Several clinical studies have been conducted on the therapeutic effects of papaya leaf.
Some studies show that papaya seeds are toxic for the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, while other clinical trials have demonstrated that papaya leaves show significant ability to prevent destruction of red blood cells and they also help to increase platelet levels. This is due to their active ingredient carapaine.
Another component of papaya leaf extract tablet is papain which is a proteolytic enzyme that helps promote digestion and helps to boost immunity.
Fresh leaf extract taken in juice form during the course of dengue infection has shown increase in platelet levels, but this is not always available or convenient. The leaves by themselves taste bitter, hence presenting them in a more palatable form helps patients to consume them more easily.
Caricin tablets which are an Ayurvedic medicine for viral fever, especially dengue, help to provide relief in some of the symptoms and also to reduce the fever level. Carpaine, found in papaya, has anti-viral properties and hence is helpful in combating viruses.
There are no side effects but it is important to monitor blood glucose levels regularly while taking this medication as studies have shown, if you are on oral medications for diabetes, there is a slight risk of hypoglycemia while taking papaya leaf extract.
Hypersensitivity and pregnancy are contra-indications. People who are taking blood thinners such as warfarin or aspirin must exercise caution.
Caracin papaya leaf extract tablets can be purchased at Kerala Ayurveda’s online store.
Studies report that currently, nearly 3.5 billion people that comprise half the world’s population face the risk of contracting dengue fever. This deadly disease accounts for nearly 10,000 deaths worldwide every year, with almost 70% of incidence occurring in the world’s tropical zone, especially in countries like India and Brazil. Previously known as “dengue hemorrhagic fever”, it is currently the leading cause of hospitalization for both adults and children living in these areas.
Since there is no specific treatment for dengue, the only advice is for patients to get plenty of rest, consume plenty of fluids and take paracetamol to reduce fever and pain. However, ibuprofen and aspirin should never be taken as they increase the risk of bleeding. Maintenance of circulating fluid volume is important and that is why it can be better managed in hospital surroundings. Alternative systems of management help to reduce the symptoms and intensity of attack.
Causes of Dengue Fever
According to the definition given by the WHO, dengue is a viral, mosquito-borne pandemic disease that flourishes in urban locations, especially in poorer suburbs, in tropical/subtropical climate.
The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is the transmitter (vector) and the human being is both victim and source of infection in the complete life-cycle of the dengue virus. The virus is passed to humans via the bites of the mosquito that has previously fed on an infected human. There are four main serotypes of the Flavivirus virus (DEN 1-4) that causes this disease, including the distinct Asian varieties which are of a more severe type. One of the biggest issues that medical sciences face is that this virus undergoes frequent mutations.
Severe flu-like symptoms (known as “break-bone fever” of temperatures in the range of 104° F/40° C) are accompanied by excruciating headache, pain behind the eyes, swollen lymph glands, nausea/vomiting, rash on the body and face, muscle and joint pain. These last for between 2-7 days following a 4-10 day incubation period on being bitten by a mosquito.
The main complications and risk to life are due to plasma leakage, accumulation of fluid in the organs and tissues, organ failure, respiratory distress and severe bleeding. If the patient complains of severe abdominal pain, rapid breathing, bleeding from gums and nose, restlessness, fatigue, blood in stools and vomit, it’s crucial to get medical advice. Sudden drop in temperature during the critical stage of the first 24-48 hours is a warning sign.
The patient’s platelet count can drop drastically. Platelets help to form clots and stop bleeding and the dengue virus attacks and destroys platelets. If the count drops to below 100,000 per unit volume, this is a medical emergency. However, patients can get help by taking Ayurvedic treatment for dengue fever that helps to increase platelet count.
Papaya tablet for dengue fever and papaya extract tablet are useful components in the Ayurvedic treatment for dengue
Ayurveda’s View of Dengue Fever
Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the three factors in balance that sustain life and promote good health according to Ayurveda. Diseases are manifestations of any imbalance or vitiation of these three factors.
