Concentré de Protéase Végétale, Papaina, Papaïne, Papainum Crudum, Pepsine Végétale, Plant Protease Concentrate, Protease, Protéase, Vegetable Pepsin.


Overview Information

Papain is taken from the fruit of the papaya tree. It is used to make medicine.

Some people take papain by mouth for pain and swelling (inflammation) and to remove extra fluid following trauma and surgery. It is also taken by mouth to help with digestion, to treat parasitic worms, inflammation of the throat and pharynx, shingles (herpes zoster) symptoms, sore muscles, diarrhea, hay fever, runny nose, and a skin condition called psoriasis. Papain is also taken by mouth to treat the side effects of radiation therapy, or it may be used in combination with other therapies to treat tumors.

Some people apply papain directly to the skin to treat insect or animal bites, infected wounds, sores, and ulcers.

In manufacturing, papain is used in cosmetics, toothpaste, contact lens cleaners, meat tenderizers, and meat products.

How does it work?

Papain contains substances that may help fight infection.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Insect bites. Some research shows that applying gauze soaked in a specific papain product (Adolph's meat tenderizer) to the skin for 20 minutes after a fire ant sting does not reduce pain or itching.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Muscle soreness after exercise. Early research shows that taking a combination of product containing papain, bromelain, trypsin, amylase, lipase, lysosome, and chymotrypsin four times in one day before a downhill run can reduce muscle soreness.
  • Jellyfish stings. Early research suggests that putting the area affected by a jellyfish sting into a solution containing papain (Aldolph's meat tenderizer) does not decrease pain as well as hot water alone.
  • Illness caused by radiation therapy. Some early research suggests that taking a specific product (wobe-Mugose E, MucosPharma), containing papain, trypsin, and chymotrypsin, daily beginning 7 days before radiation therapy and continuing for 9 weeks thereafter may decrease skin reactions of radiation therapy. However, it does not seem to improve nausea, vomiting, or fatigue (tiredness) when taken by mouth every day beginning 3 days before radiation therapy and continuing until the end of radiation therapy.
  • Wound healing. Early research suggests that applying a solution containing papain plus DMSO to the skin, followed by the use of ultrasound (a medical procedure that uses sound waves), might improve wound healing.
  • Cancer.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Digestion problems.
  • Hay fever.
  • Intestinal worms.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Runny nose.
  • Sores.
  • Treating infected wounds.
  • Ulcers.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of papain for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Papain is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts and when applied the skin as a solution in appropriate amounts.

Taking large amounts of papain by mouth is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. In excessive doses, papain may cause severe throat and stomach damage in some people. Applying raw papain or papaya fruit to the skin is also POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Skin contact with raw papain can cause irritation and skin blisters in some people.

Some people may also be allergic to papain.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking papain by mouth during pregnancy is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. There is a concern that it might cause birth defects or miscarriage. Not enough is known about the safety of using papain during breast-feeding. Do not use it if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

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

Allergy to papain: Allergic reactions to papain have been reported in some people. Symptoms include runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, cough, and skin rashes.

Bleeding disorders: Papain might increase the risk of bleeding in people with a clotting disorder. Do not use if you have a clotting disorder.

Surgery: Papain might increase the risk of bleeding during surgery. Stop taking papain 2 weeks before surgery.



We currently have no information for PAPAIN Interactions.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:



  • For herpes zoster (shingles): An enzyme combination containing papain for 14 days.
  • For pharyngitis:Lozenges containing 2 mg papain, 5 mg lysozyme, and 200 I.U. bacitracin for 4 days.

