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>Papaya, another superfood


Ripe papaya fruits for sale at the entrance of the farm

By Pet Melliza

After the groundbreaking for the Iloilo Press Club subdivision at Brgy. San Jose, San Miguel, Iloilo last March 14, columnist Larry Locara invited me to repair to the Red Lady Papaya Farm at Brgy. Jibao-an, Pavia town which was just along  the way back to Iloilo City.

The three-hectare papaya plantation yields five tons of mature fruits weekly which are sold in the local market. A stall at the entrance displays and sells the ripening fruits. At P25 per kilo farmgate price, the weekly harvest more or less yields P125,000.

The farm, owned by Gerard Camiña, Western Visayas director of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), was established last year in the midst of a long and severe dry spell.

Farm manager Nelson Velez with this writer
Nelson Velez, the manager, designed a windmill that pumped water into two lines of fiberglass barrels on an eight-foot high platform. 

With that, he irrigates the farm, a former rice rice field that he lined with ditches between rows of papaya hills. 

In an earlier opinion, I have written about camias or iba, as a “superfood”; it is not only nutritious, it also heals. We can speak similarly of papaya.

It is valued not only for it sweetness and succulence. It can be processed into pickels and candies. It is a perfect pair with native chicken cooked into a broth with lemon grass.It is also known for its nutritional properties that enhance skin tone, nutrition and one’s health in general. 

Hector Velez, an employee at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, vouches that his two daughters recovered fast, just overnight, from a lingering fever. 

At the warehouse, workers preparing papaya fruits for transport
“For days, my daughters were ill and I was worried because the medicines prescribed by the doctor didn’t work,” he recalls. It was deep in the night so he decided to take his kids to the hospital the next morning. 

But the next morning he saw the children sitting at the living room watching television. “I scolded them to go back to bed but they insisted they were already cured. I could not believe it.”

What he did was, he gathered fresh papaya leaves, preferably mature ones, pounded them to pulp, and extracted the juice. He gave his kids two table spoons of papaya juice.

Antonio Demavivas, a businessman at Pavia town, Iloilo, attests that it was also the same procedure that worked to cure his niece from dengue two years ago. She was hospitalized and weakening, her fever rising high after a brief interlude of lower temperature.

Still at the warehouse. Freshly picked fruits kept in shelves for
drying after being cleaned
He informed his friend, Alex Centena, who managed his own papaya farm at Calinog town, Iloilo, some 40 kilometers away from Pavia and 60 kilometers north of the provincial capital Iloilo City. The latter asked him to come over to help extract papaya juice from the leaves. They collected about 12 ounces of juice that he brought to the hospital where his niece was confined. 

Two days after, the child was discharged already healed. Alex Centena is now mayor of Calinog town and never stops preaching on the power of papaya extracts to cure dengue. 

Hospitals run by the Iloilo Provincial Government were overcrowded during the dengue epidemic. Corridors lined with patients lying on foam mats. Management, as policy, discharged patients who showed substantial signs of recovery to de-congest the facilities and accommodate new cases. 

Workers transporting newly picked fruits from the field
The doctors did not endorse herbal medicines but neither objected to caretakers applying papaya extracts to their patients inside public infirmaries.

From a visit at http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com, yours truly is able to gather the following, and to quote the source the source en toto:

“Papaya Health benefits 

The papaya is an amazingly rich source of the proteolytic enzymes. These are the chemicals that enable the digestion of protein. Papain, which is the most important of these enzymes in the papaya, is extracted and dried as a powder for use to aid the digestion, and it is often used as a meat tenderizer, the enzyme partially breaking down the meat fibres – digesting them in fact. 

Many experts, such as Dr Lytton-Bernard, have claimed rejuvenating properties for papaya, especially for the control of premature ageing. It may be that it works simply because a poor digestion leaves the body without the correct nutrients. Those who find it almost impossible to digest anything frequently find that papaya used regularly, either in tablet or juice form, marks the turning point in the climb back to vitality and good health.  

As a cleanser you can take a quarter pint (150ml) of papaya juice alternated each hour for twelve hours by the same amount of cucumber or green bean juice. Papaya loses some of the enzymes as it ripens, so if you have the choice select them green. They are easy to obtain in most parts of America but are not found in British greengrocers very often. Fortunately there has been a rapid expansion in the numbers of specialist shops providing for the needs of the Indian and West Indian communities where papayas can be bought.  

Papaya contains arginine which is known to be essential for male fertility and also carpain, an enzyme thought to be good for the heart. Fibrin also occurs and this substance is not commonly found in the plant kingdom; in man it forms part of the blood clotting process. The papaya is an excellent source of vitamin C, with 82mg per 100g (4oz), and is rich in carotene. After treatment with antibiotics the use of papaya juice will quickly assist the restoration of the normal bacteria in the gut which will have been destroyed by the treatment. Papaya is good for many digestive disorders and is excellent for improving poor digestion. It has also been recommended as part of the treatment for cancer. Therapeutically it can often be combined with pineapple juice in which there is another important enzyme. bromelain. 

The skin of the papaya is a first class external treatment for skin wounds and places that do not heal quickly. The pulp from the juicer can be used for this and as a poultice.

We don’t have to look far for imported nutri-ceuticals. They are available around us and cost little. We can grow them right in our backyard. ###


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