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Feature Infectious Diseases

Ebola: an opportunity for a clinical trial?

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 06 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4997

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Papaya leaf extract is now proven to be effective for dengue fever. (Not merely by increasing the platelet count). The pathology of Ebola virus seems to be similar to that of Dengue fever. Especially when considering the endothelial dysfunction and the hemorrhagic stage. Therefore I strongly feel that Papaya leaf extract will benefit Ebola patients. Researches have shown many beneficial effects of carioca papaya leaf extract on human body which will benefits to fight viral infections. They include:-

1) Stimulation of the hematopoietic system which stimulates Platelet production, White Blood Cell production and Red Blood Cell production (1, 2, 3, 4).
2) In-vitro erythrocyte membrane stabilization properties (5, 6).
3) Stimulates the immune system which enhances the activity against the viral infection (7).
4) Direct anti-viral activity on dengue virus (8).
5) Animal studies have shown that it prevents chemically induced capillary leakage in Mice (9).
6) Preliminary studies conducted by Dr. Sanath Hettige have shown that Carioca papaya leaf extract prevents the drop in serum-Albumin levels in Dengue patients.
Randomize open label case control trial is on going to find out whether Carioca papaya leaf extract can prevent fluid leakage in Dengue fever (10).
7) Many toxicology studies have not shown any significant toxic effects even at higher doses (11).

I have been conducting extensive research with Papaya leaf extract from 2008 and hold the patent rights in Sri Lanka for two processes, willing to collaborate with any researcher or institute to try this on Ebola patients.

It could be given to Ebola patients about 30ml to 20ml 3 times a day as early as possible. For dengue the usual dose used in research settings is 20 ml twice a day.

Many dengue confirmed patients in Sri Lanka and in other Asian countries use this medication on their own accord. I have monitored many patients and they did not have any major side effects except for bitter induced vomiting.
Method of Papaya leaf extract preparation is given below.


Selection of leaf
1. Mature leaf from a fruit bearing tree.
2. The angle of the leaf stalk with the stem should be between 60 to 90 degrees.
3. The leaf should not be wrinkled due to dehydration
4. Leaf should be healthy (free of disease).
5. Whole leaf should be green in colour with no yellowing.
6. Preparation should be made within 6 hour of removing the leaf from the tree.

Method of preparation.

All the necessary equipments should be cleaned and sterilized before starting the procedure. Workers should be in well cleaned uniforms with gloves and masks.

1. Wash the leaves thoroughly, more than five times with running tap water
2. Remove the main stems of the leaves using a scissor
3. Wash the leaves once again with running tap water
4. Weigh the amount of the leaves - 100g
5. Cut the leaves in to pieces and wash it well with boiled cool water
6. Chop it into even smaller pieces
7. Put it in to the grinding machine little by little and grind it very well about 15minutes till you get a uniform pulp
8. Put the pulp in to the juice extractor and squeeze it till you get the pure papaya extract
9. Measure the amount of the juice you got- 50ml
10. Add 50ml cool boiled water with 50g of sugar in to the extracted pure juice and mix it very well
11. Add 30ml of juice extract each in to sterilized bottles and seal it by capping
12. Store it in the refrigerator under 4 ⁰C temperature
13. This preparation should be used within 24 hours. at4 ⁰C temperature.

1. Hettige, S. (2008). Salutary effects of carica papaya leaf extract in dengue fever patients - pilot study. Sri Lankan Family Physician. 29 (1), p17-19.

2. Hettige.S Dengue: an escalating problem /bmj/reply/2011/07/14/fe4b88000f32cb7b.atom.

3. Subenthiran, S., Choon, T.C., Cheong, K.C., Thayan, R., Teck, M.B., Muniandy, P.K., Afzan, A., Abdullah, N.R., Ismail, Z. (2013). Carica papaya leaves Juice significantly accelerates the rate of increase in platelet count among patients with Dengue fever and Dengue haemorrhagic fever. Evidence based complementary and alternative Medicine. 2013 (ID616737), 7pgs

4. Sathasivam, K., Ramanathan, S., Mansor, S. M., Haris, M. R. M. H., Wernsdorfer, W. H. (2009). Thrombocyte counts in mice after the administration of papaya leaf suspension. Wien Klin Wochenschr-The middle European Journal of Medicine. 121 (3), p19-22.

5. Ranasinghe, P., Ranasinghe, P., Abesekara, W.P.K.M., Premakumara, G.A.S., Perera, Y.S., Gurugama, P., Gunathilake, S.B. (2011). In-vitro erythrocyte membrane stabilization properties of carica papaya L. leaf extracts. 3rd international conference on medicinal plants and herbal medicines. Colombo, Sri Lanka.

6. Imaga, N.O.A., Gbenle, G.O., Okochi, V.I., Akanbi, S.O., Edeoghon, S.O., Oigbochie, V., Kehinde, M.O., Bamiro, S.B.. (2009). Anitisicking property of carica papaya leaf extract. African Journal of Biochemistry Research . 3 (4), p102-106.

7. Otsuki, N., Dang, N. H., Kumagai, E., Kondo, A., Iwata, S., Morimoto, C. (2010). Aqueous extract of carica papaya leaves exhibits anti-tumor activity and immunomodulatory effects. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 127, p760-767.

8. Flavonoid from carica papaya inhibits ns2bnS3 protease and prevents Dengue 2 viral assembly.
Senthilvel P, Lavanya P, Kumar KM, Swetha R, Anitha P, Bag S, Sarveswari S, Vijayakumar
V, Ramaiah S, Anbarasu A.Bioinformation.2013 Nov 11;9(18):889-95. PMID:24307765 PubMed]

9. Hettiarachchi, K., initials Year of publication, Guinea pig rats fed papaya leaf juice concentrate show intriguing results - Tests recording platelet count rise may give hope for dengue patients. Sunday Times, 15/07/2012. In press.
10. Controlled trial on effect of Carica papaya leaf extract on patients with Dengue Fever - SLCTR Registration Number SLCTR/2013/005.

11. Halim, S.Z., Abdullah, N.R., Afzan, A., Rashid, B.A.A., Jantan, I., Ismail, Z. (2011). Study of acute toxicity of carica papaya leaf extract in sprague dawley rats. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 5 (2), p1867-1872.

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 October 2014
Sanath Hettige
consultant family physician
Postgraduate Institute of Medicine University of Colombo Sri Lanka
Oil of Dermae Laboratories , 92 Wattegedera road Maharagama Srilanka