Platelets, aka thrombocytes, are one of the three primary types of cells that are found in the human blood — the other two are red blood cells (RBC) and white blood cells (WBC). The main function of platelets is to respond to any injury in blood vessels by clumping together to plug up the wound and prevent bleeding.
The normal platelet count in adults is between 150,000 and 450,000 per microliter of blood. People who have fewer than 150,000 platelets per microliter of blood may be suffering from a medical condition known as thrombocytopenia.(1)
There are different causes of thrombocytopenia, or low platelet count, such as disorders of the blood or immune system, viral infections, alcohol and certain drugs, etc.
Various treatment options are available for thrombocytopenia based on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. A lot of times, changing your diet and eating the right types of foods can lead to a significant improvement.(2)
Many dietary supplements that are used to maintain healthy platelet levels are also available on the market, and among these, papaya leaf extract tops the list of natural platelet boosters.
Papaya And Its Proven Medicinal Benefits
Papaya is an edible tropical fruit of the Carica Papaya tree, which is native to the tropics of the Americas. The fruit and seeds of this plant are used in various dishes around the world.
Both the fruit and leaves of papaya have been shown to have many health benefits. The leaves and leaf extract in particular have the highest medicinal value as they contain numerous bioactive compounds that possess antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects.
The following are some of the benefits of papaya leaves that have been proven in clinical studies:
- Increase blood platelet count.(3, 4, 5, 6)
- Boost immune function.(7)
- Help fight cancer and tumor growth.(7, 8, 9)
- May treat dengue fever.(4, 10)
- Combat oxidative stress.(11)
Papaya Leaf Extract to Increase Platelets Naturally
Several studies (see links above) have shown promise regarding the platelet-boosting effect of papaya leaf extract, particularly in patients with dengue fever (a viral infection that causes bleeding and low levels of blood platelets).
It is not clear if this herb increases platelet production or works to promote platelet levels by another mechanism, neither is it proven to be beneficial for all cases of thrombocytopenia.
Consumer feedback seems to be mostly positive, and many people who suffer from Idiopathic/Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) have reported a significant increase in their platelet count following supplementation. However, a considerable number of users also reported that this supplement had no noticeable results for them.
Please note that papaya leaf is not intended to cure thrombocytopenia or any other disease. It has been shown to reduce platelet aggregation and cause a temporary rise in the number of platelets in blood for some individuals.
More studies are needed to determine if this is an effective long-term treatment for people with abnormally low platelet count.
While the mechanism of action and efficacy have not been fully established yet, there is enough evidence to suggest that papaya leaf is at least worth trying.
Is Papaya Leaf Extract Safe?
Generally, yes, papaya leaves and extracts are considered safe when consumed as directed by a health care professional or as recommended on the product label.
There are no known remarkable side effects, however, certain risks have been noted, which include the following:
- Pregnant women should avoid consuming papaya as it may induce abortion.
- People with diabetes should be watchful as papaya may lower blood sugar.
- People allergic to papain or other components of papaya should avoid it.
- Children with cystic fibrosis (CF) should not be given papaya supplements without a doctor’s approval.
- Papaya is a natural blood thinner, so people who take blood thinning medication should consult with their doctor before taking papaya.
Papaya supplements can be found in most nutrition stores in various forms and concentrations. One of the leading brands of papaya leaf extract is Herbal Goodness.
Herbal Goodness is a manufacturer and supplier of herbal and super fruit products based in McKinney, TX, USA. They are known for their premium quality, organic, non-GMO papaya leaf supplements.
They offer a variety of pure papaya leaf extract supplements including veggie capsules, juice liquid, tea bags, as well as a proprietary Blood Support formula which combines several herbal compounds that promote optimal blood health and platelet function.
You can learn more about Herbal Goodness and buy their best-selling papaya leaf supplements through their official website.