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Medicinal Plants for Livestock

Carica papaya

[Introduction and Common Names] [Chemical Compounds] [Toxicity] [Uses and Efficacy] [References] [Return to medicinal plants list]


Carica papaya (Family Caricaceae) originated in Central America. It is an interesting tree in that the male and female parts exist in different trees. The fruits, leaves, and latex are used medicinally. Papain, a major compound in the fruit and latex has been used in brewing and wine making and the textile and tanning industries. Common names for papaya trees include:

  • Betik petik
  • Chich Put
  • Fan Kua
  • Gandul
  • Katela gantung
  • Kates
  • Kavunagaci
  • Kepaya
  • Kuntaia
  • Lechoso
  • Lohong Si Phle
  • Mapaza
  • Mu Kua
  • Papailler
  • Papaw and pawpaw tree
  • Papaya
  • Papaye
  • Papayer
  • Pepol
  • Tinti
  • Wan Shou Kuo

Chemical Compounds

Carica papaya contains many biologically active compounds. Two important compounds are chymopapain and papain, which are supposed to aid in digestion. Papain also is used to treat arthritis. The level of the compounds vary in the fruit, latex, leaves, and roots. In addition, plant parts from male and female trees differ in the quantity of the compounds. For example, phenolic compounds tend to be higher male trees than female trees. The quantity of fresh papaya latex and dry latex (crude papain) also vary with the sex of the tree and the age of the tree. Female and hermaphrodite trees yield more crude papain then male trees and older fruit yields more then younger fruit. However, the activity of the papain is higher in the extracts from the younger fruit then the older fruit. Cultivars also vary in the quantity of the compounds. For example, the primary and secondary volatile compounds in the fruit of one cultivar studied were linalool and trans-linalool oxide, respectively. In another cultivar, the primary and secondary volatile compounds were cis-linalool oxide and linalool, respectively.

The following list of compounds found in parts of Carica papaya is not comprehensive. The quantity of the compounds are estimates based on several sources (listed in the references). For more information please refer to the references and the USDA Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases.

  • alkaloids -- 1,300-4,000 ppm in leaves
  • butanoic acid -- as much as 1.2mg/kg in fruit pulp
  • methyl butanoate -- as much as 18% of the volatile components in the fruit
  • carpaine -- leaves (1,000-1,500 ppm), bark, roots, and seeds
  • dehydrocarpaines -- 1,000 ppm in leaves
  • pseudocarpaine -- 100 ppm in leaves
  • chymopapain-a and b -- latex and exudate
  • flavonols -- 0-2,000 ppm in leaves
  • benzylglucosinolate -- found in all parts of the plant, but highest in young leaves
  • linalool -- as much as 94% of the volatile components in the frui
  • cis- and trans-linalool oxide -- fruit
  • alpha-linolenic acid -- 250-2,238 ppm in fruit
  • nicotine
  • papain -- fruit and 53,000 ppm in latex and exudate
  • alpha-phellandrene -- fruit
  • tannins -- 5,000-6,000 ppm in leaves
  • alpha-terpinene -- fruit
  • gamma-terpinene -- fruit
  • 4-terpineol -- fruit
  • terpinolene -- fruit
  • methyl-thiocyanate and benzyl-isothiocyanate


With the exception of infertility, the literature reviewed did not indicate any adverse reactions from the consumption of Carica papaya fruit, latex, or extracts. However, the leaves and roots of Carica papaya contain cyangenic glucosides which form cyanide. The leaves also contain tannins. Both of these compounds, at high concentrations, can cause adverse reactions. Also, inhaling papaya powder (high in the enzymes papain and chymopapain, can induce allergies.

In trials with rats, daily oral doses of benzene and alcohol extracts (20mg/kg body weight (BW) for 30 days) did not effect body or reproductive organ weights or adversely effect liver or kidney function. However, aqueous extracts (1mg/kg BW for 7 or 15 days) and benzene extracts given orally to female rats caused infertility and irregular oestrous cycles. Male rats given ethanol seed extracts orally (10 or 50 mg/day for 30, 60, or 90 days) or intramuscularly (0.1 or 1.0 mg/day for 15 or 30 days) had decreased sperm motility. The oral doses also decreased testis mass and sperm count. Studies with aqueous seed extracts also decreased fertility in male rats. The fertility of the male and female rats returned to normal within 60 days after the treatments were discontinued.

In addition to decreasing infertility, papain might cause abortions shortly after conception. The papain apparently dissolves a protein(s) responsible for adhering the newly fertilized egg to the wall of the uterus.

