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Papaya (Papain)

 What are other names for this remedy?
 What is papaya?
 What is it used for?
 How is it taken?
 What if I overdose?
 What should I watch out for?
 What are the possible side effects?
 What products might interact with this remedy?

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Pronunciation: pa-PY-ya

What are other names for this remedy?

Type of medicine: natural remedy

Scientific and common names: Papainum crudum, carica papaya, papaw, papaya extract, digestive enzymes, papain, papita, melon tree, mamaerie, vegetable pepsin

What is papaya?

The papaya is a plant that can grow to 10 or 12 feet tall. The fruit and leaves contain papain, an enzyme that helps digestion. It is also used to tenderize meat.

What is it used for?

This remedy has been used to treat several conditions. Studies in humans or animals have not proved that this remedy is safe or effective for all uses. Before using this remedy for a serious condition, you should talk with your healthcare provider.

Papain is an enzyme in papaya. Papain has been taken by mouth to treat:

Papain has been used on the skin to treat burns, wounds, and sores.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve uses for natural remedies. The FDA does not inspect or regulate natural remedies the way they do prescription medicines.

How is it taken?

You may take papain tablets, or eat papaya fruit. It also comes in the form of ointment for use on the skin. Check the label on the package for the specific dose.

What if I overdose?

Symptoms of an acute overdose have not been reported.

What should I watch out for?

Papaya seems safe for most people when taken in small amounts. Taking large amounts may damage the esophagus.

Do not take papaya if you are allergic to papain, figs, kiwi fruit, or latex.

If you need emergency care, surgery, or dental work, tell the healthcare provider or dentist you are taking this remedy.

Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any natural remedy that you are using or thinking about using. If your provider does not tell you how to take it, follow the directions that come with the package. Do not take more or take it longer than recommended. Ask about anything you do not understand. Remember:

What are the possible side effects?

Along with its desirable effects, this remedy may cause some unwanted side effects. Some side effects may be very serious. Some side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the remedy. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that continue or get worse.

Life-threatening (Report these to your healthcare provider right away. If you cannot reach your healthcare provider right away, get emergency medical care or call 911 for help): Allergic reaction (hives; itching; trouble breathing; tightness in your chest; swelling of your lips, tongue, and throat), severe sore throat.

Serious (report these to your healthcare provider right away): Severe skin irritation or blisters; severe stomach pain, heartburn, or sore throat.

Other: Itching.

What products might interact with this remedy?

When you take this remedy with other medicines, it can change the way the remedy or the medicines work. Vitamins and certain foods may also interact. Using these products together might cause harmful side effects. Before taking this remedy, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking:

If you are not sure if your medicines might interact, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. Keep a list of all your medicines with you. List all the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Be sure that you tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all the products you are taking.


Keep all natural remedies and medicines out of the reach of children.

This advisory includes select information only. The information was obtained from scientific journals, study reports, and other documents. The author and publisher make no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the information. The advisory may not include all side effects associated with a remedy or interactions with other medicines. Nothing herein shall constitute a recommendation for the use of any remedy. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information.

healthinformatics info

Reference Sources:

Papaya. Facts & Comparisons. Accessed November 19, 2013 from http://www.drugs.com/npc/papaya.html

Papaya. Natural Standard. Accessed November 24, 2013 from http:http://www.naturalstandard.com

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Last Modified: 2015-08-28

Last Reviewed: 2013-12-03

Website Updated: April 2016

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This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

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