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Papaya

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The papaya is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, belongs to the genus Carica and family Caricaceae. It is native to the tropics of the Americas, and was first cultivated in Mexico. It is a large tree-like plant, with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 meters tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk. It generally branches only when injured. All parts contain latex. The hollow green or deep purple trunk is straight and cylindrical with prominent leaf scars. Its diameter may be from 2 or 3 inches to over a foot at the base.
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Botanical Names
Papaya
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Chirbhita, Eranda karkati Hindi : Papaya, Papita Marathi : Papai Bengali : Papita Tamil : Pappali Malayalam : Omakka
Chemical Constituents
The papaya Fruit encloses main chemical components that are proteolytic enzymes such as papain, chymopapain, pectin, carposide, pseudocarpaine, dehydrocarpines, carotenoids, cryptoglavine, cis-violaxanthin and antheraxanthin (1). In addition; the fruit also contains hints of an alkaloid called carpaine. Papain is a milky white sticky substance that flows from the raw fruit when it is cut. The substance is highly useful as a medication and is known to be an enzyme that dissolves protein (2). It is a rich source of anti-oxidants, especially beta carotene, which is a form of Vitamin A. It has the second highest content of beta carotene among fruits, and derives its orange color from it. A raw papaya is very rich in Vitamin C. There are small amounts of vitamin B as thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. It also contains folate and pantothenic acid. Essential minerals in the papaya include potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. It also contains flavonoids, which are antioxidant nutrients. It has a high fiber and water content. The carbohydrate content in papaya is mainly of invert sugar which is a form of pre-digested food. The ripe papaya contains abundance of energy-boosting natural sugars.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
Papaya is basically an agent that helps in the digestive process. The leaves of the tree as well as the fruit, both ripe and raw, are used medicinally to aid digestion. It is interesting to note that the unripe papaya fruit is medicinally more advantageous. The papaya fruit juice has an anti proliferative effect on in vitro liver cancer cells, probably due to its component of lycopene or immune system stimulation (3). The milky white sap produced by the trunk of the papaya tree is also a useful remedy and is applied externally to accelerate the curing of abrasions, ulcers, boils, warts and cancerous growth. On the other hand, an infusion prepared with the flowers of the plant may be used to stimulate menstruation. The decoction prepared by boiling the ripe fruit in water is useful for curing enduring diarrhea and dysentery among children. The ripe fruit is moderately laxative and helps in the movement of bowels.
Health Benefits
Papayas offer not only the luscious taste, but are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium, and fiber (4). Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies. Papaya is a power fruit (5). Papaya is a fruit high in fiber which lowers cholesterol levels. Papaya contains antioxidants which prevents the cholesterol from oxidizing. When cholesterol in the body gets oxidized, it can lead to heart-attacks. The anti-oxidants in papaya also help in controlling premature ageing, which helps to give a young look (6). Some more health benefits of Papaya (7) • Papaya contains a high amount of potassium and the flesh of papaya is very high in Vitamin A. • Papaya juice helps in alleviating infections of the colon by clearing away the infection, pus and mucus. Regular consumption will help in improving the problem. • The skin of papaya is excellent for treating skin wounds and places that do not heal quickly. • Papaya is low in calories and high in nutritive value hence it is an excellent food for those on a diet. • Regularly consuming papaya helps to relieve morning sickness and nausea. • Papaya has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-cancerous properties. The anti-inflammatory properties in papaya will help reduce pain for those suffering from arthritis, edema and osteoporosis. • Papaya is very good for those who frequently suffer from cold, cough or flu because intake of papaya boosts the immune system. The high concentration of Vitamin C and Vitamin A contained in papaya is very beneficial to strengthen the immune system. • Papaya is also very good for the hair and helps in controlling dandruff. Papaya shampoos are good for the hair and are available in many health stores.
