Back to Africa Check

Powdered papaya leaves and shea butter won't remove a goitre

A mixture of powdered male papaya leaves and shea butter will remove a goitre, claims a message posted on Facebook in Nigeria

Apply morning and evening until the total regression of goiter,” it says.

But will this really work? We checked.


Treatment options depend on cause of the goitre

A goitre is a lump, a painless abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, at the base of the neck. 

It’s usually caused by lack of iodine in the diet. In some cases it may be a temporary problem that goes away without treatment. But for others it may be a sign of a serious thyroid condition that needs medical attention.

The causes and risk factors for a goitre may include iodine deficiency, autoimmune disorders, sex and age – women and people over 40 are more at risk – as well as pregnancy or menopause, and exposure to radiation.

We asked Aihanuwa Eregie, a professor of medicine and endocrinology at the University of Benin in southwestern Nigeria, about the supposed remedy.

“There are different causes of goitre, so scientifically it doesn’t make sense that you just apply something topically, and the goitre goes away,” she said.

“The options are either medical treatment or surgical treatment.”

The British National Health Service advises that with a small goitre causing no problems, the wait and see approach is recommended. But treatment for a goitre depends on the underlying cause.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.