Skip to main content

Therapeutic application of Carica papaya leaf extract in the management of human diseases



Papaya (Carica papaya Linn.) belongs to the family Caricaceae and is well known for its therapeutic and nutritional properties all over the world. The different parts of the papaya plant have been used since ancient times for its therapeutic applications. Herein, we aimed to review the anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and antiviral activities of papaya leaf.


All information presented in this review article regarding the therapeutic application of Carica papaya leaf extract has been acquired by approaching various electronic databases, including Scopus, Google scholar, Web of science, and PubMed. The keywords Carica papaya, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and phytochemicals were explored until December 2019.


The papaya plant, including fruit, leaf, seed, bark, latex, and their ingredients play a major role in the management of disease progression. Carica papaya leaf contains active components such as alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, saponins, and flavonoids, which are responsible for its medicinal activity. Additionally, the leaf juice of papaya increases the platelet counts in people suffering from dengue fever.


The major findings revealed that papaya leaf extract has strong medicinal properties such as antibacterial, antiviral, antitumor, hypoglycaemic and anti-inflammatory activity. Furthermore, clinical trials are needed to explore the medicative potential of papaya leaf.

Graphical abstract showing the medicinal properties of Carica papaya leaf

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    Tripathi L, Tripathi JN. Role of biotechnology in medicinal plants. Trop J Pharm Res. 2003;2(2):243–53.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Jain SK. Ethnobotany and research in medicinal plants in India. Ethnobot Search New Drugs. 1994;185:153–68.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Wang MW, Hao X, Chen K. Biological screening of natural products and drug innovation in China. Philos Trans R SocLond B Biol Sci. 2007;362(1482):1093–105.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Aravind G, Bhowmik D, Duraivel S, Harish G. Traditional and medicinal uses of Carica papaya. J Med Plants Stud. 2013;1(1):7–15.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Owoyele BV, Adebukola OM, Funmilayo AA, Soladoye AO. Anti-inflammatory activities of ethanolic extract of Carica papaya leaves. Inflammopharmacol. 2008;16(4):168–73.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Vij T, Prashar Y. A review on medicinal properties of Carica papaya Linn. Asian Pac J Trop Dis. 2015;5(1):1–6.

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Leader B, Baca QJ, Golan DE. Protein therapeutics: a summary and pharmacological classification. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2008;7(1):21–39.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Tang CS. Benzyl isothiocyanate of papaya fruit. Phytochemistry. 1971;10(1):117–21.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Krishna KL, Paridhavi M, Patel JA. Review on nutritional, medicinal and pharmacological properties of papaya (Carica papaya Linn.). Nat Prod Radiance. 2008;7(4):364–73.

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Wall MM. Ascorbic acid, vitamin a, and mineral composition of banana (Musa sp.) and papaya (Carica papaya) cultivars grown in Hawaii. J Food Compos Anal. 2006;19(5):434–45.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Rahmani AH, Aldebasi YH. Potential role of carica papaya and their active constituents in the prevention and treatment of diseases. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2016;8(1):11–5.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Paul BI, Nasreen MA, Sarker AN, Islam MR. Isolation, purification and modification of papain enzyme to ascertain industrially valuable nature. Int J Biotechnol Res. 2013;3(5):11–22.

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Patil T, Patil S, Patil A, Patil S. Carica papaya leaf extracts–an Ethnomedicinal boon. Int J Pharmacogn Phytochem Res. 2014;6(2):260–5.

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Hu T, Guo YY, Zhou QF, Zhong XK, Zhu L, Piao JH, et al. Optimization of ultrasonic-assisted extraction of total saponins from Ecliptaprostrasta L. using response surface methodology. J Food Sci. 2012;77(9):C975–82.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Longdet IY, Adoga EA. Effect of methanolic leaf extract of Carica papaya on plasmodium berghei infection in albino mice. Eur J Med Plants. 2017;20(1):1–7.

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Saran PL, Choudhary R. Drug bioavailability and traditional medicaments of commercially available papaya: a review. Afr J Agric Res. 2013;8(25):3216–23.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Bamisaye FA, Ajani EO, Minari JB. Prospects of ethnobotanical uses of pawpaw (Carica papaya). J Med Plants. 2013;1(4):171–7.

