Some researchers believe that the extract of papaya leaves could be effective in treating dengue patients.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that is responsible for a number of deaths. Though it may not cause symptoms in some people or may resemble a simple flu, in other patients, it may cause a drop in platelet count; platelets are those blood cells that are required to arrest bleeding. As a consequence, the patient may suffer from bleeding episodes and may go into shock.
AdvertisementUnlike some infections that can be dealt with antibiotic or antiviral drugs, there is no specific drug that is effective against the dengue virus. Therefore, treatment of dengue is based on its symptoms. Platelet transfusions are used to replace the depleting platelet levels.
Some researchers found that the extract of papaya leaves could possibly benefit patients of dengue by increasing the level of platelets. My colleague and I reviewed the available literature on this topic and published our findings in the journal, Annals of Medical & Health Sciences Research.
We found that there were some that indicated that some patients recovered from dengue by taking the extract of papaya leaves. However, many of the studies lacked scientific evidence. In some cases, the presence of dengue infection was not proved. In some others, the extracts were not standardized.
One study however was more scientifically conducted using standardized papaya leaf extract on patients who tested positive for the dengue viral infection. These patients also showed a favorable response in terms of increase in platelet counts.
In order to substantiate these findings, further long-term studies need to be conducted to prove effectiveness and safety of the use of papaya leaf extract before it can be used as a medicine in addition to other treatments for dengue.
Sarala N, Paknikar S. Papaya extract to treat dengue: A novel therapeutic option?. Ann Med Health Sci Res 2014;4:320-4; http://www.amhsr.org/text.asp?2014/4/3/320/133452