Papaya, or papain, is a sweet fruit that grows native to the American tropics. A 2010 study published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” found papaya leaf to be potentially beneficial in the treatment of various diseases ranging from allergic disorders to cancer. If you are lucky enough to live close to a fresh supply of papaya leaves, you can easily utilise their health benefits and enjoy their taste by drying the leaves for use in tea.
Dry the leaves naturally. Gather bunches of about six papaya leaves together, secure them with string and hang the bunches in a cool, dark, dry place to air dry. Depending on the location's ambient temperature, this may take several weeks. Ensure that the leaves are not moist before you begin, as moisture can create mildew, meaning the leaves will rot rather than dry.
Dry them in the oven. For quicker drying, place as many leaves as will fit on a baking tray and set the tray into an oven preheated to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Evaluate the leaves after ten minutes and check on them regularly every following 10 minutes until they reach the desired dryness level. You want the leaves to be dry and brittle but not burnt.
Dry the leaves in the microwave. For ultimate speed, place a bunch of papaya leaves on a plate in the microwave on the "Low" power setting. Check for doneness after two or three minutes.
Utilise the leaves for tea. Crush the dried leaves with your hands to crumble them and either place the loose tea in a tea ball or make your own tea bags by filling muslin drawstring bags. Alternatively, prepare the tea the old-fashioned way by simply pouring boiling water over a teaspoon of dry leaves. The leaves will float to the top initially, but will soon sink back to the bottom.
- “Journal of Ethnopharmacology”; Aqeous Extract of Carica Papaya Leaves Exhibits Anti-Tumor Activity and Immunomodulatory Effects; Otsuki et al; 2010
- “American Journal of Health”; Potential Interactions – Alternative Therapies and Warfarin: Documented Reports of Possible Herb-Warfarin Interactions; Heck et al; 2000