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Sarala N, Paknikar SS. Papaya extract to treat dengue: a novel therapeutic option?.Ann Med Health Sci Res. 2014;4(3):320–4.

  19. 19.

    Otsuki N, Dang NH, Kumagai E, Kondo A, Iwata S, Morimoto C. Aqueous extract of Carica papaya leaves exhibits anti-tumor activity and immunomodulatory effects. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;127(3):760–7.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Seigler DS, Pauli GF, Nahrstedt A, Leen R. Cyanogenicallosides and glucosides from Passifloraedulis and Carica papaya. Phytochemistry. 2002;60(8):873–82.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Hadadi SA, Li H, Rafie R, Kaseloo P, Witiak SM, Siddiqui RA. Anti-oxidation properties of leaves, skin, pulp, and seeds extracts from green papaya and their anti-cancer activities in breast cancer cells. J Cancer Metastasis Treat. 2018;4:25.

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Liew SY, Stanbridge EJ, Yusoff K, Shafee N. Hypoxia affects cellular responses to plant extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012;144(2):453–6.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Saranya V, Malathi N. Evidence-based review on anticancer effects of commonly used herbs. J AdvClin Res Insights. 2014;1(2):73–7.

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Webb LJ. The use of plant medicines and poisons by Australian aborigines. Aust J Anthropol. 1969;7(2):137–46.

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Nugroho A, Heryani H, Choi JS, Park HJ. Identification and quantification of flavonoids in Carica papaya leaf and peroxynitrite-scavenging activity. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2017;7(3):208–13.

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Rumiyati S. Effect of the protein fraction of Carica papaya L. leaves on the expressions of P53 and BCL-2 in breast cancer cells line. Maj Farm Indones. 2006;17:170–6.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Singh SP, Kumar S, Tomar MS, Singh RK, Verma PK, Kumar A, et al. Aqueous extract of Carica papaya leaf elicits the production of TNF-α and modulates the expression of cell surface receptors in tumor-associated macrophages. Biosc Biotech Res. 2019;4:1115–22.

    Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Salim E, Kumolosasi E, Jantan I. Inhibitory effect of selected medicinal plants on the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. J Nat Med. 2014;68(3):647–53.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Siddique O, Sundus A, Ibrahim MF. Effects of papaya leaves on thrombocyte counts in dengue--a case report. JPMA J Pak Med Assoc. 2014;64(3):364–6.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Norahmad NA, Razak MR, Misnan NM, Jelas NH, Sastu UR, Muhammad A, et al. Effect of freeze-dried Carica papaya leaf juice on inflammatory cytokines production during dengue virus infection in AG129 mice. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019;19(44):1–10.

    Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Juárez-Rojop IE, Díaz-Zagoya JC, Ble-Castillo JL, Miranda-Osorio PH, Castell-Rodríguez AE, Tovilla-Zárate CA, et al. Hypoglycemic effect of Carica papaya leaves in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012;12(1):236.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Society AC. Cancer facts & figures. Am Cancer Soc. 2016.

  33. 33.

    Weaver BA. How Taxol/paclitaxel kills cancer cells. Mol Biol Cell. 2014;25(18):2677–81.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Caruso M, Colombo AL, Fedeli L, Pavesi A, Quaroni S, Saracchi M, et al. Isolation of endophytic fungi and actinomycetestaxane producers. Annales de Microbiologie. 2000;50(1):3–13.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Patra CR, Mukherjee S, Kotcherlakota R. Biosynthesized silver nanoparticles: a step forward for cancer theranostics. Nanomed. 2014;9(10):1445–8.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Chua LK, Lim CL, Ling AP, Chye SM, Koh RY. Anticancer potential of Syzygium species: a review. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2019;74(1):18–27.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Singh S, Sharma B, Kanwar SS, Kumar A. Lead phytochemicals for anticancer drug development. Front Plant Sci. 2016;7:1–13.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Rasmann S, Agrawal AA. Latitudinal patterns in plant defense: evolution of cardenolides, their toxicity and induction following herbivory. Ecol Lett. 2011;14(5):476–83.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    C Morimoto, N Dang, inventors; Dang Nam H, assignee. Compositions for cancer prevention, treatment, or amelioration comprising papaya extract. United States patent application US 11/631,655. 2008.

