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Be careful! Unripe pawpaw won’t cure diabetes, high blood pressure or ulcers as claimed in these Facebook posts

IN SHORT: Some Facebook posts claim that unripe pawpaw can cure ulcers, diabetes and lower blood pressure. However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before trusting this home remedy.

“Unripe pawpaw is a cure for ulcers, high blood pressure and diabetes,” according to a video posted on Facebook on 13 August 2023. 

The video lists a few benefits of eating the fruit, including its “miraculous” ability to cure ulcers, diabetes and lower your blood pressure.

A man in the video instructs users to “chew” the fruit twice a day, in the morning and at night, for three to five days, and says they’ll start to see positive results.

He also urges viewers to share the video so it can reach those who need it because “there’s wonders in God’s creation”.

The same claim can be found here, here and here. These posts also advise users to “Soak Unripe Pawpaw In Cold Water And Drink It”. 

Does unripe pawpaw cure ulcers, diabetes and high blood pressure? We checked.


Seek medical attention instead

Pawpaw, also known as papaya or by its botanical name Carica papaya, contains a range of nutrients, including antioxidants and potassium. Although in its ripe form it is generally regarded as safe, unripe pawpaw contains papain, which can harm the oesophagus.

Papain breaks down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It gets modified in the stomach, which makes it unclear if taking it orally will have any medicinal benefits, according to health news site WebMD. Side effects of eating unripe pawpaw include stomach irritation, vomiting, skin irritation, blisters, bleeding risks and other allergic reactions.

“People use papaya for cancer, diabetes, dengue fever, HPV, and many other conditions, but there's no good scientific evidence to support these uses,” says WebMD.

Africa Check spoke to Dr Moyosore Salihu Ajao, a professor of human anatomy at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria. He said proper tests and clinical evaluation should be carried out before settling for herbal medicines.

He also said that there had been an “outrageous increase” in the use of herbal solutions, and urged people to be cautious of what they took in the name of healing.

There was no scientific proof that unripe pawpaw cured the listed health challenges, Ajao said. 

Since there may be detrimental consequences to eating unripe pawpaw, people are advised to seek medical attention should they suspect that they have ulcer, high blood pressure or diabetes.

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