Following consensus derived from a meeting of pharmacy, medical and nursing professionals on Tuesday evening, the Pharmaceutical Services, Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, is advocating the use of papaya leaf extract in the management of dengue fever. This is based on evidence that the plant extract has proven to be effective and, therefore, useful in the improvement of patient outcomes in persons affected by the Dengue infection.

History of papaya leaf extract to treat dengue fever

There are multiple studies which show that papaya leaf extract is a valuable treatment option in dengue fever, due to its beneficial properties. Papaya leaf extract is now being widely used as a treatment for dengue fever in many countries, in many cases with the approval of their health authorities e.g. Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, among other Asian countries.

Papaya leaf extract is becoming popular as an unlicensed herbal remedy purported to hasten recovery in dengue infection. The remedy is already in use in St Vincent and the Grenadines as a homemade preparation and is becoming an important adjunct treatment in the face of our present dengue fever outbreak

Mechanism of action

The mechanisms by which pathophysiologic changes occur in dengue fever are still not fully understood and the outcome of treatment is influenced by intrinsic factors of the individual and the virus itself.

Simply put, the dengue virus can induce a low platelet count by suppressing the bone marrow and the virus complicates the situation by drawing nutrients from certain blood cells. This leads to the destruction of platelets. Platelets, pieces of a very large type of bone marrow cell, are found in the blood and spleen and help form blood clots to slow or stop bleeding. Papaya leaf extract seems to reverse all of these processes and the associated inflammation in quick time. Oral administration of papaya leaf extract was associated with an early rise in platelet count even as soon as 24 hours.

Benefits:

Papaya leaf extract shortens the duration of fever, illness and hospital stay and causes an elevation of the white cell count (WBC) and platelet counts. The mixture can be used safely in both adults and children. The Government Pharmaceutical Services has proposed two formulations for the preparation of Papaya Leaf Extract as well as dosing guidelines.

The papaya plant grows all year round in St. Vincent making it easily available and accessible to all.

Guidelines for using carica papaya leaf extract

  1. Anyone with fever, headache or body pain suggestive of dengue fever, should urgently seek assistance from a health care provider.
  2. The usual management of dengue fever includes acetaminophen (e.g. paramol, paracetamol, cetamol), liquids/fluids (e.g. juice, coconut water, water, Gatorade, ORS, Pedialyte) and gravol for nausea and vomiting.
  3. Papaya leaf extract should be used in addition to the usual dengue fever management.
  4. Papaya leaf extract could be given at any stage of the disease, but for best results it should be given from the first day of fever.
  5. Do not stop the treatment halfway.
  6. A few sips of cold water could be taken immediately after consuming the papaya leaf extract or you may suck on a pinch of sugar/honey, to overcome the bitter taste.
  7. Do not consume papaya leaf extract if you are allergic to Papaya.

Oreparation of carica papaya leaf extract

Option #1:

  1. Get fresh healthy mature papaya leaves from a fruit-bearing tree.
  2. Wash the leaves thoroughly with running tap water and chop them into small pieces excluding the main stem (not necessary to remove the small stems in the leaves).
  3. Weigh 50g (2 oz or 6 tablespoons) of papaya leaves and put it into a mortar and pestle.
  4. Add 50ml (1/4 cup) of boiled cool water and 25g (1 oz or 3 tablespoons) of sugar (simple syrup).
  5. Pound the above mixture well for 15 minutes until a uniform pulp is made.
  6. Mix this pulp well and keep for about 30 minutes.
  7. Squeeze this pulp by hand and get the papaya leaf extract (do not use a cotton sieve to extract the juice).
  8. You can store this preparation for 24 hours in the lower compartment of the refrigerator (+4C)
  9. Shake the bottle well before the preparation is given.

Option #2:

  1. Thoroughly wash some (3-5) medium-sized papaya leaves.
  2. Cut them into small pieces.
  3. Place leaves in a saucepan with two (2) litres of water.
  4. Bring the water & leaves to boil and simmer.
  5. Do not cover the saucepan until the water is reduced by half, strain the liquid.
  6. Fill glass containers with the extract and allow to cool before drinking.

