Herbal medicines for treating HIV infection and AIDS

National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, University of Tromso, Tromso, Norway, N-9037.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 02/2005; 3(3):CD003937. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003937.pub2
Source: PubMed


People with HIV infection or AIDS frequently seek alternative or 'complementary' therapies for their illness. Although many trials of these therapies exist, very few meet the scientific standards necessary to support the claims of beneficial effects in the therapies studied. This review identified nine randomized clinical trials, which tested eight different herbal medicines, compared with placebo, in HIV-infected individuals or AIDS patients with diarrhoea. The results showed that a preparation called SPV30 may be helpful in delaying the progression of HIV disease in HIV-infected people who do not have any symptoms of this infection. A Chinese herbal medicine, IGM-1, seems to improve the quality of life in HIV-infected people who do have symptoms. Another herbal compound ,SH, showed an increase of antiviral benefit when combined with antiretroviral agents. A South American herb preparation, SP-303, may reduce the frequency of abnormal stools in AIDS patients with diarrhoea. Other herbs tested were no better than placebo; however, the beneficial effects need to be considered with caution because the number of patients in these trials was small and the size of the effects quite moderate. In one trial the use of medicinal herbs was related to adverse effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort. Conclusion: No compelling evidence exists to support the use of the herbal medicines identified in this review for treatment of HIV infection and AIDS. To ensure that evidence is reliable, there need to be larger and more rigorously-designed trials.

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    • "People living with HIV use traditional medicine for a variety of causes, many related to the use of ART (e.g. poor and antagonistic effects, high cost and lack of availability) [5]. Despite the popularity of traditional medicine , choices by people living with HIV to utilize these types of therapies are often poorly informed [6]. "

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Biosciences and Medicines
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    • "PLWA in Ghana use TM alongside the ARTs. This is because of the availability and easy access to a wide variety of TM care, the intrinsic cultural beliefs and the freedom of patients to select and utilise treatment modality of their choice on one hand, and unsatisfactory effects, high cost, non-availability and adverse effects of use of conventional medicines on the other (Liu et al, 2005). Studies in South Africa report that about 70-80% of South Africans consult traditional healers (TH), especially PLWA (Kasilo, 2000; Department of Health, 2006; Peltzer et al, 2007; Hughes et al, 2012) whereas up to 90% of Ugandans utilise the services of traditional health care providers (Kamatenesi- Mugisha and Oryem-Origa 2005; Galabuzi et al, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to assess the use of traditional medicine by people living with HIV adhering to antiretroviral therapies in Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana. Using systematic random sampling technique, 62 HIV-seropositive persons were selected from outpatient departments in three public hospitals and interviewed via interviewer administered questionnaire. Data were subjected to descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression through PASW for Windows application programme, version 17.0. The findings suggest that traditional medicine was commonly accessed for HIV/AIDS (33, 53.2%) and herbal therapy remained frequently used form of traditional medicine (23, 70%). Traditional medicines were mainly used for appetite (90.9%), pain relief (87.9%), stress relief (63.6%) and general wellbeing (75.8%). Most participants (93.9%) did not disclose traditional medicine use for HIV/AIDS to their orthodox medical providers. Multivariate logistic regression on demographics identified educational attainment (P=0.013), residence (P=0.001) and employment history (P=0.043) as significant with use of traditional therapies. An evaluation of traditional healers' role in managing HIV/AIDS is exigent and should be brought into a sharp focus. However, concomitant traditional medicine use with antiretroviral therapies has the propensity for drug interactions and should be discussed routinely in antiretroviral therapy counselling sessions.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013
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    • "Compared to a previous paper [10], we identified 6 new RCTs and successfully updated the evidence. The results of our paper are similar to that of the previous paper [10], which also expressed concern regarding the beneficial effects need to be considered with caution because the number of patients in these trials was small and the size of the effects quite moderate. "
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the effects of TCHM on patients with HIV infection and AIDS, we reviewed eleven randomized placebo-controlled trials involving 998 patients. Due to the limited number of RCTs for included trials and the small sample size of each study, we are not able to draw firm conclusions concerning TCHM therapy in treating patients with HIV infection and AIDS. However, some high-quality clinical studies do exist. Studies of diarrhea and oral candidiasis, which are challenging symptoms of AIDS, were demonstrated to have positive effects. Study of peripheral leukocytes, which are a side effect of antiretroviral drugs, suggested that an integrated treatment approach may be of benefit. The overall methodological quality of the trials was adequate; however, randomization methods should be clearly described and fully reported in these trials according to the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT).
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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