How papaya leaves could help fight dengue fever

With Delhi under the grip of dengue, people are looking for alternate or natural remedies to treat and control the dreaded disease. Once such common remedy, believed to help, is to use papaya leaf juice to help a patient suffering from dengue recover.While some people say that it is simply a hoax, there might be some truth to papayaleaf juice’s claim to fame after all. A number of scientific papers have proved that papaya leaf juice is actually beneficial for the body. One of the first papers to talk about the benefits of the papaya leaf juice was studied by Dr Nam Dang at the University of Florida[1], research center. He found that the papaya leaf juice was capable of fighting cancer, was non toxic to the body and had the capability to improve one’s immunity. While the plant’s leaf is well known for its curative properties in diseases like malaria and cancer, Dr Sanath Hettige, a general physician in Sri Lanka, found that the juice of young leaves can be used to treat dengue. His paper was published in the Sri Lankan Journal of Family Physicians in 2008 . Here are some health benefits of papaya.

How does it work?

Papaya leaves are known to be packed with the enzymes like chymopapin and papain that, according to Dr Sanath Hettige, normalise the platelet count, improves the clotting factor (helps the blood clot normally), improves one’s liver function and repairs the damage to the liver done by dengue, therefore helping an ailing person recover from the disease. You may also like to read Dengue fever: Symptoms, medication and prevention.

How to use the papaya leaf?

The  young leaves from a fruit bearing papaya plant should be used. According to Dr Hettige, the leaves of the Red Lady papaya plant (found commonly in India) are more effective. The important fact is that one should choose leaves that are not too old, neither too young. Now, take only the leafy part and not the stalk and wash them well with water. Crush the leaves using a wooden mortar and pestle without any additives like water, salt or sugar. Once they are crushed, squeeze out the juice with clean hands and drink it two times a day. Do not add any salt or sugar to the drink. According to Dr Hettige,  an adult should have 10 ml of the juice twice a day (or at eight hour intervals), children between the age of five and 12 should have 5 ml of the juice twice a day and those below 10 years of age should be given 2.5ml of the juice.

At what stage should a patient ideally have the juice?

According to Dr Sanath, it is best the patient start having the juice as early as possible. This means that when they notice the first symptoms of dengue fever (when their platelets show a decline in numbers below 150000 cu mm or when the packed cell volume goes above 10%). It is also beneficial at later stages, but if the condition has progressed and has led to organ failure, the juice is not very effective. You may also like to read about these 5 amazing tips to improve your immunity.


How to use papaya leaf juice to increase platelet count 

1) Take the papaya leaves and grind it to a paste. (Do not add water)

2) Squeeze the leaves to extract the juice

3) Mix 1 teaspoon of this juice with a small piece of jaggery

4) Avoid drinking water immediately afterwards

Do ensure that you check your platelet count to make sure that it remains in the normal range.