Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pharmecuticals from Papaya

This is a good follow up to the previous article and covers horticulture and pharmecuticals. No, the concept is not new........far from it in fact as most older remedies were derived from plants, but mostly by collection in situ as needed from the relevant plant.

In recent times, a major development has been the production of artemesin for malaria control, based on the plant Artemesia spp. And of course, quinine, that older remedy is also plant derived. There are many other examples.

There is a common quip that Australia's only commercially successful horticultural plant is the macadamia nut, which is actually a native plant from Australia. However, there has been a long time Australian remedy that stands alongside the commonly used Australian tea tree and eucalyptus oils.

Often more well known in the tropics, and being Brisbane based that is not surprising. So do not forget the well known pawpaw ointment / cream.

The following article offers a good overview of pawpaw ointment. And yes, it is used in our household too!

Fortune grows on pawpaw trees

IT'S the cure-all product that is a favourite of stars and celebrities across the globe.
Cate Blanchett, Miranda Kerr and Rose Byrne are never caught short without the distinctive $5 red tube.
An ever-growing legion of fans claim it heals all kinds of ailments, including boils, burns, mosquito bites, sunburn, cuts, chapped lips and cracked skin.

Little do they know the century-old tropical remedy, Lucas' Papaw Ointment, is the product of a Brisbane family. Its secret formula has been passed from generation to generation in the Lucas and Talbot clans.

Kevin Talbot, a 74-year-old fourth-generation producer, now heads the operation.

He is fiercely proud of his family business and just as protective.

As he stood in the Acacia Ridge factory on Beaudesert Road, where his daughter Lynette, son-in-law David and son Graham also work, tears welled in his eyes when he spoke of the family firm.
"We're so proud. It's amazing," he said.
"Lucas Papaw has more than a cult following now. Everyone wants it."

The grandfather-of-three laughed at suggestions the small red tube, synonymous with the ointment, has become a fashion statement for celebrities and women in Australia and across the world.
The reason for its popularity, he said, is the natural virtues of the pawpaw.
"It just works," he said. Mr Talbot's great-grandfather, English surgeon and botanist Thomas Pennington Lucas, discovered the healing capabilities of the pawpaw upon migrating to Australia in 1876. "He thought they were doing too many operations in England and he wanted to find an alternative," Mr Talbot said.

It was in the Sunshine State where he perfected the formula for the fermented papayate ointment.

The Queenslander-style house pictured on the red packaging is in fact Dr Lucas' Vera Papaw Hospital, built on the corner of Moray and Sydney Streets in New Farm. "Here patients were treated only with Dr Lucas' pawpaw remedies, which at the time included throat lozenges," Mr Talbot said.
It became impossible for the family to continue Dr Lucas' work in the special hospital once he passed away. "But it was possible to make it available for public benefit," Mr Talbot said.

Bickfords Australia was the first company to distribute the ointment, before it gained worldwide attention.

Although not all tradition has been lost.

"We still peel the pawpaws by hand," Mr Talbot said.

The factory, steeped in history, stands on land near Dr Lucas' first Acacia Ridge pawpaw plantation.
The enamelled cast iron bowl used to mix the ointment by hand when Mr Talbot's mother ran the business from a wooden hut, since replaced by the factory, still sits in the warehouse.

"I hope to pass this business to my grandchildren," Mr Talbot said.

Meanwhile he is content mixing papayate just as generations before him have.

[partially sourced fro the online edition Qld Country Life]

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