Bitter treatment: Papaya leaves can fight dengue,cancer

Till date,no medicine has been approved to treat the dengue virus.

Written by Ishi Khosla | Published:October 5, 2013 3:13 am

With the number of dengue cases in the country increasing,the traditional belief of curing it by papaya’s leaf juice has spread and suddenly there is a demand for the papaya tree.

So is this simply folklore or does this juice really help? Anecdotal evidence suggests that the extract of raw papaya leaf helps to boost platelets,also known as thrombocytes,and relieves symptoms.

Dengue fever,caused by the dengue virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes,can be fatal. Symptoms include high fever with headache,severe muscle pain,joint pain and red rashes on the body including itching.

Till date,no medicine has been approved to treat the dengue virus.

Traditionally,the juice of papaya leaf has been found to be useful in the treatment of dengue fever. Few recent studies have shown the effect of papaya leaf juice in curing the dengue fever. A recent one,done on five dengue patients by Indian Institute of Forest Management in 2012,found interesting observations. Among the five patients,papaya leaf juice was found to be effective in curing dengue. The platelet count increased in all five patients within 24 hours of drinking the papaya leaf juice. All of them reported significant improvement in health.

A 2009 study,done on mice in Malaysia,reported significant improvement in thrombocyte count in the group which received papaya leaf formulations compared to the control group. It seems that this bitter green juice is promising without posing any serious ill-effects. As a result,pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies began formulating papaya leaf extract preparations.

Interestingly,papaya leaf has also been found to possess powerful anti-malarial and anti-cancerous properties. In some parts of the world,papaya leaf extract is used as a prophylactic to prevent malaria in endemic regions.

According to published research in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology published in 2010,researchers from US and Japan discovered that enzymes found in papaya leaf have dramatic cancer fighting properties against a wide range of tumours including cervical cancer,breast cancer,liver cancer,lung cancer,and pancreatic cancer. According to the study,papaya leaves are not known to have toxic effects and their consumption goes without side effects. In fact,doctors are beginning to recommend papaya leaf tea as part of chemotherapy in some parts of the world.

These benefits may not be surprising as a study by Purdue University showed that papaya leaf consists over 50 active ingredients found to kill fungi,worms,parasites and bacteria. In addition,papaya leaves also contain important nutrients that support the immune system,including vitamins A,C,and E.

Papaya power

Traditionally,papaya leaf juice has been found to be useful in the treatment of dengue. Recent studies support the treatment

In some parts of the world,papaya leaf extract is used as a prophylactic to prevent malaria

Enzymes found in the leaf have dramatic cancer fighting properties against a wide range of tumours including cervix cancer,breast cancer,liver cancer,lung cancer,and pancreatic cancer

Doctors are beginning to recommend papaya leaf tea as part of chemotherapy in some parts of the world

Papaya leaf consists of over 50 active ingredients to kill fungi,worms,parasites and bacteria.

Also contains important nutrients that support the immune system,including vitamins A,C,and E

Consumption of papaya leaves is not known to have any toxic effects.

Ishi khosla is a former senior nutritionist at Escorts. She heads the Centre of Dietary Counselling and also runs a health food store. She feels that for complete well-being,one should integrate physical,mental and spiritual health. According to her: “To be healthy should be the ultimate goal for all.”

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