Carica papaya — also simply known as papaya or pawpaw — is a type of tropical, fruit-bearing tree native to Mexico and northern regions of South America.
Today, papaya is one of the most widely cultivated crops in the world. Its fruit, seeds, and leaves are frequently utilized in a variety of culinary and folk medicine practices.
Papaya leaf contains unique plant compounds that have demonstrated broad pharmacological potential in test-tube and animal studies.
Although human research is lacking, many papaya leaf preparations, such as teas, extracts, tablets, and juices, are often used to treat illnesses and promote health in numerous way
1. May treat symptoms related to dengue fever
One of the most prominent medicinal benefits of papaya leaf is its potential to treat certain symptoms associated with dengue fever.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne virus that can be transmitted to humans and cause flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and skin rashes.
Severe cases can also result in reduced platelet levels in the blood. Low platelet levels can contribute to an increased risk of bleeding and are potentially fatal if left untreated.
While there’s currently no cure for dengue, several treatments are available for managing its symptoms — one of which is papaya leaf.
Three human studies that included several hundred people with dengue found that papaya leaf extract significantly increased blood platelet levels .
What’s more, the papaya leaf therapy had very few associated side effects and was found to be much more cost effective than conventional treatments.
Studies have found that papaya leaf extract can improve blood platelet levels in people with dengue fever.
Papaya leaf is often used in Mexican folk medicine as a natural therapy for treating diabetes and improving blood sugar control .
Studies in mice with diabetes have found papaya leaf extract to have potent antioxidant and blood-sugar-lowering effects. This is attributed to papaya leaf’s ability to protect insulin-producing cells in the pancreas from damage and premature death.
Still, no scientific evidence indicates that the same or similar effects may occur in humans.
More research is needed to determine whether papaya leaf can be used to help manage high blood sugar levels in humans.
Papaya leaf is used in traditional medicine practices to treat diabetes and high blood sugar levels. While animal studies have shown that papaya leaf has a blood-sugar-lowering effect, no human studies support its use for this purpose.
Papaya leaf teas and extracts are often used as an alternative therapy to alleviate uncomfortable digestive symptoms, such as gas, bloating, and heartburn.
Papaya leaf contains fiber — a nutrient that supports healthy digestive function — and a unique compound called papain.
Papain is well known for its ability to break down large proteins into smaller, easier-to-digest proteins and amino acids. It’s even used as a meat tenderizer in culinary practices.
One study found that the supplemental use of a papain powder sourced from papaya fruit reduced negative digestive symptoms, including constipation and heartburn, in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
No scientific studies have specifically evaluated papaya leaf’s ability to treat similar types of digestive disturbances.
Most of the evidence favoring its use for this purpose is limited to anecdotal reports, and there’s no guarantee it’ll improve your digestive function in any way.
The nutrients and compounds in papaya leaf may alleviate digestive disturbances, but research is lacking