengue fever as detailed here, including my personal experience with using it, how to make it and dosage instructions.
6. Protecting Your Kidneys
Oxidative stress is common culprit in chronic kidney disease, particularly in patients with diabetes, and can lead to renal failure wherein your kidneys can no longer properly filter metabolic waste from your blood.
This study found an extract of Carica papaya seeds had nephroprotective (kidney protecting) effects against oxidative stress, though being an animal study there isn’t as much evidence here as for the other papaya seeds health benefits.
Parsley juice would be an even better natural treatment for detoxifying your kidneys and it’s highly beneficial for your liver as well.
7. Better Digestion with Papaya Seeds
Many people eat large amounts of difficult to digest meat and other high protein foods. Poorly broken down protein can putrefy in your colon, creating toxic compounds, encouraging bad bacteria overgrowth and really smelly gas.
Proteolytic enzymes, like papain found in papaya seeds, are some of the most powerful natural substances for breaking down undigested protein in your digestive tract.
Eating a small amount of papaya seeds with a meal containing a lot of meat is a simple way to improve protein digestion and prevent problems like constipation and bad gas later on.
And, as mentioned in the sections on papaya seed benefits for bacterial infections, candida overgrowth and killing parasites, both papain and the alkaloid carpaine have a positive effect on your overall intestinal ecology — a vital component of good health and disease prevention.
Precautions and Warnings
Despite all of their beneficial properties, papaya seeds do have some side effects to be aware of and certain people shouldn’t take them. Please check if any of these apply to you before eating papaya seeds.
- As a precaution, pregnant women should not use papaya seeds or the enzyme rich green papaya powder. This warning on their use would also extend to mothers who are 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.
- Patients using blood thinning medications like warfarin or aspirin should consult their doctor before they eat papaya seeds regularly as papain may increase the actions of these drugs.
- The side effects and warnings for using papaya enzymes on the previous page would also especially apply to papaya seeds as well. Keep that in mind if you are currently dealing with any of the health conditions mentioned there.
Using Papaya Seeds for Better Health
The benefits of papaya seeds, with their high levels of digestive enzymes, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and liver regenerating properties are powerful. You don’t need to eat too many at a time, certainly not a whole fruit’s worth.
For detailed instructions on how to take the seeds regularly see this page on eating papaya seeds for better digestive health, including recommended dosage and timing, and some unusual ways to add them into your diet.
To use fresh papaya seeds at home first you’ll need to get a papaya fruit. Hawaiian and Mexican papayas are most commonly sold in the USA.
I prefer Mexican yellow and red papayas as these are generally larger and contain more seeds. They also avoid the GMO issues of the smaller Hawaiian papayas.
After you scrape the seeds out of a fresh fruit, it’s best to store them in a sealed container in the fridge if you’re using them regularly, or in the freezer if only occasionally.
At the recommended dose of half to a full teaspoon, a large papaya fruit could easily supply enough seeds for several weeks of gastrointestinal health and detoxification treatment.
Also remember, you need to crush, pound or grind the seeds up in some way before using them for best results. A mortar and pestle is great for this, but the flat bottom of a clean jar on a chopping board will also work.
Papaya Seed Extract and Powder
While I do believe fresh papaya seeds are best, in some parts of the USA and Europe buying papaya fruit can be very 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. Definitely don’t get commercial papaya seeds for planting as they may be treated with chemicals. Only use proper food grade powdered organic papaya seeds like this.
Using papaya seed powder instead of the fresh seeds you only need to use around a quarter of a teaspoon as they are finely ground and therefore more concentrated.
Another good option are papaya seed extracts, like the ones generally used in the studies on the specific effects of papaw seeds. The safest and most potent one is this GMO free and organic papaya seed gut cleanse.
Unlike fresh papaya seeds or the powder you can take papaya seeds extract on an empty stomach with a big glass of water. This may make it more effective at treating candida and bacterial infections than the powder in a meal and it’s certainly easier to take.
Once again, before using fresh papaya seeds or any of the papaya seed products recommended, make sure you are aware of the potential side effects, particularly if you are a pregnant woman, taking blood thinning medications or have a stomach ulcer or other serious digestive problem.
I hope within all of these papaya seed and papain health benefits you’ve found some good reasons to give this powerful natural remedy a try.
Remember to start off slow at first with just a small amount. Perhaps just a few seeds to begin with the first time. You really don’t need much of them to feel their positive effects.
Please help spread the word that papaya seeds are not only edible but actually highly beneficial to take regularly in small doses or as specific treatment for parasites, liver problems, bacterial infections and to improve your digestion.
Photo 1: Quinn Dombrowski
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