Papaya Seeds a Contraceptive?

Papaya Seeds as Birth Control in Traditional Cultures

Both men and women on the Indian subcontinent and in parts of Southeast Asia have traditionally used the papaya fruit and its seeds as a form of birth control.

Women are known to use the unripe green papaya, with its enzyme rich milky white sap, to avoid pregnancy. For this purpose it is either eaten in large amounts or used as an abortifacient when applied directly to the uterus.

Both unripe papaya and papaya seeds are high in the enzyme papain. Papain is a beneficial aid to protein digestion but best avoided for women currently or trying to get pregnant. More on possible side effects of papaya enzymes for both men and women here.

Papaya seeds are also reported to have been used by men in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and other parts of Asia as a long-term natural birth control method. The equivalent of around a teaspoon is suggested daily and is taken for around three months to be fully effective.

The effect is then said to last for several months after treatment is stopped, to be completely reversible in the long-term and with no observed negative effects on libido during treatment. Two interesting studies on the contraceptive effects papaya seeds shed more light on their potential.

Scientific Research on Papaya Seeds for Male Contraception

As is often the case with natural treatments, there hasn’t been a wealth of scientific studies on non-pharmaceutical birth control methods. Companies can’t patent plant-based treatments like papaya seeds (though I wouldn’t put it past Monsanto to try), so there’s little financial incentive for research.

Two promising animal studies have been done though on the effects of taking papaya seed extract on male sperm. The first on Pubmed is a study of the long-term safety of a Carica papaya seed extract on male rats over a full year of daily doses.

In this research, while sperm became completely ineffective during the treatment, no decrease in testosterone or damage to internal organs was observed compared to the control animals. The researchers said the papaya seed extract ‘affect sperm parameters without adverse side effects and is clinically safe as a male contraceptive’.

While rat studies are often used to test the safety of a substance, men are not rats. This second study though involving adult male langur monkeys is significantly closer to our own biology. In it an extract of papaya seeds, equivalent to 50 mg per kilogram of body weight per day, was administered for 360 days.

Testing found sperm concentration, motility and viability notably decreased within 30 days and was significantly impaired by 60. After 90 days azoospermia (no sperm count) was observed in all the test subjects.

Once treatment was withdrawn, sperm function slowly increased and returned to the fertile range after 150 days with no noted long-term side effects. The study concluded that the year-long administration of papaya seed extract ‘disclose no significant toxicological effects and the serum testosterone level was not affected’.

Using Papaya Seeds as a Natural Male Contraceptive

Despite the findings of these studies, we are unlikely to see a papaya seed-based male birth control pill in the drugstores anytime soon. Any man interested in using papaya seeds to decrease his fertility would have to do it with the seeds from papaya fruit and at his own (and his partner’s) understanding and risk.

You’d also need a good supply of papaya seeds for this purpose. Fortunately, they can be frozen for bulk use and easily added to the simple papaya seed smoothie recipe ahead.

For people that don’t have access to fresh papaya seeds, this organic papaya seed powder is the best alternative. You’d only need about half a teaspoon per dose due to them being already powdered.

On the positive side, papaya seeds actually have many health benefits so there may be significant additional reasons to take them daily for a man looking to prevent unwanted pregnancy. They have even been shown to be an effective treatment against parasites and intestinal worms.

Ultimately, the choice is up to each male reader individually. I’ve personally used papaya seeds regularly for long periods, primarily for the digestive benefits detailed here, but also as extra insurance against unplanned pregnancy, and noticed only positive health effects.

There’s no way to guarantee that using papaya seeds as a contraceptive would be 100% effective. The noted studies and observations from traditional uses make it one of the best candidates for natural birth control, but each man would need to consider his own and his partner’s situation.

If you’re interested in using the treatment then here is how to prepare a consistent supply of papaya seeds. Following this is a simple way to take them daily in a great tasting papaya seed smoothie.

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