  40. 40.

    Nguyen TT, Parat MO, Hodson MP, Pan J, Shaw PN, Hewavitharana AK. Chemical characterization and in vitro cytotoxicity on squamous cell carcinoma cells of Carica papaya leaf extracts. Toxins. 2016;8(1):1–11.

    Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Nguyen TT, Parat MO, Shaw PN, Hewavitharana AK, Hodson MP. Traditional aboriginal preparation alters the chemical profile of Carica papaya leaves and impacts on cytotoxicity towards human squamous cell carcinoma. PLoS One. 2016;11(2):1–15.

    Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Pandey S, Walpole C, Cabot PJ, Shaw PN, Batra J, Hewavitharana AK. Selective anti-proliferative activities of Carica papaya leaf juice extracts against prostate cancer. Biomed Pharmacother. 2017;89:515–23.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Bouayed J, Hoffmann L, Bohn T. Total phenolics, flavonoids, anthocyanins and antioxidant activity following simulated gastro-intestinal digestion and dialysis of apple varieties: bioaccessibility and potential uptake. Food Chem. 2011;128(1):14–21.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    SP Singh, SV Mathan, A Dheeraj, D Tailor, RP Singh, A Acharya. Anticancer effects and associated molecular changes of Carica papaya against prostate cancer. AACR; Cancer Res. 2019; 79(13): Abstract nr 3004.

  45. 45.

    Cragg GM, Newman DJ. Plants as a source of anti-cancer agents. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;100(1–2):72–9.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Rumiyati S. Effect of the protein fraction of Carica papaya L. leaves on the expressions of P53 and BCL-2 in breast cancer cells line. Maj FarmIndones. 2006;17:170–6.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  47. 47.

    Fauziya S, Krishnamurthy R. Papaya (Carica papaya): source material for anticancer. CIBTech J Pharm Sci. 2013;2(1):25–34.

    Google Scholar 

  48. 48.

    Nguyen TT, Shaw PN, Parat MO, Hewavitharana AK. Anticancer activity of Carica papaya: a review. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013;57(1):153–64.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  49. 49.

    Ismail Z, Halim SZ, Abdullah NR, Afzan A, Rashid A, Amini B, et al. Safety evaluation of Oral toxicity of Carica papaya Linn. Leaves: a subchronic toxicity study in Sprague Dawley rats Evid Based Complement. 2014;2014:1–10.

    Google Scholar 

  50. 50.

    Halim SZ, Abdullah NR, Afzan A, Rashid BA, Jantan I, Ismail Z. Acute toxicity study of Carica papaya leaf extract in Sprague Dawley rats. J Med Plant Res. 2011;5(10):1867–72.

    Google Scholar 

  51. 51.

    Cooper CR, McLean L, Walsh M, Taylor J, Hayasaka S, Bhatia J, et al. Preferential adhesion of prostate cancer cells to bone is mediated by binding to bone marrow endothelial cells as compared to extracellular matrix components in vitro. Clin Cancer Res. 2000;6(12):4839–47.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  52. 52.

    Maniyar Y, Bhixavatimath P. Antihyperglycemic and hypolipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Carica papaya Linn. Leaves in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2012;3(2):70–4.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  53. 53.

    Imaga NA, Gbenle GO, Okochi VI, Adenekan S, Duro-Emmanuel T, Oyeniyi B, et al. Phytochemical and antioxidant nutrient constituents of Carica papaya and Parquetinanigrescens extracts. Sci Res Essays. 2010;5(16):2201–5.

    Google Scholar 

  54. 54.

    Gurung S, Škalko-Basnet N. Wound healing properties of Carica papaya latex: in vivo evaluation in mice burn model. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009;121(2):338–41.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  55. 55.

    Anjum V, Arora P, Ansari SH, Najmi AK, Ahmad S. Antithrombocytopenic and immunomodulatory potential of metabolically characterized aqueous extract of Carica papaya leaves. Pharm Biol. 2017;55(1):2043–56.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  56. 56.

