Papain is basically an enzyme that dissolves proteins extracted from the milky white sap of the green papaya fruit. In fact, people in Southeast Asia eat green or unripe papaya in the form of a salad vegetable, as it is a rich source of papain. Papaya fruit as well as papaya leaves also contain papain.
Papain, the enzyme extracted from unripe papaya, possesses the ability to disintegrate (hydrolyze) bigger protein into peptides (smaller proteins) or also into the least sub-unit of amino acid by slashing the bonds in the center of the protein chain or the end of the series (for instance, endopeptidase and exopeptidase actions, in that order) in an extensive pH assortment.
This enables papain a noticeable aptitude to improve the entire digestive procedure as well as augment the assimilation of nutrients present in foods based on protein by the stomach. The ability of papain to hydrolyze or break down larger proteins also denotes that this enzyme is able to contribute in several usual physiologic procedures and possibly have an affect on the disease processes for the betterment.
Across the globe, most people generally consume the green or unripe papaya fruit. In several south Asian as well as southeast Asian nations, people employ the green papaya to prepare a pie and flavorful salad to go along with rice or yams. In fact, green or unripe papaya is a very rich resource of the medicinally active papain compared to the ripened fruit.
Precisely speaking, papain assists in the digestive process and is especially beneficial for people who have difficulty in absorbing proteins. In addition, papain is also an excellent remedy for easing pain. This enzyme also aids in digestion, stomach-ache, heartburn, preventing ulcers and in augmenting appetite. Among its other therapeutic properties, papain aids in speedy healing of bruises and other types of injuries.
As mentioned above, papain offers several health benefits and is used to cure a number of different health conditions. A brief description of the health specific effectiveness of papain is given below.
- Bruises, sore muscles, sprains and strains and recuperation from surgery
- Many double-blind controlled researches have detected that when people enduring ankle injuries, finger fractures and mild athletic wounds are treated with proteolytic (protein-dissolving) enzymes like papain, it significantly speeds up the healing process. According to the findings of one double-blind study, treating people who have undergone oral surgery, knee surgery and nasal surgery with proteolytic enzymes accelerated the recuperation.
- Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)
- It has been found that papain is very effective in easing severe prostate inflammation.
- Celiac disease
- Papain helps to hydrolyze wheat gluten, which is a major aspect in celiac disease (an inherited digestive problem concerning intolerance to gluten). However, a number of people enduring celiac disease can stomach reasonable quantities of wheat products provided they also take papain supplements along with their diet.
- Herpes virus infection and shingles
- The findings of a technically controlled research undertaken in Germany discovered that applying papain creams to the skin areas harmed by herpes eruptions helped to alleviate the pain in a manner that is similar to using acyclovir (Zovirax), however, compared to acyclovir, papain consumed a longer period to cure the redness caused by herpes eruptions. In general, both acyclovir and papain were deemed equally useful in treating shingles (herpes zoster). Even though treatment by both resulted in easing the pain in a similar manner, patients who were underwent treatment with papain actually had very few side effects.
A major area where papain is beneficial for the body is in the domain of this enzyme’s attributes that facilitate digestion of protein. In fact, the University of Michigan endorses the use of papain in the form of an enzymatic sustenance for the stomach, intestines and the pancreas.
Owing to the antiseptic as well as anti-inflammatory properties of papain, this enzyme is presently being researched for possibilities of its external application to cure wounds, burns and irritations. Papain has also been employed to treat bedsores as well as ulcers. Customary cultures in Hawaii and Tahiti used the papaya skin to prepare poultices. It may be noted that the skin of the unripe or green papaya has rich papain content. These cultures in Hawaii and Tahiti applied the poultices to the skin to cure wounds, burns, rashes and even bug stings. According to the University of Minnesota Medical Center, papain is a debrinding agent that is employed to get rid of dead tissues as well as speed up the healing of wounds and enhance the skin conditions.
Findings of several researches have shown that the proteolytic enzyme papain also possesses anti-fungal attributes. According to a latest 2010 report published in the African Journal of Agricultural Research, it has been found that extracts obtained from Carica papaya may perhaps statistically lessen the fungal pathogen that is responsible for pawpaw fruit putrefaction.
In the case of cancer treatment, papain may possibly work in the form of an immune support system since proteolytic enzymes like papain aid in moderating leukocytes in the immune reaction. Many researches indicate that the papain enzyme also has anti-tumour attributes.
In addition to the therapeutic properties of papain discussed above, this proteolytic enzyme extracted from unripe papaya fruit is also an effective anti-inflammatory agent. In fact, several studies have shown that papain as well as one more extremely known enzyme present in papayas and known as chymopapain both have anti-inflammatory consequences. It is said that taking a juice prepared from papaya – an amazing fruit, every day may possibly assist in treating asthma and arthritis, which are inflammatory conditions.
Papain is commercially available as Linked-Papain cream meant for topical application. It is also available in the form of a single-herb capsule as well as a combined papain/ bromelain tablet meant for internal use.
Here is a word of caution regarding the use of papain for therapeutic reasons. While pregnant women are free to consume ripened papaya in reasonable amounts, they should never take the green and unripe papaya, papaya latex (sap) or the leaves of the plant. Also people suffering from malabsorption problems could want to keep away from proteolytic enzymes, such as papain.
A grave health condition known as fibrosing colonopathy that entails harm to the large intestines has been related to the use of pancreatic enzymes by young children having cystic fibrosis. Till further information regarding this condition is available, it is advisable that children suffering from cystic fibrosis and requiring intake of pancreatic enzymes ought to do so solely under the vigilant direction of a competent healthcare professional.
Before concluding, it may be noted that papain may possibly enhance the blood-thinning consequences of warfarin (Coumadin) as well as other anticoagulant medications. In the event of you taking any anticoagulant medication, it is advisable that you should be careful about using papain and only use it in restraint.