MANILA, Philippines - Papaya leaves can help dengue fever patients fully recover from their illness, a recent study showed.
Dr. Sanath Hettige, who conducted the research on 70 dengue fever patients, said papaya leaf juice helps increase white blood cells and platelets, normalizes clotting, and repairs the liver.
Speaking to Sri Lankan news agency Lankapuvath, Hettige said these are the main aspects of the body that are affected by dengue fever.
There is a condition to this remedy, however.
According to Hettige, the papaya leaf juice will not be as effective during the final stages of dengue fever since, by then, the patient's organs are already badly affected by the disease.
Given this, he suggested that patients consume the remedy as early as possible.
Hettige said adults should consume 10 ml of fresh papaya leaf juice (without water, salt or sugar) twice a day, along with their prescribed medication, to get its full effect.
Kids aged between 5 and 12, meanwhile, were asked to take in 5 ml 2 times a day.
Here's how to make papaya leaf juice, as told by Hettige to Lankapuvath:
1. Take fresh, mature leaves from a papaya tree. Leaves from the "Red Lady" papaya (papaw) variety are more effective.
2. Wash the leaves with clean water.
3. Crush the leaves in a pestle, without water or salt.
4. Squeeze the crushed leaves to extract the juice.
Durian also a cure?
Durian, known for its distinct taste and odor, is also rumored to be a cure for dengue fever. Like papaya leaves, durian is said to do wonders to a patient's platelet count.
In a hospital in Davao City, several dengue patients are consuming the fruit in hopes of recovering from the disease, a local newspaper reported over the weekend.
The Department of Health, however, said that no study has been conducted yet on the efficacy of durian on dengue fever cases.
"There's no established proof yet," Dr. Jo-anne Lobo, specialist in infectious diseases among children, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Dengue fever is an acute illness caused by a bite of a striped Aedes aegypti mosquito. In the Philippines, dengue fever outbreaks usually occur during the rainy season, or from June to September.
Common symptoms include fever, headache, rashes, severe muscle pain, and a drop in platelet count. In extreme cases, hemorrhaging and death can follow.