Following consensus derived from a meeting of pharmacy, medical and nursing professionals on Tuesday (September 29, 2020) evening, the Pharmaceutical Services, Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, is advocating the use of Papaya Leaf Extract in the management of Dengue Fever. This is based on evidence that the plant extract has proven to be effective and therefore useful in the improvement of patient outcomes in persons affected by the Dengue infection.

History of Papaya Leaf Extract to treat Dengue Fever

There are multiple studies which show that Papaya Leaf Extract is a valuable treatment option in Dengue Fever, due to its beneficial properties. Papaya leaf extract is now being widely used as a treatment for Dengue fever in many countries, in many cases with the approval of their health authorities e.g. Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan among other Asian countries.

Papaya Leaf Extract is becoming popular as an unlicensed herbal remedy purported to hasten recovery in dengue infection. The remedy is already in use in St Vincent and the Grenadines as a homemade preparation and is becoming an important adjunct treatment in the face of our present Dengue Fever Outbreak

Mechanism of action

The mechanisms by which pathophysiologic changes occur in dengue fever are still not fully understood and the outcome of treatment is influenced by intrinsic factors of the individual and the virus itself.

Simply put, the dengue virus can induce a low platelet count by suppressing the bone marrow and the virus complicates the situation by drawing nutrients from certain blood cells. This leads to the destruction of platelets. Platelets, pieces of a very large type of bone marrow cell, are found in the blood and spleen and help form blood clots to slow or stop bleeding. Papaya leaf extract seems to reverse all of these processes and the associated inflammation in quick time. Oral administration of papaya leaf extract was associated with an early rise in platelet count even as soon as 24 hours.

Benefits:

Papaya Leaf Extract shortens the duration of fever, illness and hospital stay and causes an elevation of the white cell count (WBC) and platelet counts. The mixture can be used safely in both adults and children. The Government Pharmaceutical Services has proposed two (2) formulations for the preparation of Papaya Leaf Extract as well as dosing guidelines.

The papaya plant grows all year round in St. Vincent making it easily available and accessible to all.

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