View References


  • Cygler, M. and Mort, J. S. Proregion structure of members of the papain superfamily. Mode of inhibition of enzymatic activity. Biochimie 1997;79(11):645-652. View abstract.
  • Dale, P. S., Tamhankar, C. P., George, D., and Daftary, G. V. Co-medication with hydrolytic enzymes in radiation therapy of uterine cervix: evidence of the reduction of acute side effects. Cancer Chemother.Pharmacol 2001;47 Suppl:S29-S34. View abstract.
  • El Kadi, K. N., Rawlings, A. V., Feinberg, C., Watkinson, A., Nunn, C. C., Battaglia, A., Chandar, P., Richardson, N., and Pocalyko, D. J. Broad specificity alkaline proteases efficiently reduce the visual scaling associated with soap-induced xerosis. Arch Dermatol.Res 2001;293(10):500-507. View abstract.
  • Glenn, J. Managing a traumatic wound in a geriatric patient. Ostomy.Wound.Manage. 2006;52(4):94-98. View abstract.
  • Hellebrekers, B. W., Trimbos-Kemper, T. C., Trimbos, J. B., Emeis, J. J., and Kooistra, T. Use of fibrinolytic agents in the prevention of postoperative adhesion formation. Fertil.Steril. 2000;74(2):203-212. View abstract.
  • Leipner, J., Iten, F., and Saller, R. Therapy with proteolytic enzymes in rheumatic disorders. BioDrugs. 2001;15(12):779-789. View abstract.
  • Martin, T., Uhder, K., Kurek, R., Roeddiger, S., Schneider, L., Vogt, H. G., Heyd, R., and Zamboglou, N. Does prophylactic treatment with proteolytic enzymes reduce acute toxicity of adjuvant pelvic irradiation? Results of a double-blind randomized trial. Radiother.Oncol. 2002;65(1):17-22. View abstract.
  • Matinian, L. A., Nagapetian, KhO, Amirian, S. S., Mkrtchian, S. R., Mirzoian, V. S., and Voskanian, R. M. [Papain phonophoresis in the treatment of suppurative wounds and inflammatory processes]. Khirurgiia (Mosk) 1990;(9):74-76. View abstract.
  • Miller, P. C., Bailey, S. P., Barnes, M. E., Derr, S. J., and Hall, E. E. The effects of protease supplementation on skeletal muscle function and DOMS following downhill running. J Sports Sci 2004;22(4):365-372. View abstract.
  • Mort, J. S. and Buttle, D. J. Cathepsin B. Int J Biochem Cell Biol 1997;29(5):715-720. View abstract.
  • Nomura, J. T., Sato, R. L., Ahern, R. M., Snow, J. L., Kuwaye, T. T., and Yamamoto, L. G. A randomized paired comparison trial of cutaneous treatments for acute jellyfish (Carybdea alata) stings. Am J Emerg Med 2002;20(7):624-626. View abstract.
  • Pereira, A. L. and Bachion, M. M. [Wound treatment: scientific production analysis published in the Revista Brasileira de Enfermagem from 1970-2003]. Rev Bras Enferm. 2005;58(2):208-213. View abstract.
  • Perez-Jauregui, J., Escate-Cavero, A., Vega-Galina, J., Ruiz-Arguelles, G. J., and Macip-Nieto, G. [Probable coumarin poisoning upon ingestion of an anti-inflammatory agent]. Rev Invest Clin 1995;47(4):311-313. View abstract.
  • Pieper, B. and Caliri, M. H. Nontraditional wound care: A review of the evidence for the use of sugar, papaya/papain, and fatty acids. J.Wound.Ostomy.Continence.Nurs. 2003;30(4):175-183. View abstract.
  • Rawlings, N. D. and Barrett, A. J. Evolutionary families of peptidases. Biochem J 2-15-1993;290 ( Pt 1):205-218. View abstract.
  • Rawlings, N. D. and Barrett, A. J. Families of cysteine peptidases. Methods Enzymol. 1994;244:461-486. View abstract.
  • Ross, E. V., Jr., Badame, A. J., and Dale, S. E. Meat tenderizer in the acute treatment of imported fire ant stings. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1987;16(6):1189-1192. View abstract.
  • Starley, I. F., Mohammed, P., Schneider, G., and Bickler, S. W. The treatment of paediatric burns using topical papaya. Burns 1999;25(7):636-639. View abstract.
  • Turk, B., Turk, V., and Turk, D. Structural and functional aspects of papain-like cysteine proteinases and their protein inhibitors. Biol.Chem. 1997;378(3-4):141-150. View abstract.
  • Udod, V. M., Kolos, A. I., and Gritsuliak, Z. N. [Treatment of patients with lung abscess by local administration of papain]. Vestn.Khir.Im I.I.Grek. 1989;142(3):24-27. View abstract.
