Papain is a protein-cleaving enzyme derived from papaya and certain other plants. Enzymes are complex molecules produced in living organisms to catalyze (speed up) chemical reactions within the cell. A number of digestive enzyme supplements are available. The simple ones are extracted from tropical fruits: bromelain from pineapple and papain from papayas. Papain has a mild, soothing effect on the stomach and aids in protein digestion. It is most often used as a meat tenderizer.
Though the exact area of origin is unknown, the papaya is believed native to tropical America, perhaps in southern Mexico and neighboring Central America. It is recorded that seeds were taken to Panama and then the Dominican Republic before 1525 and cultivation spread to warm elevations throughout South and Central America, southern Mexico, the West Indies and Bahamas, and to Bermuda in 1616. Spaniards carried seeds to the Philippines about 1550 and the papaya traveled from there to Malacca and India. Seeds were sent from India to Naples in 1626. Now the papaya is familiar in nearly all tropical regions of the Old World and the Pacific Islands and has become naturalized in many areas. Seeds were probably brought to Florida from the Bahamas. Up to about 1959, the papaya was commonly grown in southern and central Florida in home gardens and on a small commercial scale. Thereafter, natural enemies seriously reduced the plantings.
The latex of the papaya plant and its green fruits contains two proteolytic enzymes, papain and chymopapain. The latter is most abundant but papain is twice as potent. In 1933, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was the leading commercial source of papain but it has been surpassed by East Africa where large-scale production began in 1937.
The presence and effects of proteinases (now termed proteases) in papaya fruit (Carica papaya) latex have been well known since the 1750s (Brocklehurst et al. 1983). But it was not until the 1870’s that the importance of papaya latex as a source of enzymes was recognized.
Papain by far is the most widely studied of the cysteine enzymes because of its commercial value. Besides being used as a meat tenderizer other uses of papain include:
defibrinating wounds in hospitals
shrink proofing of wool
used in pet food to reduce viscosity and increase palatability
prevents cornea scar deformation
used in treatments of jellyfish and insect sings
used to treat edemas, inflammatory processes, and in the acceleration of wound healing
it is used as an ingredient in cleaning solutions for soft contact lenses
in low doses in can be used to as an indigestion medicine.
As we can see the uses for papain are diverse and thus it makes it an extremely valuable enzyme.
Papain has been employed to treat ulcers, dissolve membranes in diphtheria, and reduce swelling, fever and adhesions after surgery. With considerable risk, it has been applied on meat impacted in the gullet. Chemopapain is sometimes injected in cases of slipped spinal discs or pinched nerves. Precautions should be taken because some individuals are allergic to papain in any form and even to meat tenderized with papain.
In tropical folk medicine, the fresh latex is smeared on boils, warts and freckles and given as a vermifuge. In India, it is applied on the uterus as an irritant to cause abortion. The unripe fruit is sometimes hazardously ingested to achieve abortion. Seeds, too, may bring on abortio,21,141837.013,1,20349,22.214.171.124
141849,141837,141837,2005-05-25 20:33:56,RE: Fruit paired with meat or poultry”