Papaya seeds detoxify the liver easily within a month and increase the appetite mainly in elderly, children and alcoholic patients. Papaya seeds prevent free radical production in the liver cell and easily generate the new cells. Papaya seeds consist of myrosinase (an enzyme), it activates the cytochrome P 450 isoenzyme in the liver. Papaya seed contains papain, it has the ability to dissolve and clean out the dead tissues without altering the activity of the good cells. This traditional therapy has been used for only 3 weeks and restarts again after one week. During this therapy, water intake is approximately 3-4 litres daily.
Papaya being a tropical fruit grows well in the mild sub-tropical regions of the country upto 1,000 m. above sea level. Night temperature below 120-140 C for several hours during winter season affects its growth and production severely. It is very much sensitive to frost, strong winds and water stagnation.Deep, well drained sandy loam soil is ideal for cultivation of papaya.
Papaya is commercially propagated by seed and tissue culture plants. The seed rate is 250-300 g./ha. The seedlings can be raised in nursery beds 3m. long, 1m. wide and 10 cm. high as well as in pots or polythene bags. The seeds after being treated with 0.1% Monosan (phenyl mercuric acetate), ceresan etc. are sown 1 cm. deep in rows 10 cm. apart and covered with fine compost or leaf mould. Light irrigation is provided during the morning hours.
Papaya is planted during spring (February-March), monsoon (June-July) and autumn (October-November).
A spacing of 1.8 x 1.8 m. is normally followed. However higher density cultivation with spacing of 1.5 x 1.5 m./ha enhances the returns to the farmer and is recommended.
The seedlings are planted in pits of 60x60x60 cm. size. In the summer months the pits are dug about a fortnight before planting. The pits are filled with top soil along with 20 kg. of farmyard manure., 1 kg. neem cake and 1 kg. bone meal. Tall and vigorous varieties are planted at greater spacing while medium and dwarf ones at closer spacing.
Papaya plant needs heavy doses of manures and fertilizers. Apart from the basal dose of manures (@ 10 kg./plant) applied in the pits, 200-250 g. each of N, P2O5 and K2O are recommended for getting high yield. Application of 200 g. N is optimum for fruit yield but papain yield increases with increase in N upto 300 g.
Micro-nutrients viz. ZnSO4 (0.5%) and H2 BO3 (0.1%) are sprayed in order to increase growth and yield characters.
The irrigation schedule is fixed on the basis of soil type and weather conditions of the region. Protective irrigation is provided in the first year of planting. During the second year, irrigation is provided at fortnightly interval in winter and at an interval of 10 days in summer. Basin system of irrigation is mostly followed. In areas having low rainfall, sprinkler or drip system can be adopted.
Harvesting and Yield
Fruits are harvested when they are of full size, light green in colour with tinge of yellow at apical end. On ripening, fruits of certain varieties turn yellow while some of them remain green. When the latex ceases to be milky and become watery, the fruits are suitable for harvesting.
The economic life of papaya plant is only 3 to 4 years. The yield varies widely according to variety, soil, climate and management of the orchard.