- Food and Cooking»
- Dietary Restrictions
Rural Legends from the Caribbean: Papaya and the Male Sex Drive
Many Caribbean men refuse to eat papaya.
Rural folk on my island will tell you that a man must not let a papaya (papaw) plant grow too near to his home or it will take away his ‘nature’. I remember being told that if a very bad bull escaped and you managed to catch hold of its rope, just quickly wrap it around a papaya plant and the boisterous bull will calm down like a baby.
You have your urban legends and you have your rural legends.
I have not tested the bull story, and simply cannot vouch for the testicular negation effect of the fruit. I am a lover of fruit salad and there was a time when my fruit salads would not be complete without ripe banana, papaya, raisins, some orange juice for good measure, and cider vinegar and honey for sweetness and tartness.
Playing it Safe!
These days the long yellow phallic prominence of the banana is resuming its turgid pride of place in my family’s fruit bowl; the papaya reputation is causing me to think twice very time I put it into my shopping basket. Or reap it from one of the plants in my backyard.
Until the scientists give me the myth buster experiments here is what I know. Papaya, in addition to its rich vitamin mineral content, boasts a wonderful digestive enzyme, papain. Especially the green papaya is rich in this protease which is used as a meat tenderizer. Now listen to me: Papaya is also used for abortion and contraception. Put the three together:
I don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that if folk medicine says that too much of this stuff not good for male gender I should at least pay it some token respect.
So I still eat papaya, but much less than, say, five to ten years ago. Back then I needed it to calm me down. After all I only had one wife! I still plant papaya trees in my backyard, but I don’t know for how much longer! Now that I am over 45 and admittedly slowing down to 7 times a night (laugh, OK scouts honour, 7 times a fortnight) I have begun to play it safe and have reduced my papaya intake. Just in case!!