Uses and Efficacy

The efficacy of treatments with Carica papaya is dependent on the quantity of the different compounds in the preparation. The quantity of the compounds, as previously indicated, differ in the fruit, latex, leaves, and roots and vary with the extraction method, age of the plant part, and the cultivar and sex of the tree.

The application of papaya latex that is probably of most interest to livestock producers is as an anthelmintic (dewormer). Satrija et al. (1994) tested the efficacy of papaya latex (at doses of 2, 4, and 8 g/kg BW) against Ascaris suum in 16 pigs. The eggs per gram (epg) on days 0, 1, 5, and 7 were determined using a modified McMaster technique and the adult worms were collected and sexed at necropsy on day 7. The 4- and 8-g/kg BW treatments significantly decreased the epg produced (by 99%) and the number of adult worms by 80 and 100%, respectively. The study conducted by Satrija et al. supports the results of other studies which indicate that papaya latex is effective against Ascaridia galli in chickens. One adverse effect of the treatment was transient diarrhea in the 8-g/kg BW group on day 1 of the study. In another study, water extracts of papaya seeds decreased Ascaridia galli infections in chicks by 41.7% (compared to piperazine hexahydrate which decreased infections by 99%).

In traditional veterinary medicine, papaya seeds also are used as dewormers. In Indonesia and the Philippines, air-dried seeds are ground and mixed with water - 3 g of seeds/kg bodyweight. The animals are given the seed/water mixture once a day for 6 days. In Indonesia, papaya leaves are used as affed for animals after parturition - 2 leaves boiled in water fed every 2 days for 1 week. It also has been reported that papaya leaf extract is used as a profilaxis against malaria, though no studies on this use could be found in the literature.

Results from studies on biological activities of Carica papaya parts, extracts, and isolated compounds are briefly summarized below:

  • Antimicrobial
    • Latex (with a minimum protein concentration of 138 microliters/ml) and root extracts inhibited Candida albicans. However, aqueous extracts were not active.
    • Extracts of pulp and seeds showed bacteriostatic properties when tested against Staphylococcus aureua, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Bacillus subtilis, and other bacteria in vitro. However, in another study, aqueous extracts (type of extract and plant part not indicated) were not active against Staphylococcus aureua and Escherichia colis in vitro.
    • Alpha-D-mannosidase and N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase (isolated from latex) acted synergistically to inhibit yeast growth.
  • Parasitic
    • Powdered air-dried seeds given orally to 4 dogs (60mg/kg BW for 30 days) decreased Dirofilaria immitis infections.
    • Papaya latex fed (at a rate of 2, 4, 6, or 8g/kg BW) to mice with experimental infections of Heligmosomoides polygyrus decreased infections rates by 55.5-84.5% compared to non-treated control mice.
    • Seeds at concentrations of less than 100 micrograms/ml exhibited activity against Entamoeba histolytica in vitro.
    • Benzylisothiocyanate (isolated from papaya) at concentrations of 100-300 micromoles inhibits the energy metabolism and affected the motor activity of Ascaridia galli in vitro
  • Sedative and muscle relaxer -- studies with rats indicate that alcohol extracts (at a dose of 5 mg/kg BW intraperitoneally or greater) relaxed central muscles. The extracts (at a dose of 10 mg/kg BW intraperitoneally or greater) also had sedative properties.
  • Purgative -- in one study with rats, aqueous extracts increased the number of wet feces and the movement of intestinal contents.

Papaya has been used to treat the following ailments in humans:

