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Papaya ointment is a topical gel made from the fruit of the papaya tree. It is used for medicinal purposes. In both natural and processed forms, many sing the praises of salve made from papaya fruit for its powerful antiseptic properties.
The carica papaya tree is a fruit tree that grows primarily in tropical climates. The plant originated from the areas of South America and Southern Mexico, but it now grows in many warmer climates throughout the world. Papaya fruit, often referred to as pawpaw, can grow as large as a football. This very nutritious tropical treat has a greenish-yellow skin, reddish-orange flesh, and a multitude of small, black seeds. If eaten before it is mature, the fruit has a bitter taste, but when fully ripe, it has a mildly sweet flavor that many describe as a cross between a guava and a cantaloupe.
For many years, people have sought after the papaya not only for its delicious flavor but also because of its health benefits. The pawpaw is loaded with fiber and vitamins such as A, C, and E and is believed to have healing qualities as well. Aside from ingesting the papaya, people have found that, when applied topically on the skin, it helps alleviate many troublesome conditions. Thus, papaya ointment was developed to treat a number of skin conditions.
People use papaya ointment to help sterilize and heal rashes, burns, and open cuts. It is also popular for treating dry skin, eczema, and other skin irritations. Some individuals find that it works to reduce skin blemishes, pimples, and acne. Basically, it can be used on any skin condition for which a person might otherwise apply another type of commercial antibiotic. It is also available as a lip balm to treat cracked, chapped, or peeling lips.
To make papaya ointment, manufacturers ferment the fruit of the pawpaw and typically combine it with other stabilizing ingredients, such as petroleum jelly and preservatives. The thick, pale-yellow gel that is produced has a vague, sour odor. Some manufacturers combine the papaya ointment with other ingredients to enhance its skin-softening and healing properties and mask the unpleasant smell. For instance, coconut oil, aloe, or honey might be combined with pawpaw extract to create a product that encompasses the benefits of each while having a pleasant fragrance.
Some individuals prefer a purer form of papaya ointment, and some retailers sell all-natural products containing no added preservatives or other ingredients. For those seeking the purest approach, the moist underside of the peel from a raw papaya actually contains a sticky substance that many claim has all the benefits of manufactured lotions. If a person is lucky enough to have regular access to pawpaw fruit, he or she can take advantage of the healing benefits by rubbing the peel directly onto the problem skin areas.
As a caveat, some people might have a sensitivity to papaya or the ingredients used in the manufacture of papaya ointment. In that event, using the salve could actually cause additional, more serious skin irritation. Further, there is some evidence that papaya, especially when not completely ripened, could affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant. Consequently, individuals who are trying to become pregnant are advised against using papaya ointment.