|RE: Echinacea - info to avoid if HIV+
Nov 29, 1999
The HIV+ should be wary of herbal and other supplements
that say the "boost" or "activate" the immune system.
One problem with HIV, and one of the ways it creates the
conditions needed for continued replication are
precisely to put the immune system into a state of
hyperactivation that is actually harmfull.
As reguards Echinacea specifically, it has been shown
to increase Tumor Necrosis Factor, (TNF) and IL-6 which I
believe are pro-inflamatory cytokines that may be associated
with accelerated HIV replication. Many alternative-medicine
HIV proponents recommend against the use of this herb by the
HIV positive for more than a 2 week period during colds,
See the following:
Int J Immunopharmacol 1997 Jul;19(7):371-9
Echinacea-induced cytokine production by human macrophages.
Burger RA, Torres AR, Warren RP, Caldwell VD, Hughes BG
...Cytokine production was measured by ELISA after
18 h of incubation for IL-1 and 36 and 72 h for TNF-alpha,
IL-6, and IL-10. Macrophages cultured in concentrations of
echinacea as low as 0.012 microgram/ml produced
significantly higher levels of IL-1, TNF-alpha, IL-6 and
IL-10 (P < 0.05) than unstimulated cells....
Things like Astragalus and Ligustrum in small amounts
however seem to just stimulate the PRODUCTION of more
immune progenitor cells and their maturation. So they
are helpful used sparingly and in an on/off cycle.
But avoid things that put the immune system into a
"state of activation".
| Response from Dr. Dieterich
Thank you for that enlightening message. Immune activation like with IL 2 is also not advisable unless the HIV is under total control. Douglas T. Dieterich, M.D.
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