Papaya. Just the right fruit if you are looking for a glowing, clear skin, a healthy bowel and a strong immune system. However, few of us know that Papaya leaves are packed with health benefits that may help save many a lives by supporting platelet production.
Papaya leaf extract has recently become the subject of several studies owing to its therapeutic value and scientists are intrigued by its potential benefit in supporting blood platelet count.
What Does Reduced Platelet Count Mean?
Platelets are tiny blood cells that have a very important job in your body. Whenever you get a cut or a bruise, platelets rush to the area, club together and form a clot that stops bleeding from the damaged blood vessel.
Thrombocytopenia or a reduced platelet count can decrease the body’s ability to clot blood in case of an injury and can lead to excessive bleeding. Certain viral infections, dengue, vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies and chemotherapy can cause a dip in platelets. Some painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines can also affect platelet production. A platelet count of less than 150,000 platelets per microlitre of blood is considered lower than normal.
Conventional treatment includes blood transfusion and medicines to improve platelet count, however recent research has shown promise in the use of papaya leaves in treating this condition.
Have We Found A Cure For Dengue-induced Low Platelet Count?
The Dengue virus affects the bone marrow, the flexible, soft tissue that fills up the hollow insides of our bones. Since platelets are produced in the bone marrow, dengue leads to a decrease in platelet count.
Recent studies have shown that papaya leaves contain complex substances that may support the release and production of platelets by the bone marrow. A breakthrough study by Dr. Sanath Hettige of Srilanka indicates that papaya leaf extract helps to "normalize clotting and repair liver damage caused by dengue".
Dr Hettige’s controlled clinical trials of about 70 dengue patients found that the patients who were given papaya leaf extract recovered fully within two days without hospital admission. In an interview to Srilanka's leading newspaper, The Sunday Observer, Dr. Hettige added that it is important to take papaya leaf juice at the early stages of dengue, before the disease progresses and damages vital organs.
Dr. Hettige is said to have submitted an application for patent rights for the use of papaya leaf extract as a cure for dengue.