Topical use of papaya in chronic skin ulcer therapy in Jamaica

West Indian Med J. 2000 Mar;49(1):32-3.


The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of the use of the fruit (papaya) of Carica papaya as topical ulcer dressings by registered nurses in the Spanish Town Hospital (STH), Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Jamaica. A ten-item pretested self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 285 randomly selected registered nurses at the UHWI, KPH and STH. There was a 72% response rate. The prevalence of topical papaya use among the respondents was 75%. Comments from the users of papaya suggested that topical application of the unripe fruit promoted desloughing, granulation and healing and reduced odour in chronic skin ulcers. It was cost effective. Papaya was considered to be more effective than other topical applications in the treatment of chronic ulcers. There was some difficulty in preparation of the fruit and occasionally a sensation of burning was reported by the patients. There was concern about the use of a non-sterile, non-standardised procedure but there were no reports of wound infection from its use. Papaya is widely used by nurses as a form of dressing for chronic ulcers and there is need for standardisation of its preparation and application.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Fruit / therapeutic use*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Jamaica
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Random Allocation
  • Skin Ulcer / classification
  • Skin Ulcer / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires