Can papaya plant leaves extract or goat milk help cure dengue? There is no scientific evidence to support this, but the sales of both have increased phenomenally in the national capital as the mosquito-borne disease has seen a spurt.
Delhi's civic bodies have so far confirmed only five dengue deaths in the city and the number of cases as 1,872. Since there is no specific vaccine or drug to prevent dengue, people are resorting to alternative medicine or natural home remedies to control the dangerous disease.
Ayurveda practitioner Dr. Aftab Ahmad said, "It is mentioned in our books that goat milk helps in recovering fast from dengue fever as the milk is light and easy to digest. However, there is no mention that the goat's milk increases platelet count."
Following such suggestions by traditional healers, the price of goat milk has reportedly soared to Rs. 2,000 per liter from Rs. 800 a liter until a few days back. A dry, shriveled blade of papaya leaf is available for Rs. 500.
However, allopathic doctors are not very impressed with the efficacy of goat milk in treating dengue. Dr. Rommel Tickoo, senior consultant, internal medicine, Max Hospital, said, "We don't recommend it (goat milk) for dengue treatment as no major study has been done on this. As far as papaya is concerned, it is believed that the juice of papaya leaves can be alternative treatment for dengue."
Dr. Shobha Mathur, a nutritionist based in Gurgaon, said, "The juice of crushed leaves of papaya can prove to be helpful during treatment for dengue. Neem, fresh coriander leaves and tulsi can also be taken in the form of tonic to reduce the dengue fever."
Mathur further advised, "Drink as much water as possible to keep the body hydrated and to replace the fluid loss. This will also bring down the body temperature while easing symptom like headaches and muscle cramps."
Meanwhile, yoga guru Baba Ramdev said, "Many people have died in the country because of dengue. Central and the state governments both have failed. Instead of running from pillars to posts for admitting their kin in the hospitals, people should take the help of Ayurveda and herbal medicines like aloe vera, pomegranate and papaya juice."
However, allopathic doctors say they do not recommend these methods as there is no scientific evidence or research supporting the argument. Dr. O.P. Sharma, general practitioner with Akash Hospital, said, "There is no harm in having goat milk, papaya etc. but it should not be considered as mode of treatment for dengue. There is no study which favors the claims."