Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate. The effectiveness ratings for PAPAYA are as follows:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Cancer. Population research has found that eating the fruit might prevent gallbladder and colorectal cancers in some people.
  • Diabetes. Early research suggests that consuming fermented papaya fruit can reduce blood sugar levels before and after meals in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis). Early research shows that brushing the teeth twice daily with a toothpaste containing leaf extract, with or without the use of a mouthwash containing papaya leaf extract, seems to improve bleeding of the gums.
  • A sexually transmitted infection that can lead to genital warts or cancer (human papillomavirus or HPV). Population research has found that eating papaya fruit at least once per week might reduce the chance of getting a persistent HPV infection compared to never eating the fruit.
  • A serious gum infection (periodontitis). Early research shows that applying a gel containing fermented papaya into spaces around teeth called periodontal pockets can reduce gum bleeding, plaque, and gum inflammation in people with serious gum infections.
  • Wound healing. Early research shows that applying a dressing containing the fruit to the edges of a reopened surgical wound reduces healing time and length of hospitalization compared to treating the reopened wound with a hydrogen peroxide dressing.
  • Aging skin.
  • Dengue fever.
  • Infection of the intestines by parasites.
  • Stomach and intestine problems.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of papaya for these uses.

Papaya Side Effects

  • When taken by mouth: LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken in amounts commonly found in foods. POSSIBLY SAFE when taken as medicine. The latex of papaya is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken in large amounts. The latex contains papain. Taking large amounts of papain by mouth may damage the esophagus.
  • When applied to the skin: Papaya latex is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Applying papaya latex to the skin can cause severe irritation and allergic reactions in some people.

Warnings & Precautions

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. Do not take papaya by mouth in medicinal amounts if you are pregnant. There is some evidence that unprocessed papain, one of the chemicals found in papaya, might poison the fetus or cause birth defects. There isn’t enough reliable information to know if the fruit is safe to use when breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid amounts greater than those normally found in food.
  • Diabetes: Papaya that has been fermented can lower blood sugar. People with diabetes who are taking medications to lower their blood sugar should pay close attention to their blood sugar as adjustments to medications might be needed.
  • Low blood sugar: Fruit that has been fermented can lower blood sugar. Taking this form of papaya might make blood sugar too low in people who already have low blood sugar.
  • An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism): There is concern that eating large amounts of papaya might make this condition worse.
  • Surgery: Papaya that has been fermented can lower blood sugar. In theory, this form of the fruit might affect blood sugar during and after surgery. If you are taking papaya, you should stop 2 weeks before surgery.

Dosage Of Papaya

The appropriate dose of papaya for use as treatment depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for papaya. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.


Consult your doctor or pharmacist.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.