American pawpaw

About American pawpaw

Asimina triloba, also known as the American paw paw is a tiny deciduous tree belonging to the eastern United States and Canada that bears enormous yellowish-green to brown fruits. It is in the same plant family (Annonaceae) as the custard-apple, cherimoya, sweetsop, and soursop, and belongs to the genus Asimina.

The pawpaw fruit is the largest edible fruit native to the United States. This fruit is also known as false banana, pawpaw apple, custard banana, poor man’s banana, as well as Hoosier banana. Pawpaw fruits have a creamy, custard-like flavor that is comparable to banana, mango, and pineapple. They are typically eaten raw, but they are also used to prepare ice cream and baked sweets. Pawpaws are a wonderful substitute for bananas in practically any recipe due to their flavor and custard-like texture. These characteristics are reflected in the common titles ‘poor man’s banana,’ ‘American custard apple,’ and ‘Kentucky banana.’

Pawpaw fruits are typically consumed raw, either cold or at room temperature. They should, however, be only stored at ambient temperature for 2–3 days, or for roughly a week if frozen. Unless refrigerated, the incredibly fragile pawpaw fruits do not ship smoothly. Where pawpaws are grown, the fruit pulp is frequently utilized in baked dessert recipes, with pawpaw frequently substituting with volumetric equivalency in several banana-based recipes. Pawpaws can also be used to prepare ice creams or pancakes.

Nutritional profile

As per the KSU Pawpaw Program, raw pawpaw includes 19% carbs, 1% protein, 1% fat, and 79% water (approximately).In a 100-g serving, the raw fruit contains 80 calories and is high in vitamin C (22% of daily value), magnesium (32% of daily value), iron (54% daily value), and manganese (124% of daily value). The fruit also has a moderate quantity of vitamin A. (11% of daily value).

Pawpaw contains three times the vitamin C of an apple, twice the vitamin C of a banana, and one-third the vitamin C of an orange. Pawpaw contains six times the riboflavin of an apple and twice the riboflavin of an orange. Pawpaw has twice the niacin content of a banana, fourteen times the niacin content of an apple, and four times the niacin content of an orange. 

The protein present in pawpaw provides all of the necessary amino acids. Pawpaw surpasses apples in all essential amino acids and surpasses or equals banana and orange in the majority of them.

The fatty acid composition of pawpaw is superior to that of banana. Pawpaw contains 32% saturated, 40% monounsaturated, and 28% polyunsaturated fatty acids, while banana contains 52% saturated, 15% monounsaturated, and 34% polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Pawpaws are a fruit possessing high-nutritional-value.  They are rich in vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese. They contain considerable levels of riboflavin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc, as well as are an excellent source of potassium and numerous vital amino acids. These nutrients are found in pawpaws in concentrations that are comparable to or greater than those found in bananas, apples, or oranges. 

Uses of American pawpaw

The tree’s bark, leaves, and seeds are used to manufacture medicine. The most prevalent application of American pawpaw is in homoeopathic medicine. Homeopathy is a complementary therapy practice that includes high dilutions of medications. American pawpaw is used in homoeopathy to treat fever, vomiting, and pain and inflammation of the throat and mouth. 

It’s also used to get rid of lice in hair. Pawpaw extracts have been demonstrated to be an excellent anti-lice shampoo. Pawpaw twig and leaf extracts have been utilised in anti-lice shampoos and insecticides. According to preliminary studies, applying shampoo containing American pawpaw, thymol, and tea tree oil on the scalp three times in 16 days can eradicate lice in children and adults.

However, there is no good scientific evidence to support the usage of American pawpaw for any purpose. More research is needed to determine the efficacy of American pawpaw for these applications.

American pawpaw in cancer

American pawpaw contains compounds that may have anti-cancer action. Pawpaw’s main constituents are chemicals known as acetogenins. They hinder the cell from producing ATP, which is the key source of energy. In laboratory tests, the extract killed cancer cells that were resistant to routinely used chemotherapy medications like adriamycin. It was also found to be more harmful to cancer cells than to normal cells. However, no human research on these effects have been performed.

Anticancer alternative therapies including pawpaw twig extracts are often used. It is projected that more than half of cancer patients use one or more complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies as part of their therapy. Among alternative treatments, products containing pawpaw twig extracts have been found to have anticancer activity in both animal models and a small number of clinical studies.

Nevertheless, the absence of thoroughly controlled clinical trials has cast doubt on the finding that pawpaw capsules high in acetogenins reduced tumour growth, lowered tumour blood flow, repressed metastasis, and increased survival in cancer patients. In general, it is thought that pawpaw extract and pure acetogenins exhibit a wide spectrum of anticancer, antiviral, and insecticidal actions due to inhibition of ATP synthesis.

Pawpaw may have anti-cancer properties in test tubes, but animal tests yielded inconsistent results. There are no human clinical studies that have been published to investigate the safety or efficacy of pawpaw as a cancer treatment.

Warnings and side effects 

When applied to the skin for a short period of time by adults and children, American pawpaw is POSSIBLY SAFE. However, sometimes when applied to the skin, American pawpaw extracts may induce a red, itchy rash in some people.

There is insufficient data to determine whether American pawpaw fruit or extract is safe to consume. Some people may have rashes, nausea, vomiting, headaches, or light-headedness after eating American pawpaw fruit. If used orally, American pawpaw extract may induce vomiting.

It might also induce nausea, redness, and itching as side effects.

Annonacin, which is poisonous to nerve cells, is abundant in pawpaw fruit. There have also been reports of possibly linked nerve poisoning. As a result, long-term use should be avoided. 

There is insufficient trustworthy information about the safety of using American pawpaw while pregnant or breast-feeding. To be on the safe side, avoid using it while pregnant or breast-feeding.


American pawpaw is a type of plant. The fruit is consumed as food. The plant extract is utilized in insecticides and anti-lice shampoos.

The most prevalent application of American pawpaw is in homoeopathic medicine. However, there is no good scientific evidence to support the usage of American pawpaw for any purpose.

There are various websites that advocate pawpaw as a cancer treatment. But, there is insufficient scientific data to back up such assertions. American pawpaw contains compounds that may have anti-cancer action. However, much more studies are needed before any conclusion can be made.