  • Abortifacient -- Java, Panama, Sri Lanka, and Turkey
  • Amebicide -- Japan
  • Arthritis and rheumatism -- Haiti and Java
  • Asthma and respiration -- Mauritius, Mexico, and Philippines
  • Bactericide -- India
  • Cancer -- Australia and Mexico
  • Cardiotonic -- Turkey
  • Colic -- Malaya
  • Constipation and laxative -- Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad
  • Corns and boils -- India, Malagasy, Malaya, and Philippines
  • Decoagulant -- Trinidad
  • Diarrhea and dysentery -- Honduras, Japan, Panama, and West Africa
  • Digestive -- China, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Turkey
  • Diuretic -- Trinidad
  • Dyspepsia -- Mexico
  • Dysuria -- Java
  • Emmenagogueue -- Mexico and Turkey
  • Epithelioma -- St. Vincent
  • Fever -- Java and Mexico
  • Flu -- Trinidad
  • Fumitory -- New Caledonia
  • Hypertension -- Honduras and Trinidad
  • Infection -- Panama
  • Intestinal disorders -- Philippines
  • Kidney -- Cameroon and Honduras
  • Liver -- Honduras and Turkey
  • Madness -- Ivory Coast
  • Milk production (increase/stimulate) -- Indonesia and Malay
  • Opthalmology treatments -- Soviet Union
  • Pectoral -- Mexico
  • Scorpion bites -- Trinidad
  • Smoothe upper respiratory tract -- Nigeria
  • Toothhache -- Cote d'Ivoire and Samoa
  • Tuberculosis -- Mexico
  • Tumor (Uterus) -- Ghana Indochina Nigeria
  • Ulcer -- Panama
  • Urology treatments -- Soviet Union
  • Venereal -- Trinidad
  • Vermifuge -- Haiti, Malaya, Panama, Samoa, and Turkey
  • Warts -- Indonesia, Jamaica, Peru, South Africa, and Sri Lanka


Not all of the references in the list below were used in writing this web page. Some references could not be easily located and others were in non-romance languages. They are included here so that a more complete resource list is available for those interested in the subject area.

