by Francisco G. Gómez
The first mention of pawpaw came about in the 16th century from a Portuguese officer who was part of Hernando Cortez’s expedition to the New World. He spoke of it solely from the perspective of food, without knowing of its medicinal and curative properties. Here is a paper written by José I. Hormaza, Spanish academic and researcher from Malaga Spain, for an in depth understanding of pawpaw:
After you arrive at the webpage click on the PDF link “The Pawpaw, a Forgotten North American Fruit Tree”.
In the paper you’ll see some nifty early drawings of the pawpaw and learn about some rather famous characters in American history that either favored, what is considered, North America’s only autochthonous exotic fruit, or disliked it immensely.
So what is pawpaw? The pawpaw is a North American fruit that is said to have the combined exotic flavor of pineapple, banana and mango. It is pleasantly aromatic and the pulp can be made into custard, ice cream, jam, shakes and can be eaten as is.
In medicinal terms, the pawpaw’s healing properties stem from several parts of the fruit, but especially from the branches. Dr. Jerry McLaughlin, from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a few other schools, has done extensive studies on pawpaw. Please take the time to see this dated and lengthy vid on Youtube:
It is somewhat scientific, but contains lots of interesting research and statistics that challenge traditional treatments for serious diseases like cancer. Big Pharma would stand to lose big bucks if alternative treatments for Cancer were found; is it no wonder why they discredit and malign researchers who have discovered healing compounds that these mega corporations can’t patent? Then again, what of the billions of dollars these pharmaceutical companies make selling poisons like chemo and other toxic drugs that kill more patients than they save? The truth is they stand to lose their monetary grip on helpless and desperate sick people.
Don’t get it wrong, Dr. Mclaughlin has a few patents of his own and has made some serious money in the alternative health field; however, the fact that he would take on Big Pharma is admirable, and the possibility that he could eventually help cancer patients understand that there are alternatives to this often fatal disease is very promising.
If you’re interested in growing your own pawpaw, you can see this vid made by the Green Garden Guy. The vid is short and to the point, but gives you lots of tips on how to cultivate pawpaw from the seed up. Check it out:
And lastly, if you’re interested in exploring the wild, here is a list of a few counties in New Jersey where you can find the pawpaw:
Somerset/Hunterdon County (i.e. Sourland Mountain)
Hunterdon County (Tetertown Ravine)
Monmouth County (cf: DEP)
Mercer County (Trenton Marsh)
If you want to go further south, you can also visit Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve. It is a botanical garden, and accredited museum located at 1635 River Road, New Hope, Pennsylvania. It is open daily except for major holidays; an admission fee is charged to non members. I believe it’s $5.