Papain is an enzyme found in the white fluid (latex) that occurs in raw papaya fruit. It is a protease, meaning it breaks down proteins.

Papain contains substances that might help fight infection and heal wounds.

People use papain for dental cavities, shingles, parasite infections, jellyfish stings, wound healing, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Don't confuse papain with papaya or American pawpaw. These are not the same. Also don't confuse papain with other proteolytic enzymes (proteases).
When taken by mouth: Papain is commonly consumed in foods. It is possibly safe when taken as medicine in doses up to 1200 mg daily for up to 9 weeks. But taking very large amounts of papain is possibly unsafe. Very large doses might cause severe throat and stomach damage.

When applied to the skin: A solution of papain is possibly safe when used for up to 20 minutes. But applying raw papain or raw papaya fruit to the skin is possibly unsafe. Skin contact with raw papain can cause irritation and skin blisters.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Taking papain by mouth during pregnancy is possibly unsafe. It might cause birth defects or miscarriage.

Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if papain is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Allergy to fig or kiwi fruit: People who are allergic to fig and kiwi might also be allergic to papain.


There is interest in using papain for a number of purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

Papain has most often been used by adults in combination with other ingredients at a dose of 1200 mg by mouth daily for up to 10 weeks. It's also been applied to the skin in a solution. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Warfarin is used to slow blood clotting. Papain might increase the effects of warfarin and increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin might need to be changed.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 27/01/2023 20:07:23 and last updated on 17/04/2022 02:14:26. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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