Papaya Leaf: Benefits & How to Use

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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There are many ways to use papaya leaf for your overall health, but before adding this nutrient powerhouse to your diet, it’s best to understand what it’s all about.

What is Papaya Leaf?

Papaya leaf is the leaf of the papaya tree, scientifically known as Carica papaya, which can be found in tropical regions of the Americas. The fruit of this tree is considered an exotic delicacy and has a wealth of nutrients and antioxidants. However, the leaves of this tree are also quite impressive and are commonly used in both medicinal and culinary uses. Thanks to the high concentration of papain and other unique enzymes, as well as various phytonutrients and antioxidants, these leaves can be an excellent remedy for a variety of ailments.

Close up of fresh, ripe halved papaya with seeds and papaya leaf on a wooden table

Papaya and papaya leaf Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Papaya Leaf Health Benefits

There are many health benefits of papaya leaf, including a reduction in the symptoms of the following:

The active ingredients present in these leaves also help in the following:

Note: A team of researchers from Australia working on cancer research programs found that the papaya leaf has several bioactive compounds that show anti-cancer potential. However, further studies are warranted to explore the benefits of it for cancer treatment. 

The enzymes present in these leaves also help to do the following:

Women also use these leaves to minimize menstrual pain and other symptoms, such as mood swings and fatigue. Lastly, these leaves are known to affect the circulatory system and boost platelet levels, which is important if your body is fighting an infection.

How to Use Papaya Leaves?

There are a few key ways to use papaya leaves, such as in the form of a tea or a juice, or the leaves can be prepared into a face mask or a soothing salve. Papaya leaf juice is particularly popular, and while it does take quite a few leaves to make, the nutrient density and delicious flavor make it worth the effort. The leaves aren’t typically eaten directly, but extracts are often removed for more concentrated medicinal effects.

Papaya Leaf Side Effects

There are some potential side effects of papaya leaf that you should be wary of, such as the following:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Complications of pregnancy

An inadequate amount of research has been done on the effects of this leaf on pregnant and nursing mothers, so it should generally be avoided. Furthermore, if you have an allergy to papaya fruit, then you will also experience allergic reactions to the leaf, such as stomach upset and topical inflammation, when applied.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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