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Papaya Leaves for Dengue: Can It Increase Platelet Count?

Papaya Leaves for Dengue: Can It Increase Platelet Count?

Filipinos are no stranger to the dangers of dengue, a mosquito-borne viral infection that may result in nausea and vomiting, rashes, severe headache, muscle and joint pains, and bleeding1. Left unmanaged, dengue could also lead to death. The good news is, several local plants could potentially improve dengue signs and symptoms, including tawa tawa and neem tree2. Interestingly, some reports said that papaya leaves might also be helpful for dengue management. Here’s what you need to know about papaya leaves for dengue.

Papaya Leaves for Dengue: Can It Increase Platelet Count?

One of the most notable laboratory results of a dengue patient is thrombocytopenia, or decreased platelet count. Thrombocytopenia is threatening because it increases the risk of severe bleeding.

Currently, there are a number of studies focusing on papaya leaves for dengue, particularly its ability to improve platelet count.

Study 1

One animal study showed that the isolated bioactive compound, carpaine, which can be found in papaya leaves extract, potentially sustained platelet counts without showing acute toxicity in the rat subjects3.

Study 2

In a case study involving a 45-year old patient, the researchers prepared an oral formulation of the papaya leaves extract.

They collected the leaves and washed them thoroughly with water. Afterward, they used a fruit juicer to grind the leaves with water. Because the extract is bitter, they opted to add some sucrose to it. In the case study, the patient received 25 ml of the leaf extract orally, twice a day for five consecutive days.

To better understand the effects of papaya leaves for dengue management, the investigators also evaluated the patient’s total platelet count before and after the treatment.

Results showed that the leaf extract increased the platelet count by approximately 300%. Moreover, the treatment also increased the white blood cell count of the patient4.

Study 3

In another research involving 300 participants with dengue, the researchers discovered that an administration of 1,100mg papaya leaf extracts in tablet form thrice daily for five days significantly increased the patients’ platelet count3.

Papaya Leaves for Dengue: Guidelines

In a 2016 report, a family physician wrote a step-by-step guide on how to use papaya leaves for dengue5:

  1. Collect healthy, mature papaya leaves and wash them thoroughly with water.
  2. Excluding the stems, chop the leaves into small pieces.
  3. Prepare 50 grams of chopped leaves, 50 ml of cooled boiled water, and 25 grams of sugar. Place these ingredients in a mortar and pestle.
  4. Pound the ingredients for about 15 minutes until you have uniform pulps. Let the mixture sit still for about half an hour.
  5. Get the extract by squeezing the pulp with your clean hands.
  6. Keep the extract in a bottle. You may store it for 24 hours in the fridge at a temperature of +4°C.

For administration, the report said:

  1. Adult patients may have 30 ml of the extract thrice a day before meals while children may have 5 to 10 ml of the extract.
  2. For best results, the extract should be given from the first day of fever.
  3. As a remedy for the bitter taste, the patient may have a few sips of cold water after taking the papaya leaves extract.
  4. Do not use it if you have an allergy to papaya.

Important Reminders About Papaya Leaves for Dengue

While papaya leaves extract shows potential, and it is quite easy to prepare and administer, please note that it is not a substitute for dengue treatment. Even the report we mentioned above said “it should be used in addition to usual dengue management.”5

To be on the safe side, always consult your doctor first before using papaya leaves for dengue treatment.

Learn more about Dengue here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1) Dengue and severe dengue, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dengue-and-severe-dengue, Accessed September 21, 2021

2) Evolving herbal formulations in management of dengue fever, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5607393/#bib10, Accessed September 21, 2021

3) Dengue Fever: Therapeutic Potential of Carica papaya L. Leaves, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2021.610912/full, Accessed September 21, 2021

4) Dengue fever treatment with Carica papaya leaves extracts,https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614241/, Accessed September 21, 2021

5) Rapid Response to Dengue Fever, https://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4661/rr-4, Accessed September 21, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated 4 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel