Papaya leaves have long been considered a natural cure for Dengue and Malaria. And at the same time many say it's an old wive's tale with no scientific proof.

The plant does contain phytochemicals (which might be the reason behind the supposed medical property), but as far as I know, its mechanism isn't scientifically understood, as Wikipedia says:

In some parts of the world, papaya leaves are made into tea as a treatment for malaria, but the mechanism is not understood and no treatment method based on these results has been scientifically proven.

Yet two of my friends were prescribed papaya leaf juice by a doctor when they were diagnosed with Dengue in order to increase their platelet count.

Recently I read about an anti-Dengue papaya supplement that could combat the Zika virus. Once again I find no scientific proof for the claim.

So is there scientific evidence to show that papaya has the ability to fight Dengue?

  • 1
    +1 to Chiu's awnser, I just thought I might mention something that you might also find interesting is some of the related work ICBG is doing. Though they aren't working with papaya, I recently saw some interesting data on Cyanobacteria. There is discussion of NCCIH putting out awards for extracts against Flaviviridae in general, but that hasn't happened yet. If it does, there maybe a lot more scientific information on this.
    – Atl LED
    Apr 14, 2016 at 15:01
  • @AtlLED thank you very much! This information is very useful for my project. You should post this as an answer.
    – user3394
    Apr 15, 2016 at 4:00
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    It doesn't actually answer your question however. I'm glad it helped, but I think this is exactly what comments are for--adding additional information to improve the discourse. If the research is funded, and results are published, I can come back and add an answer.
    – Atl LED
    Apr 26, 2016 at 14:39
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    Al plants contain phytochemicals, that's what the word means Mar 7, 2017 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


There's a review article on the effect of Papaya extracts in the treatment of Dengue fever, the main issue being thrombocytopaenia. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4071726/

The best data quoted from that paper says:

A study conducted in Malaysia had a more systematic approach in evaluating the use of papaya leaf juice in the treatment of dengue. The juice was obtained from the papaya leaves under hygienic conditions from trees that were grown without insecticides or pesticides. An open-labeled randomized controlled trial was conducted on 290 patients between the ages of 18 and 60 years with platelet counts ≤100,000/μL. The patients were confirmed to be suffering from dengue using a rapid dengue bedside test. Patients in the intervention group were administered fresh juice from 50 g of C. papaya leaves once a day 15 min after breakfast for 3 consecutive days. In addition, they received the standard treatment for dengue. The controls only received the standard treatment. The final analysis was conducted on 111 patients from the intervention group and 117 controls. The study found that there was a significant increase in the platelet counts in the intervention group at the end of 40 h when compared to the counts 8 h after the intervention began. This significant increase was not observed in the control group. An increase in arachidonate 12-lipoxygenase and the platelet-activating factor receptor gene expression was also observed in the intervention group. These genes are associated with increased platelet production.[7]

The study itself http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3638585/ concludes

the administration of CPLJ in DF and DHF is safe and does induce the rapid increase in platelet count. It may play a valuable role in the management of DF in the near future.

Carica papaya leaves juice (CPLJ). Patients with dengue fever (DF). Dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF).

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