Can papaya plant leaves cure dengue? There is no scientific answer to this question, but the use of papaya leaves has grown phenomenally in the capital in the past few weeks as the mosquito-borne disease saw a spurt, claiming at least five lives in the national capital. Over 900 cases have been reported so far.
The leaves, which are said to increase dipping platelet counts, are a much sought- after product these days in Delhi nurseries — so much so that many residents said that papaya leaves have been disappearing from their localities.
Vikram Saini, director of the Masjid Nursery at Pandara Road in south Delhi, said there were many people who came to buy the papaya plant.
YC Singh of Greenways Nursery at Lado Sarai said that at least 20-25 people came in a week to buy papaya plants.
“The number of people coming to buy the plant is increasing. We sell a papaya seedling for Rs 20, and the plant for Rs 25,” he said.
Doctors, however, said there were no scientific studies to prove that papaya plant leaves could cure dengue or increase the blood platelet count.
“I have witnessed this phenomenon for the last 10 years. A lot of patients tell me that they have benefited but this is yet to be proved scientifically,” said Suronjit Chattejee of Indraprashtha Apollo Hospitals.
Patients, however, say they have found immense benefit from papaya leaves.
“When my son was diagnosed with dengue last month, neighbours advised me to give him papaya leaves to increase the platelet count. It was miraculous,” said Anuradha Gupta, a mother of two young boys.
Krishna Satpathy, who herself recovered from a bout of dengue fever, said papaya plant leaves were much in demand.
“When my maid also got dengue, I tried to get the leaves for her. But I couldn’t find it in my neighbourhood. I had to approach my gardener, who went to a nursery in west Delhi to get it,” said Satpathy.
Preeti Chabra, senior consultant (Ayurveda) at Sir Ganga Rama Hospital, said, “A lot of patients have told me that they were taking it. I am not stopping them. But it’s not mentioned in the classical Ayurvedic text,” she added.
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