    Foulds KE, Wu CY, Seder RA. Th1 memory: implications for vaccine development. Immunol Rev. 2006;211(1):58–6.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  57. 57.

    Baxevanis CN, Voutsas IF, Tsitsilonis OE, Gritzapis AD, Sotiriadou R, Papamichail M. Tumor-specific CD4+ T lymphocytes from cancer patients are required for optimal induction of cytotoxic T cells against the autologous tumor. J Immunol. 2000;164(7):3902–12.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  58. 58.

    Pandey S, Cabot PJ, Shaw PN, Hewavitharana AK. Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties of Carica papaya. J Immuno toxicol. 2016;13(4):590–602.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  59. 59.

    Sagnia B, Fedeli D, Casetti R, Montesano C, Falcioni G, Colizzi V. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of extracts from Cassia alata, Eleusine indica, Eremomastax speciosa, Carica papaya and Polyscias fulva medicinal plants collected in Cameroon. PLoS One. 2014;9(8):1–10.

    Google Scholar 

  60. 60.

    Lee KH, Padzil AM, Syahida A, Abdullah N, Zuhainis SW, Maziah M, Sulaiman MR, Israf DA, Shaari K, Lajis NH. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antinociceptive activities of six Malaysian medicinal plants. J Med Plant Res 2011 Oct 23;5(23):5555–5563.

  61. 61.

    Sadek KM. Antioxidant and immunostimulant effect of Carica papaya Linn. Aqueous extract in acrylamide intoxicated rats. Acta Inform Med. 2012;20(3):180–5.

    Google Scholar 

  62. 62.

    Dharmarathna SL, Wickramasinghe S, Waduge RN, Rajapakse RP, Kularatne SA. Does Carica papaya leaf-extract increase the platelet count? An experimental study in a murine model. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2013;3(9):720–4.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  63. 63.

    Ahmad N, Fazal H, Ayaz M, Abbasi BH, Mohammad I, Fazal L. Dengue fever treatment with Carica papaya leaves extracts. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2011;1(4):330–3.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  64. 64.

    Yunita F, Hanani E, Kristianto J. The effect of Carica papaya L. leaves extract capsules on platelets count and hematocrit level in dengue fever patient. Int J Med Aromat Plants. 2012;2(4):573–8.

    Google Scholar 

  65. 65.

    Subenthiran S, Choon TC, Cheong KC, Thayan R, Teck MB, Muniandy PK, et al. Carica papaya leaves juice significantly accelerates the rate of increase in platelet count among patients with dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:1–7.

    Google Scholar 

  66. 66.

    Gammulle A, Ratnasooriya WD, Jayakody JR, Fernando C, Kanatiwela C, Udagama PV. Thrombocytosis and anti-inflammatory properties and toxicological evaluation of Carica papaya mature leaf concentrate in a murine model. Online Int J Med Plant Res. 2012;1(2):21–30.

    Google Scholar 

  67. 67.

    Oishi K, Saito M, Mapua CA, Natividad FF. Dengue illness: clinical features and pathogenesis. J Infect Chemother. 2007;13(3):125–33.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  68. 68.

    Kala CP. Leaf juice of Carica papaya L. a remedy of dengue fever. Med Aromat Plants. 2012;1(6):1–2.

    Google Scholar 

  69. 69.

    Srikanth BK, Reddy L, Biradar S, Shamanna M, Mariguddi DD, Krishnakumar M. An open-label, randomized prospective study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Carica papaya leaf extract for thrombocytopenia associated with dengue fever in pediatric subjects. Pediatric Health Med Ther. 2019;10:5–11.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  70. 70.

    Srikiatkhachorn A. Plasma leakage in dengue haemorrhagic fever. Thromb Haemost. 2009;102(12):1042–9.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  71. 71.

    Ranasinghe P, Ranasinghe P, Abeysekera WK, Premakumara GS, Perera YS, Gurugama P, et al. In vitro erythrocyte membrane stabilization properties of Carica papaya L. leaf extracts. Pharmacogn. Res. 2012;4(4):196–202.

    Google Scholar 

  72. 72.