  • Akah, P.A., A.N. Oli, N.M. Enwerem, and K. Gamaniel. 1997. Preliminary studies on purgative effect of Carica papaya root extract. Fitoterapia, 68 (4): 327-331.
  • Beckstrom-Sternberg, Stephen M., James A. Duke, and K.K. Wain. "The Ethnobotany Database." (ACEDB version 4.3 -data version July 1994).
  • Beckstrom-Sternberg, Stephen M., and James A. Duke. "The Phytochemical Database." (ACEDB version 4.3 - data version July 1994).
  • Bennett, R.N., G. Kiddle, R.M. Wallsgrove. 1997. Biosynthesis of benzylglucosinolate, cyanogenic glucosides and phenylpropanoids in Carica papaya. Phytochemistry, 45 (1): 59-66.
  • Bhattacharyya, R.K. and V.N.M. Rao. 1982. Phenolics content of Co.2 papaya (Carica papaya L.) as affected by growth regulants. Journal of Research, Assam Agricultural University, 3 (2): 214-215.
  • Boom, B.M. 1989. Use of plant resources by the Chacobo. Advances in Economic Botany, 7: 78-96.
  • Brocklehurst, K. and E. Salih. 1985. Fresh non-fruit latex of Carica papaya contains papain, multiple forms of chymopapain A and papaya proteinase OMEGA. Biochemical Journal, 228 (2): 525-527.
  • Chinoy, N.J., Joshi Harsha, and Ghosh Shilpa. 1997. Toxicity related response of female albino rats treated with benzene and alcoholic papaya seed extracts. Indian Journal of Environment and Toxicology, 7 (2): 62-64.
  • Chinoy, N.J., Joshi Harsha, and Ghosh Shilpa. 1997. Antifertility investigations of alcoholic papaya seed extract in female rats. Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Sciences, 19 (2): 422-426.
  • Chinoy, N.J., K.G. Patel, and Chawla Sunita. 1997. Reversible effects of aqueous extract of papaya seed on microenvironment and sperm metabolism of cauda epididymis of rat. Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Sciences, 19 (3): 717-723.
  • Chinoy, N.J. and P. Padman. 1996. Antifertility investigations on the benzene extract of Carica papaya seeds in male albino rats. Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Sciences, 18 (3): 489-494.
  • Chinoy, N.J., Dilip Trivedi, and Harsha Joshi. 1995. Effect of Carica papaya seed extract on female rat ovaries and uteri. Phytotherapy Research, 9 (3): 169-175.
  • Fischer, N. 1998. Flavour components in selected exotic fruits. Food Australia, 50 (4): 165-168.
  • Flath, R.A. and R.R Forrey. 1977. Volatile components of papaya (Carica papaya L., solo variety). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 25 (1): 103-109.
  • Franco, M.R.B., Amaya D. Rodriguez, M.H. Damasio, and J.L.L. Carrillo. 1993. Volatile components and flavour of pawpaw (Carica papaya): a reappraisal. Alimentos e Nutricao, 5: 99-108.
  • Franco, M.R.B. and Amaya D.B. Rodriguez. 1993. Volatile components of two pawpaw cultivars. Arquivos de Biologia e Tecnologia, 36 (3): 613-632.
  • Ghosh, N.K., S.P.S. Babu, and N.C. Sukul. 1998. Antifilarial effect of a plant Carica papaya. Japanese Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 26 (2): 117-119.
  • Giordani, R., M.L. Cardenas, Traffort J. Moulin, and P. Regli. 1996. Fungicidal activity of latex sap from Carica papaya and antifungal effect of D(+)-glucosamine on Candida albicans growth. Mycoses, 39 (3-4): 103-110.
  • Giordani, R. and L. Lafon. 1993. Action of Carica papaya latex on cell wall glycosidases from Lactuca sativa pith. Phytochemistry, 34 (6): 1473-1475.
  • Giordani, R., A. Moulin, and R. Verger. 1991. Tributyroylglycerol hydrolase activity in Carica papaya and other latices. Phytochemistry, 30 (4): 1069-1072.
  • Giordani, R., M. Siepaio, Traffort J. Moulin, and P. Regli. 1991. Antifungal action of Carica papaya latex: isolation of fungal cell wall hydrolysing enzymes. Mycoses, 34 (11-12): 469-477.
  • Grand, A. le. 1989. Anti-infectious phytotherapies of the tree-savanna, Senegal (West Africa) III: a summary of the phytochemical substances and the antimicrobial activity of 43 species. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 25 (3): 315-338.
  • Gundidza, M. 1986. Screening of extracts from Zimbabwean higher plants II: antifungal properties. Fitoterapia, 57 (2): 111-114.
  • Gupta, A., C.O. Wambebe, and D.L. Parsons. 1990. Central and cardiovascular effects of the alcoholic extract of the leaves of Carica papaya. International Journal of Crude Drug Research, 28 (4): 257-266.
  • Harsha, Joshi and N.J. Chinoy. 1996. Reversible antifertility effects of benzene extract of papaya seed on female rats. Phytotherapy Research, 10 (4): 327-328.
  • House, P., S. Lagos-Witte, and C. Torres. 1992. Manual Popular de 50 Plantas Medicinales de Honduras, 3rd Ed. Guaymuras, Honduras.
  • Idstein, H., C. Bauer, and P. Schreier. 1985. Volatile acids from tropical fruits: cherimoya (Annona cherimolia Mill.), guava (Psidium guajava L.), mango (Mangifera indica L. var. alphonso), pawpaw (Carica papaya L.). Zeitschrift fur Lebensmittel-Untersuchung und -Forschung, 180 (5): 394-397.
  • IRR. 1994. Ethnoveterinary medicine in Asia: an information kit on traditional animal health care practices. Volume 2, Ruminants. International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.
  • Kapanadze, I.S. and G.S. Khasaya. 1988. Some biological characteristics of pawpaw trees. Subtropicheskie Kul'tury, No. 1: 136-140.
  • Kinyuy, W.C. 1993. Through integrated biomedical\ethnomedical preparations and ethnotaxonomy, effective malaria and diabetic treatments have evolved. Acta Horticulturae, No. 344: 205-214.