  • Walker-Renard, P. Update on the medicinal management of phytobezoars. Am J Gastroenterol. 1993;88(10):1663-1666. View abstract.
  • Baur X, König G, Bencze K, Fruhmann G. Clinical symptoms and results of skin test, RAST and bronchial provocation test in thirty-three papain workers: Evidence for strong immunogenic potency and clinically relevant proteolytic e?ects of airborne papain. Clin Allergy 1982;12(1):9-17. View abstract.
  • Bienen H, Raus I. [Therapeutic comparison of throat lozenges; (author's transl)]. MMW Munch Med Wochenschr 1981;123:745-7. View abstract.
  • Billigmann P. [Enzyme therapy-an alternative in treatment of herpes zoster. A controlled study of 192 patients]. Fortschr Med 1995;113:43-8. View abstract.
  • Desser L, Rehberger A, Paukovits W. Proteolytic enzymes and amylase induce cytokine production in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro. Cancer Biother 1994;9:253-63. View abstract.
  • Diez-Gomez ML, Quirce S, Aragoneses E, Cuevas M. Asthma caused by Ficus benjamina latex: evidence of cross-reactivity with fig fruit and papain. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1998;80:24-30. View abstract.
  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at:
  • Mansfield LE, Ting S, Haverly RW, Yoo TJ. The incidence and clinical implications of hypersensitivity to papain in an allergic population, confirmed by blinded oral challenge. Ann Allergy 1985;55:541-3. View abstract.
  • Novey HS, Keenan WJ, Fairshter RD, Wells ID, Wilson AF, Culver BD. Pulmonary disease in workers exposed to papain: clinico-physiological and immunological studies. Clin Allergy 1980;10(6):721-31. View abstract.
  • Okano T. Effects of essential trace elements on bone turnover-in relation to the osteoporosis. Nippon Rinsho 1996;54:148-54. View abstract.
  • Raus I. [Clinical studies on Frubienzyme in a controlled double-blind trial]. Fortschr Med 1976;94:1579-82. View abstract.
  • Reinecke M. [Treatment of inflammatory diseases of the mouth and throat with Larypront in ENT practice; (author's transl)]. MMW Munch Med Wochenschr 1976;118:1253-4. View abstract.
  • Shaw D, Leon C, Kolev S, Murray V. Traditional remedies and food supplements: a 5-year toxicological study (1991-1995). Drug Saf 1997;17:342-56. View abstract.
  • Shuttleworth D, Hill S, Marks R, Connelly DM. Relief of experimentally induced pruritus with a novel eutectic mixture of local anaesthetic agents. Br J Dermatol 1988;119:535-40.
  • Simmons GH. Queries and minor notes. JAMA 1922;79(19):1629.
  • Soto-Mera MT, López-Rico MR, Filgueira JF, et al. Occupational allergy to papain. Allergy 2000;55(10):983-4. View abstract.
  • Tarlo SM, Shaikh W, Bell B, et al. Papain-induced allergic reactions. Clin Allergy 1978;8(3):207-15. View abstract.
  • Tymoszuk D, Wiszniewska M, Walusiak-Skorupa J. Papain-induced occupational rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma - A case report. Med Pr 2016;67(1):109-12. View abstract.
  • Valueva TA, Revina TA, Mosolov VV. Potato tuber protein proteinase inhibitors belonging to the Kunitz soybean inhibitor family. Biochemistry (Mosc) 1997;62:1367-74. View abstract.
  • Zavadova E, Desser L, Mohr T. Stimulation of reactive oxygen species production and cytotoxicity in human neutrophils in vitro and after oral administration of a polyenzyme preparation. Cancer Biother 1995;10:147-52. View abstract.

Vitamins Survey

Have you ever purchased PAPAIN?

Did you or will you purchase this product in-store or online?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

What factors influenced or will influence your purchase? (check all that apply)

Vitamins Survey

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Do you buy vitamins online or instore?

What factors are most important to you? (check all that apply)

This survey is being conducted by the WebMD marketing sciences department.Read More

More Resources for PAPAIN

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty .