PA­PAYA LEAF EX­TRACT AS A DENGUE CURE?

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FEATURES/APPRECIATION - By L.B. Se­naratne

What is this hul­la­baloo, to say it in col­lo­quial terms about eat­ing leaves. Did Dr. Rohan Wijekoon say the leaves should be eaten raw - No. He wanted the ten­der leaves cooked or in a form that is eat­able. There is noth­ing wrong, be­cause ac­cord­ing to my grand­mother, dur­ing the 1800’s se­vere drought, the yams of wa­ter lil­lies were boiled and then tied around the waste and then when they were hun­gry, th­ese boiled yams were eaten

Over the years leaves have been part and par­cel of the life of ru­ral Sri Lanka. There were Home gar­dens in prac­ti­cal ev­ery home in ru­ral ar­eas and they par­took the leafy veg­eta­bles from th­ese gar­dens. Even man­ioc leaves are dried for a day and then cooked for a meal. They have been used as medic­i­nal herbs as well. So we now come to Pa­paya tested out now as a rem­edy for Dengue.

There is now an on-go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion on leaf ex­tract from fresh Pa­paya for hema­to­log­i­cal pa­ram­e­ters and tox­i­co­log­i­cal changes for treat­ing Dengue.

This ques­tion was touched at a “Work­shop on Dengue “or­ga­nized by the Fac­ulty of Medicine, Per­adeniya. This was in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ‘ Cen­tre of Re­search in Trop­i­cal Medicine “.

For two hours ex­perts in the area of Dengue spoke at the Se­nate Room of the Univer­sity of Per­adeniya. Their opin­ion was that Dengue would have in most peo­ple, but it is the se­ri­ous ones that has come out into the open.the speak­ers were Dr. R.M. Abeyratne, Pro­fes­sor MS.F. No­ordeen, Dr. Udaya Rala­panawa, Pro­fes­sor Ananda Jayas­inghe and Dr. R.M. Mudiyanse.

In 2016, there had been 54,945 cases re­ported while only 75 have died. It was pointed out that most would be hav­ing the dis­ease and would have over­come even with­out their knowl­edge. Pro­fes­sor MS.F. Nordeen spoke on the re­search con­ducted and that this has been con­ducted on Dengue at the Fac­ulty of Medicine in the Univer­sity.

The re­search on Pa­paya ex­tract was car­ried out by a team, Sin­halagoda Lekam­lege, Chandi Asoka, Dhar­maratne, Susiji Wickramasinghe, Roshia Waduge, Jayanthi Ra­japakse, and Se­nanayake Ku­laratne.

The study was to eval­u­ate the ef­fect of hema­to­log­i­cal, bio­chem­i­cal and tox­i­col­ogy changes in mice af­ter the ad­min­is­tra­tion of pa­paya leaf ex­tract, as one of medic­i­nal plants which has been used world­wide as a rem­edy food, cos­metic and widely cul­ti­vated around the world.

Peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas have used pa­paya leaf, as an alternative to treat dengue and dengue hae­m­or­rhagic fever. They be­lieve this plant’s leaves can in­crease the platelet level of dengue pa­tients shortly af­ter re­ceiv­ing juice boiled or raw of the leaves, says the re­searchers.

The re­searchers in their com­ments say that it is an in­ter­est­ing study of the ef­fect of pa­paya leaf ex­tracts. The find­ing are also im­pres­sive, they add, would be useful for continuous study re­lated to pa­paya leaf, which could be an alternative to treat dengue and malaria fever in­stead of pre­scrip­tion drugs.

The Pa­paya plant is laltif­er­ous as it con­tains spe­cial­ized cells known as lac­t­ifers that oc­cur in most tis­sues and se­crete la­tex. Lac­t­i­fiers se­crete la­tex and are dis­persed through­out most plant tis­sues. The Pa­paya-la­tex is well known for be­ing a rich source of the four cys­teine en­dopep­ti­dases namely pa­pain, chy­mopa­pain, gly­cyl en­dopep­ti­dase and car­i­cain. Leaves con­tain an al­ka­loid called carpaine and a glu­co­side named car­po­side. Dif­fer­ent parts of the pa­paya plants in­clud­ing fruit, dried fruit, leaves, dried leaves, stems, seeds and roots have long been used as ingredients in alternative medicine. For in­stance, the seeds are used for ex­pelling worms and roots and seeds are used as an abor­ti­fa­cient agent. The leaves (es­pe­cially fallen ones) are used var­i­ously for the treat­ment of fevers, pyrexia, di­a­betes, gon­or­rhea, syphilis, in­flam­ma­tion and as a dress­ing for sep­tic wounds.

Untested herbal medicines could be po­ten­tially in­ju­ri­ous to hu­man health. Many plants used in tra­di­tional and folk medicines are po­ten­tially toxic, mu­ta­genic, and car­cino­genic. Tox­i­co­log­i­cal stud­ies of ex­tracts from dif­fer­ent parts of pa­paya plants such as seeds, fruit, roots and leaves have been car­ried out us­ing sev­eral an­i­mal mod­els. Acute and chronic tox­i­c­i­ties of un­ripe fruit of the C.pa­paya have been doc­u­mented. Some of the tra­di­tional claims of ef­fi­cacy that have been in­ves­ti­gated sci­en­tif­i­cally us­ing an­i­mal mod­els and their ef­fi­cacy have been proven. Re­cent stud­ies showed that C.pa­paya leaf ex­tract has po­ten­tial anti- sick­ling (in­hi­bi­tion of sickle cell for­ma­tion) prop­er­ties. In­dran et al. have shown that there is a pro­tec­tive ef­fect against gas­tric ul­cers in rats. More­over, C.pa­paya flow­ers are known to have an­tibac­te­rial ac­tiv­i­ties[15]. The con­tra­cep­tive ef­fi­cacy of the seeds of C.pa­paya has been ear­lier demon­strated in rats, mice and rab­bits. Oral ad­min­is­tra­tion of C.pa­paya seed ex­tract could in­duce re­versible male in­fer­til­ity and could be used for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal de­vel­op­ment of a male con­tra­cep­tive.

To­day, the re­searchers say, many trop­i­cal and sub­trop­i­cal coun­tries are en­gulfed by dengue in­fec­tion which is caused by viruses be­long­ing to the Fla­viviri­dae fam­ily. There is no spe­cific ther­apy for dengue even though the in­fec­tion has a sig­nif­i­cant mor­tal­ity. Sri Lanka is no ex­cep­tion where, dengue in­fec­tion is a pri­or­ity for the na­tional health ser­vices for preven­tion and re­duc­ing mor­tal­ity. In des­per­a­tion, many peo­ple have re­sorted to use pa­paya leaf ex­tract covertly. This is applicable even to hos­pi­tal­ized dengue pa­tients. How­ever, rec­om­mend­ing C. pa­paya leaf ex­tract for dengue in­fec­tion is un­eth­i­cal un­til it is proven by sci­en­tific re­search. There­fore, in the present study, we have in­ves­ti­gated the ef­fects of oral in­take of pure ex­tract of C. pa­paya leaves on haema­to­log­i­cal/bio­chem­i­cal pa­ram­e­ters and tox­i­co­log­i­cal changes in the murine model. 2. Ma­te­ri­als and meth­ods 2.1. Ex­per­i­men­tal an­i­mals Male white mice (av­er­age body weight 32-33 g) 6 weeks old, ob­tained from the Med­i­cal Re­search In­sti­tute, Sri Lanka were used as the model for haema­to­log­i­cal and tox­i­co­log­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

An­i­mals were kept in the an­i­mal house of the Fac­ulty of Medicine, Univer­sity of Per­adeniya. Three ex­per­i­men­tal tri­als were con­ducted dur­ing May 2011 to May 2012 us­ing three sets of mice. Mice were di­vided into two groups, con­trol and test, in all three tri­als. For the first and se­cond tri­als, we used 48 mice (for each trial 12 mice/ con­trol and 12 mice/test) and for the third trial, 36 mice were used (18 con­trol and 18 test). All mice were given a stan­dard com­mer­cial diet with free ac­cess to wa­ter. All mice in both test and con­trol groups were num­bered by ear tat­too­ing. The first trial was a pilot study to plan a proper study where the fol­low­ing vari­ables were con­sid­ered-dose of C. pa­paya leaf ex­tract, tim­ing of blood sam­pling and histopatho­log­i­cal changes in liver. The se­cond trial re­fined the method­ol­ogy and the third pro­vided the re­sults pre­sented here. Eth­i­cal clear­ance was ob­tained from the Eth­i­cal Re­view Com­mit­tee of the Fac­ulty of Vet­eri­nary Medicine and An­i­mal Sci­ence, Univer­sity of Per­adeniya, Sri Lanka.

The re­search is on­go­ing at the Fac­ulty of Medicine and Vet­eri­nary Sci­ence of the Univer­sity of Per­adeniya on Dengue.

Peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas have used pa­paya leaf, as an alternative to treat dengue and dengue hae­m­or­rhagic fever. They be­lieve this plant’s leaves can in­crease the platelet level of dengue pa­tients

Sri Lanka is no ex­cep­tion where, dengue in­fec­tion is a pri­or­ity for the na­tional health ser­vices for preven­tion and re­duc­ing mor­tal­ity. In des­per­a­tion, many peo­ple have re­sorted to use pa­paya leaf ex­tract covertly

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