Expert on Papaya Leaf Suggests Trials for Ebola

Dr Sanath Hettige, long-time researcher on the effects of papaya leaf on Dengue Fever, proposed publicly in the BMJ on October 2014 evidence to support and request a coordinated clinical trial “worth trying” on papaya leaf to combat Ebola fever.

The reasons for his proposal are summarized by the following research evidence: (excerpt from the BMJ 2014;349:g4997)


Papaya leaf extract is now proven to be effective for dengue fever. (Not merely by increasing the platelet count). The pathology of Ebola virus seems to be similar to that of Dengue fever. Especially when considering the endothelial dysfunction and the hemorrhagic stage. Therefore I strongly feel that Papaya leaf extract will benefit Ebola patients. Researches have shown many beneficial effects of carioca papaya leaf extract on human body which will benefits to fight viral infections. They include:-

1) Stimulation of the hematopoietic system which stimulates Platelet production, White Blood Cell production and Red Blood Cell production (1, 2, 3, 4).
2) In-vitro erythrocyte membrane stabilization properties (5, 6).
3) Stimulates the immune system which enhances the activity against the viral infection (7).
4) Direct anti-viral activity on dengue virus (8).
5) Animal studies have shown that it prevents chemically induced capillary leakage in Mice (9).
6) Preliminary studies conducted by Dr. Sanath Hettige have shown that Carioca papaya leaf extract prevents the drop in serum-Albumin levels in Dengue patients.
Randomize open label case control trial is on going to find out whether Carioca papaya leaf extract can prevent fluid leakage in Dengue fever (10).
7) Many toxicology studies have not shown any significant toxic effects even at higher doses (11).

Documented by studies below:

1. Hettige, S. (2008). Salutary effects of carica papaya leaf extract in dengue fever patients – pilot study. Sri Lankan Family Physician. 29 (1), p17-19.

2. Hettige.S Dengue: an escalating problem /bmj/reply/2011/07/14/fe4b88000f32cb7b.atom.

3. Subenthiran, S., Choon, T.C., Cheong, K.C., Thayan, R., Teck, M.B., Muniandy, P.K., Afzan, A., Abdullah, N.R., Ismail, Z. (2013). Carica papaya leaves Juice significantly accelerates the rate of increase in platelet count among patients with Dengue fever and Dengue haemorrhagic fever. Evidence based complementary and alternative Medicine. 2013 (ID616737), 7pgs

4. Sathasivam, K., Ramanathan, S., Mansor, S. M., Haris, M. R. M. H., Wernsdorfer, W. H. (2009). Thrombocyte counts in mice after the administration of papaya leaf suspension. Wien Klin Wochenschr-The middle European Journal of Medicine. 121 (3), p19-22.

5. Ranasinghe, P., Ranasinghe, P., Abesekara, W.P.K.M., Premakumara, G.A.S., Perera, Y.S., Gurugama, P., Gunathilake, S.B. (2011). In-vitro erythrocyte membrane stabilization properties of carica papaya L. leaf extracts. 3rd international conference on medicinal plants and herbal medicines. Colombo, Sri Lanka.

6. Imaga, N.O.A., Gbenle, G.O., Okochi, V.I., Akanbi, S.O., Edeoghon, S.O., Oigbochie, V., Kehinde, M.O., Bamiro, S.B.. (2009). Anitisicking property of carica papaya leaf extract. African Journal of Biochemistry Research . 3 (4), p102-106.

7. Otsuki, N., Dang, N. H., Kumagai, E., Kondo, A., Iwata, S., Morimoto, C. (2010). Aqueous extract of carica papaya leaves exhibits anti-tumor activity and immunomodulatory effects. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 127, p760-767.

8. Flavonoid from carica papaya inhibits ns2bnS3 protease and prevents Dengue 2 viral assembly.
Senthilvel P, Lavanya P, Kumar KM, Swetha R, Anitha P, Bag S, Sarveswari S, Vijayakumar
V, Ramaiah S, Anbarasu A.Bioinformation.2013 Nov 11;9(18):889-95. PMID:24307765 PubMed]

9. Hettiarachchi, K., initials Year of publication, Guinea pig rats fed papaya leaf juice concentrate show intriguing results – Tests recording platelet count rise may give hope for dengue patients. Sunday Times, 15/07/2012. In press.
10. Controlled trial on effect of Carica papaya leaf extract on patients with Dengue Fever – SLCTR Registration Number SLCTR/2013/005.

11. Halim, S.Z., Abdullah, N.R., Afzan, A., Rashid, B.A.A., Jantan, I., Ismail, Z. (2011). Study of acute toxicity of carica papaya leaf extract in sprague dawley rats. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 5 (2), p1867-1872.

“The BMJ’s [British Medical Journal] vision is to be the world’s most influential and widely read medical journal. Our mission is to lead the debate on health and to engage, inform, and stimulate doctors, researchers, and other health professionals in ways that will improve outcomes for patients. We aim to help doctors to make better decisions.”

Reference our blog suggesting the same from Sept 1, 2014: