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American pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Acetogenin, alkaloids, American paw paw, annomontacin, Annonaceae (family), Annonaceous acetogenins, Annona cherimola, Annona diversifolia, Annona glabra, Annona muricata, Annona palustris, Annona purpurea, Annona reticulata, Annona squamosa, Annona squamosa X A. cherimola, Annona triloba L., annonacin, annonacin-A, asimicin, asimin, Asimina incarna, Asimina longifolia, Asimina obovata, Asimina parviflora, Asimina pygmaea, Asimina reticulata, Asimina tetramera, Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal, Asimina X nashii, asiminacin, asiminecin, asiminocin, asimitrin, asimilobin, asitrocin, asitrilobins, atemoya, benzyltetrahydroisoquinolone alkaloids, biriba, Brazilian pawpaw, bullanin, bullatacin, bullatacinone, bullatetrocin, bulletin, Carica papaya, cherimoya, coumaroyltyramine, custard apple, Deeringothamnus rugelii, Deeringothamnus puchellus, Disepalum, dog banana, dwarf pawpaw, feruloyltyramine, flag pawpaw, flavonoids, gigantetrocinone, Goniothalanus, graviola, guanabana, Hoosier banana, ilama, Indiana banana, isoannonacin, murisolinone, nicotiflorine, octanoate, opossum pawpaw, Ozark banana, papaya, paw paw, Paw Paw Cell-Reg®, poor man's banana, prairie banana, Rollinia mucosa, rutin, soncoya, soursop, squamolone, sugar apple, sweetsop, syringaresinol, trilobacin, trilobalicin, Uvaria, West Virginia banana, xylomaticin, Xylopia.
  • Selected combination products: Paw Paw Lice Remover Shampoo® (deionized water, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium lauroamphoacetate, butylene glycol, glycol stearate, cetearyl alcohol, thymol, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, pawpaw extract, tea tree leaf oil (Melaleuca alternifolia), acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, PEG-150 distearate, sodium PCA).
  • Note: American pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is not a papaya and should not be confused with Carica papaya or Annona muricata (graviola) although the species have similar common names and may be called "pawpaw".

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Asimina triloba is a fruiting tree native to North America. However, plantings of the tree can be found in Asia, Australia, and Europe. The tree produces a large brown edible oval fruit (2-6 inches long) that can be eaten as a fresh fruit or processed into desserts (1). Some people say the fruit tastes like banana or mango. Pawpaw extract is made from the twigs of the tree. The twigs are harvested in May or June, when the concentration of the acetogenins, the likely active ingredients, are at their highest concentrations.
  • In the 1980s and 1990s, researchers at Purdue University screened and isolated bioactive compounds from pawpaw bark extracts. Many of these compounds were found to have cytotoxic effects on cancer cell lines (2;3;4;5;6;7;8;9;10;11;12;13;14).
  • Some constituents of pawpaw, namely asimicin and its structural isomers (e.g. asimin, asiminacin, and asiminecin) are potent in vitro inhibitors of NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase. Theoretically, this mechanism could lead to antitumor and pesticidal effects (9). However, there are no high-quality human trials supporting the safety or efficacy of pawpaw for any indication at this time.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.