Scientific Name: Carica papaya

Bahasa Indonesia: Pepaya

Batak: Botik

Basic Information: Papaya is in the genus Carica of the family Caricaceae. It is a small, sparsely branched tree, usually with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 meters tall. The leaves are spirally arranged and are mainly located at the top of the tree, though you can see scarring on the lower trunk to show where the leaves and fruit were born. The flowers are sweet-scented, open at night and are wind or insect pollinated. The fruit is a large, fleshy berry, about 15-45 cm long and 10-30 cm in diameter, with smooth green skin that ripens to yellow or orange. The papaya is native to Mexico and Northern South America. Papaya fruit are commonly eaten fresh, but may also be processed into jams, jellies, juices, and the green fruits and young leaves can also be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

Health Benefits:

  1. Aids in digestion – papaya possesses anti-ulcerative properties, as well as papain (a digestive super-enzyme), which ensures a reduced conversion of protein into body fat.
  2. Weight Loss – the fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals present in papaya help people lose weight naturally.
  3. Prevents Infections – papayas are effective for killing intestinal worms, which help the body avoid infections.
  4. Relieves Toothache – fresh papaya roots can be rubbed onto the teeth and gums as a home remedy for toothaches.
  5. Prevents Cancers – research has found papaya is effective in fighting breast, pancreatic, and other cancers. There are also antioxidants that help relieve the effects of cancer radiotherapy.
  6. Great for the Skin – papain kills dead cells and purifies the skin. In addition, the enzymes present in papaya also help treat sunburn and irritated skin and fights free radicals that age your skin.
  7. Improves Heart Health – papaya seeds have high levels of vitamin A, C, and E, which prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart diseases. They also help prevent cholesterol from sticking to the walls of blood vessels.
  8. Reduces Acne & Burns – the fleshy side of papaya skin can be used as a mask to cure acne. The latex of the fruit can also be applied to a burnt area and helps reduce the marks caused by the burn.
  9. Anti-inflammatory Effects – the enzymes present in papaya reduce inflammation in different parts of the body.
  10. Helps prevent macular degeneration – the same antioxidant that gives papaya its orange color is effective in reducing the effect of macular degeneration.
  11. Relieves constipation – papaya juice and the ripened form of papaya aid in digestion and the fiber obtained from the fruit increases bowel movements.
  12. Reduces Motion Sickness – folate, and vitamins C and E produce a tonic effect in the stomach and intestines, which can help with motion sickness.
  13. Regulates Menstruation – green, unripe papayas can normalize the irregularity in one’s periodic cycle.
  14. Prevents arthritis – both the anti-inflammatory properties and the enzymes found in papayas have a significant effect on controlling arthritis.

Fun Facts:

  • Christopher Columbus once referred to papaya as the “fruit of the angels”
  • The small, black seeds in the center of the fruit taste like black pepper and in some countries, some people use this in place of black peppercorns
  • The papaya tree can grow from a seed to a 20 foot, fruit bearing tree in less than 18 months

How to Grow Papaya:

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to grow papaya:

1. Choose a suitable location. Papaya trees thrive in warm, sunny locations with well-drained soil. They are sensitive to frost, so it is important to choose a planting site that is protected from cold temperatures.

2. Gather your supplies. You will need papaya seeds, seed starting mix, a container for starting seeds, a pot for transplanting seedlings, and potting mix.

3. Prepare the seeds. Extract the seeds from a ripe papaya fruit. Wash the seeds thoroughly and let them dry for a few days.

4. Sow the seeds. Fill your container with seed starting mix and moisten it well. Sow the seeds about 1/4 inch deep and cover them with a thin layer of soil.

5. Germinate the seeds. Place the container in a warm, sunny location and keep the soil moist. The seeds should germinate in 2-3 weeks.

6. Transplant the seedlings. Once the seedlings have a few true leaves, transplant them into individual pots with potting mix.

7. Care for your papaya trees. Water your papaya trees regularly, especially during hot weather. Fertilize them every few months with a balanced fertilizer.

8. Harvest your papaya fruits. Papaya fruits are ripe when they are yellow or orange and yield to gentle pressure.

Yellow or orange papaya fruits