What Are the Health Benefits of Pawpaw?

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  • Originally Written By: Darlene Zagata
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 27 January 2020
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Pawpaw has a number of important health benefits, and they can be realized in different ways — eating the fruit is often the most direct means of benefiting, but the results are often slower than when the oils are extracted and used in highly concentrated forms, or when other parts of the plant, particularly the bark and leaves, are used medicinally. In addition to improving overall health and immune function, the plant might also help fight more serious conditions. Medical researchers have noted a high concentration of antioxidant properties in both the flesh and the seeds, which makes the fruit a good choice for those looking for natural remedies for certain cancers and other conditions that are thought to be exacerbated by the presence of free radicals in the body. The fruit’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties have also led to its use in the treatment of everything from arthritis pain to parasites. Those committed to the health benefits of pawpaw have reported a number of other incidental benefits, including such things as curing impotence and easing nausea. These benefits aren’t widespread, and are usually thought to depend a lot on the individual at issue.


Fruit Basics

The pawpaw fruit is a product of the North American shrub known scientifically as Asimina triloba. The plant is a genetic relative of the more commonly known papaya fruit, which grows in tropical climates; A. triloba, by contrast, is limited to a swath of the U.S. mid-Atlantic region, which is characterized by more temperate weather and often very cold winters. Pawpaw fruits are oblong and typically grow to about 6 inches (16 cm) in length. The majority of their nutrients are in the fleshy interior and seeds, but the skin can also be used medicinally, as can the plant’s leaves, bark, and even roots. A lot depends on the target goal.

Skin Smoothing and Moisturizing

Pawpaw is often regarded as something of a “miracle” treatment for people suffering from harsh skin conditions such as acne and eczema. Patients usually rub concentrated pawpaw creams and extracts on their skin to get the best results, though sometimes simply rubbing the fruit skins on the affected areas can bring relief. Pawpaw oil has also been shown to reduce cellulite, and can firm and smooth the skin by stimulating the production of collagen.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

The anti-inflammatory properties of pawpaw plant make most parts of it good natural treatments for inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Regular consumption of the oils in the fruit and leaves can help relieve the inflammation and pain associated with arthritic conditions. Pawpaw also can help treat common injuries of the joints and muscles.

As an Antioxidant

Additionally, the pawpaw plant is rich in natural compounds that contain cancer-fighting properties. Research has suggested that extracts of the pawpaw plant can significantly reduce tumors in cancer patients. It also can alleviate the nausea and other side effects of chemotherapy. Animal studies have also shown that the plant’s chemical compounds can be effective in lowering blood sugar levels as well as lowering cholesterol, which in addition to improving overall health might also help relieve a number of internal ailments and can be helpful when it comes to preventing heart attack, stroke and arteriosclerosis.

Calming Respiratory Problems

Practitioners of natural medicine sometimes also prescribe pawpaw for the relief of respiratory problems, but in these cases the biggest benefit often comes through inhaling the plant rather than eating it or using it topically. Asthma sufferers may find relief during an asthma attack by inhaling the smoke produced by burning dried pawpaw leaves.

Parasite Removal

Pawpaw has a number of natural insecticidal properties and has been proved to be an effective alternative for ridding the body of parasites. People who suffer from intestinal worms can chew on pawpaw seeds to expel the parasites. Shampoos containing an extract from the pawpaw plant are sometimes also recommended for patients with lice and nits.

Other Incidental Benefits

There are sometimes also a number of more incidental benefits all of which can vary a lot from person to person. In some people the fruit and its extracts may strengthen eyesight and protect against the development of cataracts. The pawpaw fruit can also aid digestion by breaking down proteins and promoting the production of digestive enzymes, and it helps prevent bloating, alleviates chronic indigestion and curbs diarrhea. In many people it is also believed to relieve nausea, constipation and toothaches, and can lower the risk of emphysema in smokers and is even credited as a treatment for impotence. Other health benefits of pawpaw include its abilities to increase energy, increase vitality and help maintain overall health.


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How does pawpaw help cellulite and how does it do it?

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