Clinical trials done in Malaysia and India have come up with evidence to prove the efficacy of Carica papaya leaf in augmenting platelet count in patients with dengue fever.

In March this year, a Malaysian team comprising researchers from the Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur, and the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital, Klang, published a paper showing that Carica papaya leaf juice was capable of significantly increasing platelet count in patients with dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever.

Led by Soobitha Subenthiran, the clinical trial covered 228 patients from the dengue ward of the hospital, with half of them administered 50 gm of fresh papaya juice for three consecutive days and the other half receiving standard management.

Blood count

Their blood count was monitored for 48 hours and gene expression studies conducted.

The paper published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, an open access journal, showed a significant increase in mean platelet count in the intervention group but not in the control group, 40 hours after the first dose of the juice.

The ALOX 12 and PTAFR genes influencing platelet production and activation were strongly expressed in patients on the juice. Toxicity studies carried out by the team also showed that the juice was safe for human consumption.

A study conducted by a team from the K.M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy, Mumbai, and Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals, Chennai, found that Carica papaya leaf extract was capable of increasing the platelet count in rats administered a synthetic agent for low platelet count.