Papaw Seeds

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Papaw Seeds

Botanical Name: Asimina triloba
Family: N.O. Anonaceae

Synonyms: Custard Apple. Uvaria triloba.
Parts Used: Seeds, bark, and leaves.
Habitat: Middle, Southern and Western States, also India, Africa, Asia.

Description: A small beautiful tree, growing up to 20 feet. The young shoots and leaves are at first clothed in a rusty down which soon becomes glabrous. The leaves are thin, smooth, entire, ovate, oblong, acuminate, 8 to 12 inches long by 3 broad, and tapering to very short petioles. Flowers dull purple, axillary, solitary; petals veiny, round, ovate, outer one orbicular, three or four times as large as the calyx. Flowers appear same time as leaves, March to June, and are about 1 1/2 inches wide. Fruit, yellowish ovoid oblong, pulpy pod about 3 inches long and 1 inch diameter, fragrant, sweet, ripe in autumn and contains about eight seeds; before fruit is ripe it has an unpleasant smell and when ripe after frost it is luscious and similar to custard, it is considered healthy to eat, being sedative and laxative; the seeds are the part used; these have a foetid smell like straminium; they are covered with an exterior coat which is tough and hard, light brown colour and smooth externally, wrinkled and lighter inside. It encloses a white kernel, deeply fissured on both sides and compressed, almost scentless slightly bitter and sweet and dry and powdery when chewed; it leaves a faint, persistent, unpleasant sensation of sickness; seeds vary inshape, being flat ovoid, sometimes circular and somewhat reniform, with a depression along the centre of each flat surface, and frequently a ridge in place of the furrow.

Constituents: Fixed oil, a resin, a resin in soluble in ether, glucose and extractive.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Emetic, for which a saturated tincture of the bruised seeds is employed, dose, 10 to 60 drops. The bark is a bitter tonic and is said to contain a powerful acid, the leaves are used as an application to boils and ulcers.

Other Species:
Uvaria Natrum. Root aromatic and fragrant, used in India in intermittent fevers and liver complaints. Bruised in salt water is used as an application to certain skin diseases. A fragrant greenish oil is distilled from it.

U. tripelaloidea. When incised, gives a fragrant gum.

U. febrifuga, so called by the Indians of Orinoco, who use its flowers for fevers.

U. longifolia. A perfume oil is extracted from the flowers in Bourbon and several other species are also fragrant.

U. Zeylandica and U. cordata have edible fruits.