  • Kumar, D., S.K. Mishra, H.C. Tripathi. 1991. Mechanism of anthelmintic action of benzylisothiocyanate. Fitoterapia, 62 (5): 403-410.
  • Lohiya, N.K., R.B. Goyal, D. Jayaprakash, S. Sharma, M. Kumar, and A.S. Ansari. 1992. Induction of reversible antifertility with a crude ethanol extract of Carica papaya seeds in albino male rats. International Journal of Pharmacognosy, 30 (4): 308-320.
  • Lorougnon, G. and L.A. Assi. 1989. The fight against toothache by the Betes of the Daloa region, Cote d'Ivoire. Bulletin de la Societe Botanique de France, Actualites Botaniques, 136 (3-4): 41-44.
  • MacLeod, A. and N.M. Pieris. 1983. Volatile components of papaya (Carica papaya L.) with particular reference to glucosinolate products. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 31 (5): 1005-1008.
  • Madrigal, L.S., A.N. Ortiz, R.D. Cooke, and R.H. Fernandez. 1980. The dependence of crude papain yields on different collection ('tapping') procedures for papaya latex. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 31 (3): 279-285.
  • Media Komunikasi Penelitian dan Pengembangan Tanaman Industri. 1991. Plants that stimulate mothers' milk production. No. 8: 32-35.
  • Moore, D.J. 1980. A simple method of collecting and drying papaya (pawpaw) latex to produce crude papain. Rural Technology Guide, Tropical Products Institute, No.8.
  • Ortega, A. and J.S. Pino. 1997. The volatile constituents of tropical fruits. II. Fruits of Carica species. Alimentaria, 35 (286): 27-40.
  • Osato, J.A., L.A. Santiago, G.M. Remo, M.S. Cuadra, and A. Mori. 1993. Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of unripe papaya. Life Sciences, 53 (17): 1383-1389.
  • Pandey, A., B.R. Maity, K.R. Samaddar. 1996. Antifungal activity of plant latex towards certain fungal organisms. Journal of Mycopathological Research, 34 (1): 35-40.
  • Pousset, J.L., B. Boum, and A. Cave. 1981. Antihaemolytic action of xylitol isolated from Carica papaya bark. Planta Medica, 41 (1): 40-47.
  • Redina, E.F., L.G. Mezhlum'yan, L.G. Bazhenov, and P.Kh. Yuldashev. 1998. Determination of lysozyme in papaya latex preparations. Chemistry of Natural Compounds, 33 (5): 600.
  • Sandhya, Rani P. and L. Veerannah. 1996. Studies on the biochemical constituents of root exudates of papaya. South Indian Horticulture, 44 (5/6): 118-120.
  • Satrija, F., P. Nansen, S. Murtini, and S. He. 1995. Anthelmintic activity of papaya latex against patent Heligmosomoides polygyrus infections in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 48 (3): 161-164.
  • Satrija, F., P. Nansen, H. Bjorn, S. Murtini, and S. He. 1994. Effect of papaya latex against Ascaris suum in naturally infected pigs. Journal of Helminthology, 68 (4): 343-346.
  • Satyanarayanana, Rao V. and K.S. Krishnaiah. 1982. Note on the comparative efficacy of some indigenous anthelmintics against Ascaridia galli infection in chicks. Indian Journal of Animal Sciences, 52 (6): 485-486.
  • Schwab, W. and P. Schreier. 1988. Aryl beta -D-glucosides from Carica papaya fruit. Phytochemistry, 27 (6): 1813-1816.
  • Sheu, F. and Y.T. Shyu. 1996. Determination of benzyl isothiocyanate in papaya fruit by solid phase extraction and gas chromatography. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, 4 (4): 327-334.
  • Siddiqui, M.A., A. Haseeb, and M.M. Alam. 1987. Evaluation of nematicidal properties in some latex bearing plants. Indian Journal of Nematology, 17 (1): 99-102.
  • Suhaila, Mohamed, Hassan Zahariah, and Abd Hamid Norhashimah. 1994. Antimicrobial activity of some tropical fruit wastes (guava, starfruit, banana, papaya, passionfruit, langsat, duku, rambutan and rambai). Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, 17 (3): 219-227.
  • Tang, C.S. 1979. New macrocyclic DELTA 1-piperideine alkaloids from papaya leaves: dehydrocarpaine I and II. Phytochemistry., 18 (4): 651-652.
  • el Tayeb, O., M. Kucera, V.O. Marquis, and H. Kucerova. 1974. Contribution to the knowledge of Nigerian medicinal plants. III. Study on Carica papaya seeds as a source of a reliable antibiotic, the BITC. Planta Medica, 26 (1): 79-89.
  • Thomas, O.O. 1989. Re-examination of the antimicrobial activities of Xylopia aethiopica, Carica papaya, Ocimum gratissimum and Jatropha curcas. Fitoterapia, 60 (2): 147-155.
  • Tona, L., K. Kambu, N. Ngimbi, K. Cimanga, and A.J. Vlietinck. 1998. Antiamoebic and phytochemical screening of some Congolese medicinal plants. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 61 (1): 57-65.
  • Topuriya, L.I., V.I. Rossinskii, and G.S. Erkomaishvili. 1978. Alkaloids of Carica papaya. Khimiya Prirodnykh Soedinenii, No.3: 414.
  • Wagh, A.N., M.N. Bhalekar, and P.N. Kale. 1993. Effect of age of fruit on yield and quality of crude papain in some varieties of papaya. Maharashtra Journal of Horticulture, 7 (1): 41-45.
  • Winterhalter, P., D. Katzenberger, and P. Schreier. 1986. 6,7-Epoxy-linalool and related oxygenated terpenoids from Carica papaya fruit. Phytochemistry, 25 (6): 1347-1350.
  • Withopf, B., E. Richling, R. Roscher, W. Schwab, and P. Schreier. 1997. Sensitive and selective screening for 6'-O-malonylated glucoconjugates in plants. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 45 (3): 907-911.