Dosing of papaya leaf extract

Papaya leaf extracts could be taken as syrup;     

  • Adult – 30ml (2 tablespoonful) three (3) times a day before meals.
  • Child – 5-10ml (2 teaspoonful) three (3) times a day
  • Studies say use for five (5) consecutive days or until fully recovered from the illness).

Other dosing in literature:

  • Adult – 20ml (4 Teaspoonful) twice daily before meals.
  • Child – 5-10ml (1-2 Teaspoonful) twice daily

2 replies on “Gov’t approves papaya leaf extract for dengue treatment”

  1. What nutrients and benefits are there in papaya leaf juice?
    Both have been shown to aid digestion, prevent constipation and clean the colon. Papain is also helpful in healing and preventing stomach ulcers. Yes, every part of it! Just use papaya and papaya leaf juice as it also acts as a potent cleansing agent for the liver, thereby healing many chronic liver conditions such as, jaundice, biliousness, and liver cirrhosis. While the fruit is said to be rich in contents of vitamin E, C, K and vitamin A (beta-carotene) and important minerals also making it loaded with antioxidant properties. The seeds are rich in fatty acids and papaya oil, have a sharp peppery flavour, and can be used in place of your spices. It can be used to treat intestinal parasites and bacteria. Papaya leaf juice can work wonders for diabetics as well, as it regulates the production of insulin, which in turn checks blood sugar levels. Its strong antioxidant nature also helps to bring down the consequent complications of diabetes like kidney damage and fatty liver.

    Can we drink papaya leaf juice daily?
    Papaya leaf juice in conjunction with your allopathic treatment can be effective in treatment of dengue and malaria. Papaya leaf juice can be beneficial for people with a weak immune system. You can have it on a daily basis to give a boost to your immunity. Papaya leaf juice, on the other hand, is also fast gaining importance in a world of nutrition for packing incredible health and skin benefits. Like the fruit, the leaf is rich in enzymes like papain and chymopapain, which aid digestion, prevents bloating and other digestive disorders. Apart from digestion, the strong alkaloid compounds like karpain works effectively against fighting dandruff and balding. Papaya leaves also contain high amounts of vitamins A, C, E, K, and B and minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium magnesium and iron.

    How do you use papaya leaves?
    Take papaya juice on an empty stomach that is before breakfast and at nights before bed when the stomach is empty and the liver has less work to do. It is important as it will get faster into the digestive system. Papaya leaf extract is now being widely used as a treatment for dengue fever in many of the tropical countries where malaria and dengue are prevalent. Add 50ml of boiled cool water and 25g of maple syrup or sugar. Pound the above mixture well for 15 minutes till a uniform pulp is made. Mix this pulp well and keep for about 30 minutes. Squeeze this pulp by hand and get the papaya leaf extract (do not use a cotton sieve to extract the juice).

    Method of preparation
     Get fresh healthy mature papaya leaves from a fruit-bearing tree. Wash the leaves thoroughly with running tap water and chop the leaves into small pieces excluding the main stem (not necessary to remove the small stems in the leaves).
     Use 2-3 papaya leaves and put it into a mortar and pestle. Pound the above mixture well for 15 minutes till a uniform pulp is made
     Add 50ml (2 ounces) of boiled cool water and 25g (3tbsp) of maple syrup or sugar. Mix this pulp well and let stand for about 30 minutes.
    Squeeze this pulp by hand and get the papaya leaf extract (do not use a cotton sieve to extract the juice).
    You can store this preparation for 24 hours in the lower compartment of the refrigerator (+4C)
     Shake the bottle well before the preparation is given. Administer in small doses when you suspect that you have dengue fever.

    Note: If the bitterness of the leaves bother you, you can also mix the juice with other juices or coconut water. And remember to keep the body well hydrated to ease the effects of the fevers on the body cells. It is advised that one should try to have adequate amounts of water/fluids daily approximately 8 cups

  2. My experience says you should be cautious with (1) Your age, (2) dose frequency and concentration, (3) exact reason you are taking papaya leaf extract.
    This treatment might not be so innocuous as most say. A few years ago I was told it was good for (Zika or chikungunya?) and used it twice. The next morning I awoke with tingling in my leg.
    I knew that could be an indication of impending stroke and compensated.
    It is apparent papaya leaves work by clotting the blood. So be very careful if you do not have a bleeding problem and if you are old.
    Keep in touch with your doctors to clarify these issues.

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