Also known as PAWPAW, this word probably derived from the Spanish language, the fruit having incredible health benefits and a variety of uses.
It grows well in subtropical regions and parts of South Africa; there being around 22 different species. It is thought that the fruit was first discovered by the local inhabitants in Panama, around the 16th century and the fruit was used to treat rashes, burns, warts, and ringworm. Much later the Spaniards took seeds to the Philippines. In Asia, the green leaves were boiled to create a tea to fight malaria and in some regions, pickles and spices were added to create achar.
Three sexes exist namely male, female, and hermaphrodite; the latter being the pollinator of the others. The Pawpaw is not considered a tree but an herbaceous plant as it lacks woody tissue.
The incredible health offered is a result of a range of vitamins, potassium, flavonoids, and anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. The unripe ones exude a milky juice named papain. Pharmaceutically, this is used in remedies to speed up digestion and in the manufacture of preparations to tenderize meat.
On the whole, many people consider the pips useless, scoop them out of the inner fruit and discard them.
However, these black seeds actually have endless uses and if to be used at home they should be rinsed, dried, and then crushed well – such is the knowledge from certain websites. However, it now states that both the pips and pawpaw skins are toxic to humans and animals and can wreak havoc on the digestive system therefore you have been warned !!
To add some “zing” the ripe fruit can be sprinkled with nutmeg, ginger, or allspice, and in addition, combining fruits, papaya marries well with pineapples and bananas.
From a beauty perspective, mashed pawpaw flesh is marvelous in a face mask adding a little yogurt, a teaspoon of honey, a dash of vanilla essence, and good old fullers earth for that binding action.
The old saying that nature knows best is certainly relevant in this content.