The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the gastroprotective and healing effects of the methanolic extract of the seed of the papaya Carica papaya L. (MECP) in rats. Models of acute gastric ulcer induction by ethanol and indomethacin and of chronic ulcer by acetic acid were used. The gastric juice and mucus parameters were evaluated using the pylorus ligation model, and the involvement of sulfhydryl compounds (GSH) and nitric oxide in the gastroprotective effect was analyzed using the ethanol model. The toxicity was assessed through toxicity tests. No signs of toxicity were observed when the rats received a single dose of 2000 mg/kg of extract. The MECP in doses of 125, 250, and 500 mg/kg significantly reduced the gastric lesion with 56, 76, and 82 % inhibition, respectively, and a dose of 30 mg/kg lansoprazole showed 79 % inhibition in the ethanol model. MECP (125, 250, 500 mg/kg) and cimetidine (200 mg/kg) reduced the gastric lesion in the indomethacin model, with 62, 67, 81, and 85 % inhibition, respectively. The MECP (500 mg/kg) and cimetidine (200 mg/kg) treatments showed a reduction in ulcerative symptoms induced by acetic acid by 84 and 73 %, respectively. The antiulcerogenic activity seems to involve GSH because the inhibition dropped from 72 to 13 % in the presence of a GSH inhibitor. Moreover, the MECP showed systemic action, increasing the mucus production and decreasing gastric acidity. Treatments with MECP induce gastroprotection without signs of toxicity. This effect seems to involve sulfhydryl compounds, increased mucus, and reduced gastric acidity.