Intended for healthcare professionals

Clinical Review

Dengue: an escalating problem

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7353.1563 (Published 29 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1563

Papaya leaves for speedy rise of platelet count in Dengue

Dear Editor, we report here two cases of proven dengue (positive test
for dengue antigen in serum) who developed very low platelet count (30,000
in a 10 year old male and 29,000 in 14 year old male). The papaya leaves
were ground into paste and spoonful (4 hourly) was given to the patients
and the platelet count rose to 1,00,000 in 10 year old by evening i.e.
within 12 hours of initiating the treatment and 2,50,000 in the 14 year
old in two days. There is one study where a suspension of 15 mg /kg of
powdered Carica papaya leaves in palm oil was given to 5 mice and has been
investigated for its effect on thrombocyte counts in them. Equal numbers
of animals received corresponding volumes of either palm oil alone or
physiological saline solution. Thrombocyte counts before and at 1, 2, 4,
8, 10, 12, 24, 48 and 72 hours after dosing revealed significantly higher
mean counts at 1, 2, 4, 8, 10 and 12 after dosing with the C. papaya leaf
formulation as compared to the mean count at hour 0. There was only a non-
significant rise of thrombocyte counts in the group having received saline
solution1.

Recovery time from low platelet count is reported from 5-7 days after
platelet and blood transfusions2. However, the recovery time in both these
cases was 12-48 hrs that too without any platelet and blood transfusion.
Since I (NK) am a medical doctor and guardian of these children, therefore I
could decide this intervention. The Active principle substances in the
papaya leaves (responsible for the release and/or production of
thrombocytes) should be isolated and identified. And this intervention
should be evaluated in larger studies. This could help in a big way to the
resource poor setting and able to significantly reduce the hospital
expenditures and mortality with better prognosis and early recovery.

1. Sathasivam K, Ramanathan S, Mansor SM, Haris MR, Wernsdorfer WH.,
Thrombocyte counts in mice after the administration of papaya leaf
suspension. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2009 Oct;121 Suppl 3:19-220

2. Betty Chacko, Gayathri Subramanian. Clinical, Laboratory and
Radiological Parameters in Children with Dengue Fever and Predictive
Factors for Dengue Shock Syndrome. Journal of Tropical Pediatrics Vol. 54,
No. 2.

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 October 2010
Neeta Kumar
Scientist B
Neeru Gupta, K.K. Jani
Indian Council of Medical Research, Ansari Nagar, Delhi-110029