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Cure Yourself with Ancient Aztec Herb and Plant Remedies

PAPAYA
(Carica papaya L.)



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    Family:  Caricaceae

    Common Names:  Papaya, Papaw or Paw Paw (Australia), Mamao (Brazil), Tree Melon. Related Species: Babaco (Carica pentagona), Mountain Papaya (C. pubescens), Chamburo (C. stipulata).

    Origin:  The papaya is believed to be native to southern Mexico and neighboring Central America. It is now present in every tropical and subtropical country.

    Adaptation:  Papayas have exacting climate requirements for vigorous growth and fruit production. They must have warmth throughout the year and will be damaged by light frosts. Brief exposure to 32? F is damaging and prolonged cold without overhead sprinkling will kill the plants. Cold, wet soil is almost always lethal. Cool temperatures will also alter fruit flavor. Papayas make excellent container and greenhouse specimens where soil moisture and temperature can be moderated.

    Growth Habit:  The papaya is a short-lived, fast-growing, woody, large herb to 10 or 12 feet in height. 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.

    Foliage:  The leaves emerge directly from the upper part of the stem in a spiral on nearly horizontal petioles 1 to 3-1/2 feet long. The blade, deeply divided into 5 to 9 main segments, varies from 1 to 2 feet in width, and has prominent yellowish ribs and veins. The life of a leaf is 4 to 6 months.

    Flowers:  The five-petaled flowers are fleshy, waxy and slightly fragrant. Some plants bear only short-stalked female flowers, or bisexual (perfect) flowers also on short stalks, while others may bear only male flowers, clustered on panicles 5 or 6 feet long. Some plants may have both male and female flowers.

    Others at certain seasons produce short-stalked male flowers, at other times perfect flowers. This change of sex may occur temporarily during high temperatures in midsummer. Male or bisexual plants may change completely to female plants after being beheaded. Certain varieties have a propensity for producing certain types of flowers. For example, the Solo variety has flowers of both sexes 66% of the time, so two out of three plants will produce fruit, even if planted singly.

    How pollination takes place in papayas is not known with certainty. Wind is probably the main agent, as the pollen is light and abundant, but thrips and moths may assist. Hand pollination is sometimes necessary to get a proper fruit set. There are two types of papayas, Hawaiian and Mexican.

    The Hawaiian varieties are the papayas commonly found in supermarkets. These pear-shaped fruit generally weigh about 1 pound and have yellow skin when ripe. The flesh is bright orange or pinkish, depending on variety, with small black seeds clustered in the center. Hawaiian papayas are easier to harvest because the plants seldom grow taller than 8 feet.

    Mexican papayas are much larger then the Hawaiian types and may weigh up to 10 pounds and be more than 15 inches long. The flesh may be yellow, orange or pink. The flavor is less intense than that the Hawaiian papaya but still is delicious and extremely enjoyable. They are slightly easier to grow than Hawaiian papayas.

    A properly ripened papaya is juicy, sweetish and somewhat like a cantaloupe in flavor, although musky in some types. The fruit (and leaves) contain papain which helps digestion and is used to tenderize meat. The edible seeds have a spicy flavor somewhat reminiscent of black pepper.

    CULTURE Location:  Papayas like to be warm with both sunshine and reflected heat, so the hottest place against the house where nothing else seems happy is an ideal location. They also like to be as free from wind as possible, although this is not as critical as their need for sun. Papayas can be grown successfully in shade, but the fruit is rarely sweet. They are best planted in mounds or against the foundation of a building where water can be controlled.

Papaya Info Courtesy of http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/papaya.html   Papaya Graphic 1   Papaya Tree Graphic

Properties of Papaya Favored by Aztec's

Favors Digestion,
Diuretic,
Laxative,
Vermifuge,
Meat Tenderizer,
Cures Skin Irritation,
and Cures Sunburn

Aztec's Method of Use

Eat Papaya a natural, in salads, cooked, boiled, in a milk shake or as preserves.

To Use as a Vermifuge:  Drink on an empty stomach, Papaya juice mixed with an equal amount of honey ,in a cup of hot coffee, 1 half hour later, administer a laxative.

To Use as a Meat Tenderizer:  As the meat is being cooked, add Papaya seeds to it or wrap the meat in Papaya leaves before grilling.

To Cure Skin Irritations and to Cure Sunburn:  Apply Papaya Juice on affected areas.



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CAUTION: This presentation is not a guide to the identification of plants or their use as a substitute for standard medical treatments. Many plants with medicinal properties are also toxic and frequently FATAL if taken at incorrect dosages or if not prepared in a specific fashion. We do not advocate the consumption of reputed medicinal plant products without prior consultation with your physician or other natural plant products professional. Consult Your Physician Before Using a Herbal Remedy!

                 



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