Does Eating Papaya Seeds Really Get Rid Of Parasites?

Papaya is a fruit known for its many health benefits. But there may be a reason to munch on the seeds as well. Some science suggests that papaya seeds may help remove parasites from the body. Parasites are organisms that feed off other organisms. The human body makes a good host for parasites, and they're more common than many people think.

"Most people think that parasitic infections are rare, but they're actually very common, even in the United States, even among people who've never left the country," Robin Foroutan, MS, RDN, HHC, integrative medicine dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Verywell Health. "The idea that parasites are only a problem in underdeveloped countries is entirely flawed."

Without the right treatment, parasites can stay in someone's body for years and cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. It's always a good idea to visit your doctor if you suspect you have a parasite, as they can determine the safest way to remove it. However, there are some popular at-home methods you can try as well.

There is limited research about papaya seeds and parasites

According to Health, a 2007 study is the only evidence available to suggest a link between papaya seeds and parasites. In the study, 60 Nigerian children with intestinal parasites were either given a drink made from dried papaya seeds and honey or told to eat plain honey. Those who ate the papaya seeds were more likely to pass the parasites through their stool. "Air-dried papaya seeds are efficacious in treating human intestinal parasites and without significant side effects," the researchers concluded.

Although that research is promising, it's not enough for doctors to recommend trying it as a cure. "This has not been shown to be effective outside of a clinical trial setting," infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Health.

If you suspect you have a parasite, you should visit a doctor for further testing. Symptoms of parasites include nausea, weakness, loss of appetite, stomach pain, diarrhea, dizziness, salt craving, and weight loss. Visiting a doctor will also either diagnose or rule out other potential health issues that may be causing your symptoms.