Benefits of papaya

Health benefits of Carica papaya


Known is Ayurvedic system of medicine as Erand-karkati, Carica Papaya or simply Papaya, Papaw, or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya [17]. Papaya is a fruit full of properties and health benefits, most of them only recently discovered. Some of the benefits of papaya are even highlighted by international organizations aiming to fight common illnesses and ailments in countries where those deficiencies affect population in many ways. More than 75% of the total population in developing countries relies on traditional medicines based on plant products [30].  

Papaya is a rich source of nutrients and vitamins, a characteristic that has been used by populations where nutrition education is key to change dietary habits and fight ailments and illnesses caused by deficiencies such as vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in more than half of all countries, especially in Africa and South-East Asia. An estimated 250 000 to 500 000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight [28].

In fact the World Health Organisation (WHO) knowing the benefits of papaya recommended in one of its reports to include mango as well as papaya, or dark green leafy vegetables as part of a list of pro-vitamin A rich foods [26], explaining local populations where vitamin A deficiency was observed how to obtain vitamin A from inexpensive, readily available sources (primarily mango, papaya, carrots, yellow pumpkin and squash or sweet potato, and dark-green leafy vegetables . Image: See credits under ref. [25] below.


Family: Caricaceae

Genus: Carica

Common name: Papaya, papaw, pawpaw.


How plants grow


Growth hormones are responsible for cell reproduction and regeneration in humans, animals and plants. In humans and animals growth hormones are also known as somatotropin or somatropin. In the plant kingdom or plantae they are known as Brassinosteroids and they play a crucial role in plant growth and development [5].

Brassinosteroids are a class of polyhydroxylated sterol derivatives, structurally similar to animal steroids, which appear to be globally distributed throughout the plant kingdom [2,3]. They promote cell expansion and division, regulating senescence, male fertility, fruit ripening as well as modulating plant responses to various environmental signals [2,3].

Brassinosteroids are activated in response to light and temperature changes, as well as other environmental conditions, this is in fact the only way plants have to react to external environmental conditions. They promote cell elongation in vegetative organs in several plant species [5].


Family: Brassicaceae

Genus: Brassica

Common name: Rape, oilseed rape, rappi, rapa, rapaseed [4].


Clerodendrum capitatum


Clerodendrum capitatum (Clerodendron), a plant native from Tropical African region that belongs to the Verbenaceae family, locally known as "Gung" in Sudan [1], "Pipe Tree" [2] and Mashayi[4], that grows between 0.2 to 2 meters high, could be the new source of a new family of natural PDE5 inhibitors, the cellular enzymes used as a base for some of the most famous drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, as Sidenafil, used for its vasodilatory and PDE5 inhibitory properties. Note: The image above belongs to Clerodendrum thomsoniae.

In Nigeria, Clerodendrum capitatum (Clerodendron)is used to treat diabetes mellitus, obesity, and hypertension [10], and in Sudan it has been used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction [1,8,9], however and due to its vasodilatory and PDE5 inhibitory effects it may well be the new source of drugs against erectile dysfunction. Image: Clerodendrum thomsoniae, see credits under ref. [22] below.


Family: Verbenaceae

Genus: Clerodendrum

Common name: Gung [1], Pipe tree [2], Mashayi [4].


More antioxidants and less pesticides in organic crops


Organic farming aims to preserve soil and ecosystem health by forgoing heavy use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides [4], so far so good but what does this bring to consumers? Why would consumers pay more for organic food if there was no difference between that one and non-organic food?

Consumers believe that organic food is healthier and more nutritious, presumably due to the absence of pesticides and artificial hormones [4], however there is not much information regarding these potential health benefits of organically grown food, or at least it wasn't much until now.

In a study performed by an international team of experts led by Newcastle University, it has been found that organic crops contain much higher quantities of antioxidants and much lower incidence of pesticide residues [1].


Tel Kabri, a 3,700-years-old wine cellar


Tel Kabri (Hebrew: תל כברי‎), an archaeological site at the eastern end of the Western Galilee coastal plain, home to one of the largest Middle Bronze Age Canaanite palaces in Israel, has been excavated since 1957 in the search for antiquities and archaeological treasures [4].

Not without reason Tel Kabri was known to be the only place where Minoan-style frescoes were found [4] in a 3,500-year-old Canaanite palace. Now a team of American and Israeli archaeologists may have found there what it seems to be the oldest wine cellar in the Near East


Family: Vitaceae

Genus: Vitis

Common name: Common grape vine