According to an ancient Ayurvedic text the Madhava Nidhana which describes dengue in the Parishtitha chapter, it is termed Dandaka Jwara.
It comes under the category of Abhishangaja jwaras of a primarily Pitta pathology. The complications fall under the classification of Raktaja and Sannipathaja jwaras.
Jwaras are disease conditions that affect the body, mind and senses simultaneously. They harm the intelligence, strength, complexion and energy of the affected person, causing fatigue, loss of appetite and debilitation. Jwara has its origin in Amashaya and Agnimandya which cause Santapa (high body temperature), dehydration and body ache. Most viral and bacterial infections cause jwara. However, Jwara may be a disease in itself, being caused by an imbalance of Vata, Pitta, Kapha, or it may be a symptom of another disease.
Fevers or jwaras are also classified according to the season, for instance, fevers that occur during the monsoon season are termed “Vataja Jwara” while those occurring just before the onset of winter are termed “Pittaja Jwara” and fevers that occur in spring are termed “Kaphaja Jwara.”
Jwaras are of great importance in Ayurveda and is considered to be the chief among diseases since it attacks the living body at both birth and death.
Dengue is considered to be a Sannipataj Jwara which means it is in an advanced stage of a Vata-Pittaja type of Jwara. It is characterized by sudden onset, fever, headache, joint pains, rashes. The recommended treatment is on similar lines as for other Vata-Pittaja Jwaras, where the common symptoms seen are severe thirst, dizziness/fainting, burning sensation and sleep disturbance. These symptoms are characteristic of the imbalance of Vata and Pitta doshas.
In the initial stages, patients are kept on a light diet with rest and hydration. Specific medications are prescribed to bring down the fever and these are for a period of one week. There are important lifestyle and food restrictions to be followed during this period. If the patient fails to respond at this stage, management of dhatus (tissues) such as rasa, rakta, meda, asti, majja, shukra and mamsa is recommended.
Following clinical tests and investigations, if dengue is established, the line of treatment followed is based on management of the patient’s health till the duration that the virus remains in the body.
There is no specific Ayurvedic medicine for dengue , but Ayurveda emphasizes strengthening the immune system and in taking steps to control the fever.
Certain herbs and plants like Amrita (gudduchi), Tulsi (holy basil) Shunti (dry ginger) and Papaya (Carica papaya) are used in fever management. These products are reported to work on the body’s biochemical pathways and can influence several organ systems simultaneously.
Dietary recommendations are complementary to these. Avoid spicy/oily/difficult to digest foods. Rice gruel (kanji), rice and lentil porridge (khichdi), can be taken and they should be prepared using ginger and lemon. Frequent sips of tea brewed with tulsi, ginger and cardamom every two hours helps to maintain fluid levels.
Other recommendations include taking coriander leaves steeped in warm water, Vitamin C rich fruits like Amla (gooseberry), Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa), chewing tulsi leaves frequently, while dhatura herbs can be taken after consulting an Ayurveda practitioner. Fruit juices like pomegranate and grape juice are also helpful.
Papaya extract tablet has been shown to induce rapid increase of platelet count and this can be a valuable adjunct in disease management.
Though the plant itself is not mentioned in ancient classical texts as it is not of Indian origin, ongoing research by modern practitioners provides information on its qualities and uses. The medicinal properties, rasas, gunas and karmas have been gradually studied and documented.
Papaya has been named Eranda karkati (castor cucumber) since the leaves resemble the castor plant while the fruits look like cucumbers.
Different parts of the plant are thought to have different medicinal qualities and regular consumption of papaya leaf tablets under the guidance of a highly experienced, knowledgeable Ayurvedic practitioner have shown strong empirical evidence of being able to increase platelet count and provide greater immunity.
Hence dengue Ayurvedic treatments focus on the management of the patient’s condition and building up their strength and resistance.