Papaya was once considered an exotic fruit. You had to visit a tropical country to find it. Now, fresh papaya can be found in most food markets. You can purchase papaya enzymes in tablet form in health food stores and pharmacies. We always love it when one of our readers stumbles upon a home remedy and shares his success. In this case, though, papaya for heartburn has been appreciated for more than 100 years. Even doctors have reported success with papaya.
Papaya for Heartburn and Indigestion
Q. I’ve found that a couple of slices of ripe papaya calms heartburn. They also provide a little fresh fruit to the diet. Papaya enzyme tablets work, but the fresh papaya is a better choice for me.
A. A doctor first reported the benefits of papain, an enzyme from papaya fruit, for treating heartburn in The British Medical Journal on April 3, 1886. Dr. George Herschell was a physician practicing in London during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was an expert on heartburn. His book, INDIGESTION: The Diagnosis and Treatment of the Functional Derangements of the Stomach, was published in 1905.
Dr. Herschell’s Use of Papaya for Heartburn:
Dr. Herschell noted that powder prepared from the juice of Carica papain (the papaya fruit) was helpful against “acid dyspepsia” (reflux). He characterized papain as “extremely valuable in this form of indigestion.” He went on to describe his experience this way:
“Cases where Severe Gastric Pain coming on Shortly after Eating is the Prominent Symptom—”
“I have tried the drug upon twelve cases of this nature. Complete relief was given in ten, one case was partially relieved, and one completely failed to derive any benefit.”
Papaya for Heartburn: Forgotten by Gastroenterologists:
Sadly, there has been very little well-controlled research regarding papaya for heartburn over the subsequent decades. It would appear that the gastroenterology community pretty much ignored Dr. Herschell’s report in the British Medical Journal.
A few years ago, though, we heard from a reader who reported that chewable papaya enzymes worked “GREAT!”
Another shared that papaya helped him get off Prilosec:
Others Report Papaya for Heartburn is a winner.
Nancy in Spartanburg, SC also had success:
“Thank you, thank you for the papaya enzyme recommendation. I have been taking omeprazole for about 20 years and when I tried to stop, always had to go back to the medicine.
“I take 4 papaya enzyme tables and have started eating papaya fruit. I feel a lot better and am happy to have something to help me get off the omeprazole. Too many bad effects with these medicines.”
CMC had trouble getting off lansoprazole (Prevacid):
“I’ve been taking Prevacid for years. I also have hives. Then I found out that a rash could be a serious side effect of this drug.
“I tried once to stop taking Prevacid with terrible painful results. Then I became aware of papaya enzyme tablets. I started taking them and cutting back on Prevacid. So far so good. I have had a minor recurrence but if I take a few papaya tabs that seems to work.
“I am going to try adding pineapple, ginger tea and apple cider vinegar (if symptoms show up). I will cut back on carbohydrates and lose some extra weight. Thanks for all the great tips. This site is the first time I’ve heard of fennel seed for flatulence.”
A Word of Caution About Papaya for Heartburn:
As long as people are not allergic to papaya, this remedy may be worth a try. Some people with latex allergy are also sensitive to papaya, mango, banana and avocado (Allergy, April, 1997).
Share your own experience with papaya in the comment section below.