    Sharma N, Mishra KP, Chanda S, Bhardwaj V, Tanwar H, Ganju L, et al. Evaluation of anti-dengue activity of Carica papaya aqueous leaf extract and its role in platelet augmentation. Arch Virol. 2019;164(4):1095–110.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  73. 73.

    Pandey SK, Sharma V. World diabetes day 2018: battling the emerging epidemic of diabetic retinopathy. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2018;66(11):1652–3.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  74. 74.

    Gupta M, Prabhu K, Parijatham BO, Kalaiselvi VS, Rajendran SM, Rose J. Prevalence of diabetes mellitus in South India: a retro spective analysis. JIMSA. 2012;25(4):239–40.

    Google Scholar 

  75. 75.

    Fakeye TO, Oladipupo T, Showande O, Ogunremi Y. Effects of coadministration of extract of Carica papaya Linn (family Cariaceae) on activity of two oral hypoglycemic agents. Trop J Pharm Res. 2007;6(1):671–8.

    Google Scholar 

  76. 76.

    Aruoma OI, Somanah J, Bourdon E, Rondeau P, Bahorun T. Diabetes as a risk factor to cancer: functional role of fermented papaya preparation as phytonutraceutical adjunct in the treatment of diabetes and cancer. Mutat Res. 2014;768:60–8.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  77. 77.

    Gardner RV. Sickle cell disease: advances in treatment. Ochsner J. 2018;18(4):377–89.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  78. 78.

    Ambe JP, Mava Y, Chama R, Farouq G, Machoko Y. Clinical features of sickle cell anaemia in northern nigerian children. West Afr J Med. 2012;31(2):81–5.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  79. 79.

    Imaga NO, Gbenle GO, Okochi VI, Akanbi SO, Edeoghon SO, Oigbochie V, et al. Antisickling property of Carica papaya leaf extract. Afr J Biochem Res. 2009;3(4):102–6.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  80. 80.

    Nurain IO, Bewaji CO, Johnson JS, Davenport RD, Zhang Y. Potential of three Ethnomedicinal plants as Antisickling agents. Mol Pharm. 2017;14(1):172–82.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  81. 81.

    Suresh K. Antimicrobial and phytochemical investigation of the leaves of Carica papaya L., Cynodondactylon (L.) Pers., Euphorbia hirta L., Meliaazedarach L. and Psidiumguajava L. Ethnobot Leaflets. 2008;12:1184–91.

    Google Scholar 

  82. 82.

    Nirosha N, Mangalanayaki R. Antibacterial activity of leaves and stem extract of Carica papaya L. Int J Adv Pharm Biol Chem. 2013;2(3):473–6.

    Google Scholar 

  83. 83.

    Baskaran C, Velu S, Kumaran K. The efficacy of Carica papaya leaf extract on some bacterial and a fungal strain by well diffusion method. Asian Pac J Trop Dis. 2012;2:S658–62.

    Google Scholar 

  84. 84.

    Tewari BB, Subramanian G, Gomathinayagm R. Antimicrobial properties of Carica papaya (papaya) different leaf extract against E. coli, S. aureus and C. albicans. Am J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2014;1(1):025–39.

    Google Scholar 

  85. 85.

    Odo CE, Odo AI. Ethanol extract of the leaves of Carica papaya affords protection against aspirin-induced gastric ulcer in rats. J Pharm Res. 2017;11(8):1025–9.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  86. 86.

    Indran M, Mahmood AA, Kuppusamy UR. Protective effect of Carica papaya L leaf extract against alcohol induced acute gastric damage and blood oxidative stress in rats. W Indian Med J. 2008;57(4):323–6.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


The Preparation of this review was financial supported by ICMR; Government of India to Surya Pratap Singh in the form of SRF (No.45/18/2018/BMS/TRM) is greatly acknowledged.

Author information



Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Rana P. Singh or Arbind Acharya.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Singh, S.P., Kumar, S., Mathan, S.V. et al. Therapeutic application of Carica papaya leaf extract in the management of human diseases. DARU J Pharm Sci 28, 735–744 (2020).

Download citation


  • Carica papaya. Anticancer. Anti-inflammatory. Immunomodulatory. Phytochemical