Health effects and potential mode of action of papaya (Carica papaya L.) bioactive chemicals

Y. Desjardins
Papaya (Carica papaya L.) has been used in traditional medicine to treat many disorders. Leaves, bark, roots, latex, fruits and seeds contain specific phytochemicals that display bioactivity against many diseases. Indeed, experiments have shown that C. papaya possesses anthelmintic, antiprotozoan, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, hypoglycaemic and hypolipidaemic, wound healing, antitumour, free-radical scavenging, antisickling, neuroprotective, diuretic, abortifacient, and antifertility activities. It has been reported to prevent or cure cancers, ulcers, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders such as type-2 diabetes and obesity. It also shows bioactivity against many infectious diseases, including dengue fever and malaria, helminthic and fungal diseases. Extracts from leaves and fruits are rich in carotenoids (lycopene, β‑carotene, β‑cryptoxanthin), flavonols (quercetin, kaempferol), hydroxycinnamic acids (ferulic, protocatechuic, caffeic, and p-coumaric acids), procyanidins and also contain sulfur-containing glucosinolates (benzyl glucosinolate, benzyl isothiocyanate) and papain enzymes in the latex. The fruit mesocarp contains one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C amongst tropical fruits, which could explain part of its beneficial effects on health. Interestingly, papaya fruit has been shown to modulate the gut microbiota and reduce phyla associated with dysbiosis and gut inflammatory insults. This review will thus present an overview of the biological activity of papaya and will focus especially on new modes of actions against diseases.
Desjardins, Y. (2019). Health effects and potential mode of action of papaya (Carica papaya L.) bioactive chemicals. Acta Hortic. 1250, 197-208
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1250.28
phytochemicals, antioxidants, chronic diseases, inflammation, diabetes, obesity, microbiota

Acta Horticulturae