The papaya is a short-lived, fast-growing, woody, large herb about height 10 to 12 feet. It generally branches only when injured. All part of the papaya tree, leaves and fruit contains laticifers and a white latex which flows freely from any cut surface.
Properly ripened papaya fruit can be eaten raw and is juicy, sweetish and somewhat like a cantaloupe in flavor. The unripe immature green fruit of papaya can be eaten after cooked, usually in curries, salads and stews. It also has a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies.
Papaya fruit and the tree's latex are both rich in papain enzyme, which is a protease useful in tenderizing meat and other proteins. It is used as a component in powdered meat tenderizers since its ability to break down tough meat fibers. And is also created as tablet form to remedy for digestive problems. So green fruit chunks and leaves can be wrapped around meat or fowl before cooking to enhance tenderness and flavor.
The papaya fruit is having about 88.8 percent water, 9.8 percent carbohydrate, 0.8 percent fiber, 0.6 percent protein, 0.6 percent ash and 0.1 percent fat. Papayas also contain 16 percent more vitamin C than oranges and are a good source of vitamin A. Consumption of the fruit will aid digestion because of the papain content.
Extracts of ripe and unripe papaya fruits and their seeds are highly active against gram positive bacteria; and the strong doses are effective against gram negative bacteria. The fresh crushed seeds yield the aglycone of glucotropaeolin benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC) which is bacteriostatic, bactericidal and fungicidal; and a single effective dose is 4-5 g seeds (25-30 mg of glucotropaeolin benzyl isothiocyanate). At 1977, in a hospital in London, a post-operative infection in a kidney-transplant patient was cured by strips of papaya which were laid on the wound and left for about 48 hours, when all modern medications had failed.