the potent papaya
the bottom line
All praise the papaya – in addition to being a delicious addition to salads, it possesses one of the most useful enzymes known to man, papain. In addition to soothing skin with its moisturizing properties, this incredible fruit has also been used to fight infection, decrease inflammation, combat oxidation, and even heal wounds. Fruit of the angels, indeed.
first layer: the history
Although its origins are found in Mexico and South America, the papaya is now widely cultivated throughout the tropical world, including India and Indonesia.1 The papaya plant is actually hermaphroditic – it is capable of pollinating itself for propagation. All parts of this magnificent plant have been used traditionally, beginning with the leaves used to quell upset tummies and urinary tract infections, and the extracted enzyme papain used to clarify beer and tenderize tough meat.2 Clearly, this fruit has something for everyone.
second layer: the science
Carica papaya, the papaya, is nutritionally dense, with high levels of vitamins A, B, and C. Papain, the enzyme derived from papaya, has been used to treat wounds, help decrease inflammation, and reduce swelling.3 Papain is also capable of fighting bacteria as demonstrated in scientific studies.4 Papaya seeds contain high levels of oleic and palmitic fatty acids, which aid in moisturization of the skin. The anti-oxidants derived from the fruit can help to fight the appearance of aging and sun damage.
third layer: exfoliant and brightener
Papain, the enzyme derived from the fruit, is a natural keratolytic, which means that it can break down the proteins that hold skin cells together. As a result, it acts as an exfoliant, allowing fresh cells to emerge for a smoother and brighter complexion. The fruit’s peel itself (the inside, not the outside) can be rubbed over the face for an immediate skin treatment. But be cautious – extended exposure can cause irritation and stinging.
fourth layer: soothes and moisturizes
The high levels of essential fatty acids found in the seeds of the fruit are the key to papaya’s skin soothing and moisturizing effects. Try a few drops of the pure oil on your skin to help combat dryness and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Eating the fruit itself will hydrate you internally and is a delicious way to nourish your skin from the inside out.
A little plug: Papaya seed oil is rich in fatty acids, penetrating and moisturizing the skin effectively and beautifully. Find it in our anokha blue lotus body oil and awaken your senses every morning.
All this and more at www.anokhaskincare.com .
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3van Wyk BE, Wink M. Medicinal Plants of the World. Timber Press, 2004.