Busting myths: Will drinking papaya leaves juice, goat milk help increase blood platelets?

Rasika Parab, HOD-Nutrition therapy, Fortis Hospital, Mulund and Dr Rajeshwari Shetty, head of dietetics, SL Raheja Hospital busts various myths about home remedies for dengue patients

Busting myths: Will drinking papaya leaves juice, goat milk help increase blood platelets?

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes a severe flu-like ailment. Diseases like dengue can directly impact the platelet count in one’s body, which makes this fever life-threatening.

If affected by this virus, the platelet count can drop to as low as 20,000 – which can harm the immune system of the body. No vaccine can prevent dengue, and that is why natural and homemade remedies are vital for treating a dengue patient.

While various treatments are available on early detection, a common homemade remedy, which is believed to work like a miracle, is drinking the juice of papaya leaves and goat milk.

We all receive a plethora of information on social networking and messaging sites, some true and some false. We receive a lot of so-called fact-based messages, but, while believing them, caution needs to be taken. Here we help you to understand the facts from the fibs about dengue.

Does the juice of papaya leaves help?

Papaya and its leaves are a power-packed source of antioxidants, and it works wonders in boosting our immunity. Recent studies state that consuming approx. 25 ml of papaya leaf extract, diluted with water and sugar (if required), minimum twice a day helps to increase the platelet count. Papaya also contains Vitamin A and Vitamin C which makes this fruit rich in its nutrient contents.

Papaya leaf is rich in enzymes that increase the platelet count in the body. Antioxidant properties of papaya leaf extract make it beneficial against haemolysis (breaking down of red blood cells) effect of dengue virus and hence, it’s useful in treating dengue-induced thrombocytopenia (reduced platelet count). Thus, having freshly crushed papaya leaves work best and this extract should be consumed once or twice a day.

According to Ayurveda, due to imbalance in ones system, they catch the fever.  Papaya leaf juice is rich in anti-oxidants, heal wounds, bring down fever, boost protective white blood cells, and build the body’s immune system. Anything that is bitter and astringent will help one combat the disease. There are three herbs and plants that are particularly good, out of which, one is the papaya leaf juice.

Will drinking goat milk help?

Goat milk is known to help in recovery from dengue fever, but no evidence is related to its use in increasing the platelet count. Goat’s milk is rich in selenium (a mineral) and is beneficial anyway. But its effectiveness in dengue patients is unknown. In the books of Ayurveda, the goat’s milk help in recovering fast from dengue fever, as the milk is light and easy to digest. However, there is no mention of increasing the platelet count.

Papaya leaves juice extract is considered to be beneficial for dengue patients. But more scientific backing is needed to prove that it increases platelet count. However, similar claims are made for the goat’s milk but are still not proven scientifically to date.

Nutrients present in papaya leaves have proven to help reduce the adverse effects of dengue. There is enough evidence to show the beneficial effects of papaya juice in the treatment of dengue. It is an ancient home remedy which is followed for ages. Also, it does not have any side-effects.

Many traditional healers suggest that goat milk may be beneficial to people infected with dengue. However, allopathic doctors are not very impressed with the efficiency of goat milk for treating dengue.