The Health Ministry is still conducting studies on the use of papaya leaf juice to cure dengue fever, said its director-general, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said clinical studies by the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) on the papaya leaf juice on a dengue fever patient (non-haeomorhagic dengue fever and class one dengue haemorrhagic fever) showed that the intake of 30 millilitre (ml) or two large spoonful of matured papaya leaf juice daily for three days raised the platelet count.
"The hike in platelet is only one of numerous processes taking place in a patient suffering from dengue fever.
"Studies are still being conducted on the use of papaya leaf juice for dengue fever. The ministry also does not provide papaya leaf juice in government hospitals," he said in a statement.
Dr Noor Hisham said this when commenting on a statement by certain parties that the papaya leaf contained dangerous chemicals, namely, syanogenic glycoside which could cause liver, kidney and heart failure and, subsequently, death.
According to Dr Noor Hisham, the papaya tree is grouped under weakcyanogenesis, namely, producing a small quantity of hydrogen cyanide (there are 0.02 milligrammes (mg) of cyanide in four papaya leaves and the amount goes down as a leaf increased in maturity).
He said the lowest cyanide dosage to endanger humans is one mg per kilogramme (kg) of body weight.
As such, he said, a person weighing 60 kg requires 12,000 papaya leaves at one time to induce poisoning.
"IMR has conducted a safety study by using the highest dosage of 2,000 mg for every kilogramme of body weight in laboratory animals.
"In the study, three intake methods were used, namely, only one dose, a dose daily for 28 days and one dose daily for 90 days. The result - no side effect to the kidney, liver and heart.
"The result of the blood test was normal while a specific study (hepatotoxicity study) on the liver was also normal," he said.