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Papaya

Papaya seems to grow just about everywhere in Brazil. Almost every garden I saw had a papaya tree laden with heavy melon shaped fruit. Christopher Columbus called papaya the “fruit of the angels”. He noticed that the Caribbean natives ate the fruit after huge meals and never encountered any digestive distress.

The flesh is deliciously sweet with a musky undertone, and its texture has a soft melting quality. Ripe papaya flesh is a rich orange colour with either yellow or pink hues.

The inner cavity contains a wealth of shiny black round seeds, I personally don’t like eating the seeds but my dad always insists on eating spoonful as he claims it keeps him regular. I’ve also read that they have a deworming effect.

I’m happy to stick to eating the papaya flesh which is rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins A, C and E and enzymes. The ripe fruit makes a great base for smoothies and is a great addition to fruit salads. The papaya enzymes are so strong that it is used to tenderise meat.

I make a salad from the green fruit in my Thai cooking class but today I wanted to share a different type of recipe with you – an exfoliating face mask that helps smooth the complexion, heal sun damage and reduce wrinkles.

Papaya Exfoliating Face Mask

This all natural recipe is simple, effective and easy, and it is less expensive than anything you can buy in a bottle. I encourage you to pamper yourself and enjoy a relaxing natural spa experience in your own home.

Ingredients

  •   1 tablespoon of fresh papaya
  •   1 teaspoon honey

Method

  • Mash the papaya with a fork, try to eliminate most lumps. You could also use a blender, but I am reluctant to create more washing up for such a small amount.
  • Strain the mashed fruit – I used a sieve with a weight over it and left it for an hour over a bowl to catch the extra juice.
  • Add the honey which has amazing moisturising and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Pat the mixture onto your clean face and neck, while avoiding the eye area. Lie back and relax for 15 minutes dreaming of tropical beaches, then rinse off with warm water.
  • Enjoy your healthy glowing skin!

Tips and Variations

This recipe makes enough for two facials. Store your extra face mask in the refrigerator for up to a week in an air-tight container. It won’t keep for more than a week because there are no preservatives.

Add a few cucumber slices to the eyes to further aid in the reduction of circles underneath the eyes. Make sure they’re organic as they are so close to your eyes. You can also try using 2 used and cooled down chamomile teabags or 2 cotton pads soaked in rose or lavender water.

Add fresh pineapple to the mix. This gentle astringent helps to close open pores and leave your skin looking refreshed and healthy.

Do you have any favourite uses for papaya? Let me know in the comments!

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