October 2009

We heard from Melody Wilson who told us her neighbors make a Paw Paw tea that she used to help someone in her care who had cancer. Melody has offered to supply folks with this tea (cost is very low) if you call her at (501) 321-1408. She states it may be helpful with metastatic disease.

New Crop FactSHEET Pawpaw

Contributor: Desmond R. Layne Purdue University Center for New Crops and Plant Products

Pawpaws are not yet a commercially important crop in the U.S. but they have tremendous potential based on the following reasons:

1) adaptation of trees to existing climatic and edaphic conditions

2) nutritional/cosmetic value of fruit

3) valuable natural compounds in plant 4) nursery wholesale and retail tree production

5) as a component in residential 'edible' landscapes.

Pawpaw is well adapted to the 25 states to which it is native and where it already grows in the wild. It is hardy to zone 5 (-25C) and requires a minimum of 400 hrs annual chill units, 160 frost-free days, and 80 cm of annual precipitation with most falling during spring and summer. Pawpaw is an excellent food source.

It exceeds apple, peach, and grape in most vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and food energy value. Pawpaw fruits are best eaten fresh when fully ripe. The intense tropical flavor and aroma may also be useful for developing processed food products (blended fruit drinks, baby food, ice creams, etc.). The flesh purees easily and freezes nicely. Pawpaws easily substitute in equal part for banana in most recipes. Aromas may be used commercially in cosmetics and skin products.

Pawpaw plants produce natural compounds (annonaceous acetogenins) in leaf, bark and twig tissues, that possess both highly anti-tumor and pesticidal properties. Current research by Dr. Jerry McLaughlin at Purdue University (personal communication) suggests that a potentially lucrative industry, based simply on production of plant biomass, could develop for production of anti-cancer drugs (pending F.D.A. approval) and natural (botanical) pesticides. The high level of natural defense compounds in the tree make it highly resistant to insect/disease infestation (R.N. Peterson, The PawPaw Foundation, personal observation).

With proper management, organic commercial fruit production may be possible. Currently in the U.S., there are more than 40 commercial nurseries selling pawpaw trees. Pawpaws are ideally suited for the residential 'edible' landscape due to their lush, tropical appearance, attractive growth form, size, fall color, and delicious fruit.

In addition, Asimina spp. are suitable for butterfly gardens as they attract the zebra swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) for whom they are the exclusive larval host plant.

Paw Paw Fruit Against Cancer

ACAM talk, 6/03

Paw Paw from the Patient Perspective- UK

LINK to Self-Help Cancer Org

PawPaw Research

LINK to compilation/documentation of Dr. Jerry McLauglin's research

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