A new review study investigated the effects of herbal medicine in patients with HIV and AIDS and found some benefit.
Researchers from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in China systematically assessed the beneficial and harmful effects of herbal medicines in people with HIV infection and AIDS.
Based on a Cochrane review and updated searches, they identified the available evidence on herbal medicines compared with placebo or antiretroviral drugs in patients with HIV infection, HIV-related disease or AIDS.
Ten randomized controlled trials, involving 571 individuals with HIV infection or AIDS, met the inclusion criteria.
The authors noted that some herbal medicines, such as IGM-1, seem to be effective in symptom improvement, but generally no significant effect on antiviral or immunity enhancement among reviewed herbs was seen.
The authors reported that combined treatment of Chinese herbal medicine, SH and antiretroviral agents showed increased antiviral benefit compared with antiretrovirals alone.
The study authors concluded that there may be beneficial effects from some of the tested herbs but more evidence from larger studies is needed to support this evidence in the future.
For more information on integrative treatment options for HIV/AIDS, please visit Natural Standard's Medical Conditions and Comparative Effectiveness databases.
To comment on this story, please click HERE to enter the Natural Standard blog.
1) Liu J. The use of herbal medicines in early drug development for the treatment of HIV infections and AIDS. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2007 Sep;16(9):1355-64. VIEW ABSTRACT.
2) Natural Standard Research Collaboration: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.www.naturalstandard.com. Copyright © 2007.