Application in Cosmetics
A papaya face pack can be made using the fruit. Papaya is a product from nature which is used in many skin lightening creams. Many of the lotions or creams which are used to make the face lighter or fairer contain papaya as an ingredient. Papaya also helps in getting rid of acne because when papaya is applied as a face pack it helps to open the pores. Papaya makes the skin glow. Papaya contains the enzyme papain which helps to dissolve dead skin, thus imparting a fresh and clean glow to the face (8). Papaya has become known as a leading ingredient in skin whitening products because it contains papain, a natural enzyme that promotes skin renewal and cell turnover. It helps in exfoliating the skin to reveal newer cells, and has restorative properties that soften the skin. Eating papaya may also aid in whitening skin and overall skin clarity. Papaya is rich in vitamins A, E and C, and other anti-oxidants that help in giving skin the moisture and protection it needs (9). The nutrients contained in the papaya fruit helps in the skin's healing as well (10). Papain forms an important ingredient in the manufacture of face creams, ointments, cleansers and other similar substances with the belief that the enzyme will apply its assimilating effect on freckles or brown spot on the skin as well as other blotches caused by the sun. Along with other benefits papaya is said to be great for hair. It helps hair by maintaining the natural shine of the hair, keeping the hair soft, stimulating hair growth, restricting the dandruff, relaxing the hair, making the hair fuller and stronger by firming it. • Papaya is also very good for the hair and helps in controlling dandruff. Papaya shampoos are good for the hair and are available in many health stores.
Research References
1. Chart HT, Tang CS (1979) The chemistry and biochemistry of papaya. In: Inglett GE, Chalambous G (eds) Tropical foods: chemistry and nutrition. New York: Academic Press, pp 33-55. 2. Chan HT, Hau RA, Tang CS, Okazaki EN, Ishizoki SM (1978) Composition of papaya seeds. J Food Sci 43:255-256. 3. Claudia R. da Silva, Marcia B. N. Oliveira, Ellen S.Motta, Gabriella S. de Almeida, Leandro L. Varanda, Marcelo de P´adula, Alvaro C. Leit˜ao, and Adriano Caldeira-de-Ara ujo. Genotoxic and Cytotoxic Safety Evaluation of Papain (Carica papaya L.) Using In Vitro Assays. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2010 Volume 2010, Article ID 197898, 8 pages doi:10.1155/2010/197898. 4. Okeniji J. A., Ogunlesi T A., Oyelami O A., and Adeyemi L A. Effectiveness of dried Carica Papaya seeds against human intestinal parasitosis: a pilot study, J. Med Food, 2007, 10(1):194-196. 5. Brocklehurst K., Salih E., McKee R. et al. (1985). Fresh non-fruit latex of Carica papaya contains papain, multiple forms of chymopapain A and papaya proteinase Omega. Biochem. J. 228, 525–527. 6. Blakesley CN, Loots JC, du Plessis LM, de Bruyn G (1979) 2. Volatile components, lipids, and amino acids of mango, papaya, and strawberry pulp. J Agric Food Chem 27:42-48. 7. Krishna K. L., Paridhavi M. and Patel J. A.(2008) Review on nutritional , medicinal and pharmacological properties of papaya (Carica Papaya Linn) Natural Product Radiance. 74: 364-373. 8. I. F. Starley, P. Mohammed, G. Schneider, and S. W. Bickler (1999). “The treatment of paediatric burns using topical papaya,” Burns, 25 (7), 636–639. 9. Mikhal’chik, E.V., Ivanova, A.V., Anurov, M.V., et al. (2004). Wound healing effect of papaya-based preparation in experimental thermal trauma, Bull. Exp. Biol. Med. 137, 560–562. 10. Agrawal, S. and Rao, A.V.(1998). “Tomato, Lycopene and LDL Oxidation, a human Dietary Invention Study” Lipid,33, 1981-1984. 11. O. I. Oloyede, (2005). “Chemical profile of unripe pulp of Carica papaya,” Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 4.(6 ) 379– 381, 12. Duke J.A. (1984). Borderline herbs. CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL. Eno, A.E., Owo, O.I., Itam, E.H., et al. (2000). Blood pressure depression by the fruit juice of Carica papaya (L.) in renal and DOCAinduced hypertension in the rat, Phytotherapy Res. 14, 235–239. 13. .Dheer,R., Mathur, A. and Bhatnager, P. (1995). “The Role of Herbs as Antioxidants”, Proceedings of International Conference on Botanical Products and Expo, March, pp. 37-53.
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