KUALA LUMPUR: Papaya leaf juice has been given a clean bill of health for dengue patients. The Health Ministry has denied claims that papaya leaves could cause liver, kidney or heart failure.
In a statement today, the ministry said local research had recorded an increase in platelet counts for normal dengue and hemorrhagic dengue class 1 patients who took papaya leaf juice.
The ministry’s statement was issued to dispel fears that papaya leaves contained a dangerous chemical cyanogenic glycoside which could cause death from liver, kidney or heart failure.
The statement pointed out that a person weighing 60kg would need to consumer 12,000 papaya leaves at one time to cause any acute poisoning.
“Cyanogenic glycoside or ‘bad sugar’ is contained in 2,000 species of plants, including food items such as tapioca, almonds, seeds, cinnamon, bamboo shoots, fruits that have kernels such as apricots, peaches, plums and cherries and others,” the statement said.
Papaya leaves contained only a tiny amoung of the chemical (0.02 mg in every four leaves). Tests by the Institute of Medical Research on lab animals had shown no side effects even with a dosage of 2000mg per kg of body weight.
“The results of the blood tests were normal,” the statement said.
The raw juice from boiled papaya leaves are a popular home therapy for dengue.
The ministry said clinical trials had shown an increase in platelet counts in dengue patients after three days of taking 30ml (two tablespoons) of juice from mature papaya leaves every day.
The platelet increase was just one of the processes that happens in a patient affected by dengue, and research was continuing on the use of papaya leaf juice. The health ministry does not provide papaya leaf juice at any of its hospitals, it said.