The immunomodulatory potential of papaya

Papaya (scientifically known as Carica papaya) has been traditionally used as an immunomodulatory remedy against various diseases. In order to validate this claim, researchers in Sri Lanka examined the immunomodulatory potential of mature papaya leaf concentrate. In their study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, they provided scientific evidence on the concentrate’s immunomodulatory effect using mice models.

  • Researchers orally administered the mature papaya leaf concentrate at doses of 0.18, 0.36, and 0.72 milligrams (ml) per 100 grams (g) of body weight (BW) to mice once a day for three consecutive days.
  • They looked at the effect of the treatment on the nonfunctional (enumeration of immune cells and cytokine levels) and functional (cell proliferation and phagocytic activity) immune responses.
  • They also evaluated the concentration’s side effects.
  • The oral administration of the papaya leaf concentrate significantly improved the mice’ counts of platelets, total leukocytes, lymphocyte and monocyte subpopulations, and bone marrow cells; these indicated the effectiveness of enhancing the immune system.
  • The highest dose of the treatment significantly reduced inflammatory cytokines, interleukin 6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), indicating the anti-inflammatory property of the mature papaya leaf concentrate.
  • The treatment also enhanced phagocytosis of peritoneal macrophages, indicating a modulation of functional immunity of mice. It also modulated cytokine responses.
  • The chemical profile of the mature papaya leaf concentrate revealed the presence of several immunomodulatory compounds.
  • The treatment was also found to be safe in terms of both hepatic and renal toxicities.

In conclusion, the mature papaya leaf concentrate is orally active and safe, and effectively modulates the immune response and inhibits pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

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Journal Reference:

Jayasinghe CD, Gunasekera DS, De Silva N, Jayawardena KKM, Udagama PV. MATURE LEAF CONCENTRATE OF SRI LANKAN WILD TYPE CARICA PAPAYA LINN. MODULATES NONFUNCTIONAL AND FUNCTIONAL IMMUNE RESPONSES OF RATS. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 26 April 2017; 17(230). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-1742-z

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