Indigenous healers from South America, Africa and Asia have known about enzyme-rich fruit for hundreds of years. Pineapple and papaya share a long history as healing plants.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain. For centuries, indigenous people have known that the highest enzyme concentrations are in the leaves of the pineapple and in the stalk of the unripe fruit. Caribbean natives apply the unripe pineapple and leaf paste on dislocated joints and sprained limbs to accelerate the healing process. Eating unripe pineapple works as a diuretic and laxative. It also helps in menstrual cycles and kills stomach worms. Ripe pineapple, on the other hand, encourages peristalsis (digestion) and has a more general and mild detoxifying effect. The fruit has similar uses in Malaysia and East India Islands, where pineapple is also used to treat throat and larynx inflammations and edema.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain. Similarly to pineapple, papaya’s highest enzyme content is located in the less-palatable areas of the unripe fruit, such as the latex in its skin. Already in the beginning of the 16th century, the bishop in the Yucatan, Diego de Landa, reported that unripe papaya skin had the necessary properties to cure diarrhea, asthma and to clean out the digestive system. In Southeast Nigeria, digestion and menstrual disorders are also treated with unripe papaya. Amazon-native Yunani-medicine uses papaya to support kidney function, treat inflammation, skin problems, obesity and hemorrhoids, among others. In China, papaya has even been called “Long-life fruit”.