I was hugging the toilet in my hotel room in the middle of Peru, cursing myself for eating popcorn from a street vendor. A local clinic confirmed that I had intestinal parasites, and they prescribed a round of antibiotics that didn’t work right away. So I did some research to see if there are any natural cures for parasites, and I came across a study that suggests papaya seeds and honey have anti-parasitic properties.
I was in luck! On every corner, there was a fruit stand selling papayas and jars of local honey. Although the woman thought it was strange that I bought a whole papaya, removed the seeds with her knife, and returned the fruit, I knew this concoction was my secret weapon. After finishing the antibiotics as well as the seeds and honey over a period of a week, I felt as good as new. Should I blame it on the drugs or the natural remedy? I don’t know, but both can’t hurt!
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the study was led by the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health from the College of Health Sciences at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. The four researchers found that a combination of dried carica papaya seeds, which are plentiful in that region of Africa, as well as a teaspoon of honey for taste, eliminated human intestinal parasitosis in children after just a week’s time.
Papaya seeds have natural anti-amoebic properties. They found 60 Nigerian children who tested positive for intestinal parasites, and gave them a dose of papaya seeds and honey or just honey alone. After seven days, 75% of the kids who were treated with the papaya seeds had no evidence of parasites in their stool samples, while only 15% of those who were treated with just honey were cleared of parasites.
Why is this good news for people traveling in developing countries? Papaya grows in many places where sanitation is not up to par, causing people to be at higher risk for contracting a parasite. Papaya seeds and honey are a cheap, natural way to fight parasites when antibiotics are either too expensive or unavailable.
Read more about the study at the National Center for Biotechnology Information website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17472487