Do Papaya Seeds Kill Parasites?

Do papaya seeds kill parasites? Find out what science says about it in this article.

What are papaya seeds?

The papaya fruit (Carica papaya) is a succulent and slightly sweet fruit of a small tree cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions1,2.

The fruit’s central cavity contains hundreds of black seeds surrounded by mucilage.

Moreover, the seeds are edible and widely consumed by humans and animals in the tropics3.

Health benefits of papaya seeds

Papaya seeds have multiple health benefits, including1,4,5,6,7:

  • Anticancer effects
  • Antibacterial activity
  • Antifungal properties
  • Liver protective effects
  • Anti-inflammatory activity
  • Anti-ulcer properties
  • Cardio-protective effects
  • Anti-diabetic activity

What are intestinal parasites?

Intestinal parasites are organisms that live in the intestine of humans and animals.

They harm their hosts in numerous ways, including depriving them of key nutrients and releasing toxins into their bodies.

13 Best foods that kill parasites in humans.

The most common human intestinal parasites are worms and protozoa8.

How do people get infected with parasites?

People get infected with parasites:

  1. By drinking contaminated water
  2. Through the consumption of contaminated food
  3. By touching contaminated soil, water, feces, or blood
  4. In the mother’s womb through the umbilical cord 9,10,11

Do papaya seeds kill parasites?

Do papaya seeds kill parasites? Here is what science says about it.

Papaya seeds kill Ascaris in humans

Ascaris lumbricoides is a large intestinal roundworm.

It is the most common parasitic worm in humans.

Ascaris male and female worms
Ascaris male and female worms

A study involving 326 children showed that daily maize porridge fortified with papaya seeds reduced Ascaris lumbricoides egg count by 63,9% after two months6.

A reduction of parasitic eggs is linked to the destruction of mature worms12.

By contrast, maize porridge alone did not reduce the number of Ascaris eggs. On the contrary, it slightly increased it6.

Papaya seeds and honey kill parasites in humans

A study comprising 60 children with intestinal parasites reported that dried papaya seeds and honey killed various parasites in addition to Ascaris (Ascaris lumbricoides)3.

Honey alone also eliminated parasites as it has anti-parasitic properties, however, at a much smaller scale.

Papaya seeds and honey killed the following parasites3:

1. Amebas (protozoa)

Entamoeba histolytica is a parasitic ameba found in tropical climates.

Amebas are single-celled micro-organisms that move and eat using pseudopods.

Entamoeba histolytica in the blood.

Entamoeba histolytica can infect the large intestine in humans, causing amebic dysentery (amebiasis).

2. Hookworms

Necator americanus is a species of hookworm found in temperate and tropical climates.


It is a parasitic roundworm that lives in the human intestine.

3. Strongyloides

Strongyloides stercoralis are tiny parasitic roundworms.

Strongyloides stercoralis

They live deeply inserted in the mucosa of the human small intestine.

4. Whipworms

Trichuris trichiura is a parasitic roundworm that looks like a whip at its posterior end.

Trichuris trichiura

It infects the human large intestine.

5. Giardia (protozoa)

Giardia lamblia is a flagellated protozoan parasite.

Giardia lamblia (Giardia intestinalis)

It colonizes the human small intestine causing a diarrheal disease known as giardiasis.

6. Tapeworms

Taenia saginata is a tapeworm (a flat ribbon-like worm) that infects the intestine of humans and cattle.

Taenia saginata

Humans get contaminated by eating undercooked beef.

Related: 13 Best Foods That Kill Parasites In Humans

Papaya seeds kill parasites in animals

Research has revealed that papaya seeds also kill parasites in animals.

These parasites include2,12,13,14,15,16,17:

  • Ascaridia
  • Cooperia
  • Eimeria
  • Haemochus contortus
  • Heterakis
  • Ichthyophthirius multifiliis
  • Oesophagostomum
  • Syngamus
  • Trichostrongylus
  • Trypanosoma cruzi

The mechanism of action

A study reported that benzyl isothiocyanate, a sulfur-containing-chemical found in papaya seeds, is the main bioactive principle that kills parasitic worms4,5,12,18.

Papaya seeds also contain papain, a protein-digesting enzyme with a similar digestive action to the human enzyme pepsin7,12.

Researchers believe that benzyl isothiocyanate paralyzes parasites and reduces their energy metabolism, while papain destroys their cuticles or membranes5,7,12.

Furthermore, fatty acids in the papaya seeds also reduce the number of intestinal parasites2,7.

Related: 7 Foods To Avoid With Parasites

How long does it take for papaya seeds to kill parasites?

A study compared the activity of papaya and pumpkin seeds against adult worms1.

It showed that papaya seeds were faster in inducing paralysis of the worms and killing the parasites than pumpkin seeds1.

TreatmentTime for
Time for
Pumpkin seeds1.934.90
Papaya seeds1.883.45
(Reference drug)

Related: Pumpkin Seeds For Intestinal Parasites

How many papaya seeds does it take to get rid of parasites?

A study showed that 4 g of blended papaya seeds mixed with honey cleared 70-100% of protozoa and worms within seven days in children3.

How to eat papaya seeds for parasites

Here is how to eat papaya seeds for parasites:

  1. Air dry the papaya seeds
  2. Machine-blend the seeds
  3. Mix 4 g of the powder with 20 ml of honey or 300 ml of porridge
  4. Take the mixture daily for three weeks

Related: An Easy Way To Know If You Have Liver Flukes

Side effects

Papaya seeds can cause transient side effects, such as nausea or loose stools3.

These side effects are due to the release of toxins in your body when the parasites die off. However, they disappear over time.

It is noteworthy that papaya seeds have abortive and anti-fertility effects in women and men due to benzyl isothiocyanate1,4,5.

Related: How To Get Rid Of Liver Flukes Naturally

Summary: Do papaya seeds kill parasites?

Papaya seeds are black and shiny seeds present in the central cavity of the papaya fruit.

They are edible and have numerous health benefits.

Do they kill parasites?

Research has reported that papaya seeds kill multiple parasites both in humans and animals.

However, women and men should not consume them when trying to conceive, as they have contraceptive effects.

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