South Africa: Study to Test Effectiveness of Medicinal Plants in Treating AIDS
September 6, 2007
Scientists at the recent African Traditional Medicine Conference in Durban announced a study to determine whether a medicinal plant can be used to halt HIV's progression to AIDS. Some 124 HIV patients will participate in the trial of the Sutherlandia plant, also called "unwele" or "cancer bush," at Edenvale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal province.
Professor Nceba Gqaleni of the University of KwaZulu-Natal told SAfm radio that traditional healers have participated in the conception and design of the trial, which will be the first to study the effectiveness of traditional medicine in delaying the onset of AIDS in HIV patients. Traditional healers claim Sutherlandia boosts the immune system.
The study is a joint initiative of the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, and Missouri. Only patients in the early stages of HIV will participate in the study. Initial results are expected in about 18 months.
South African scientists are divided on the healing potential of Sutherlandia, although some AIDS hospices in the country use it to treat symptoms, with anecdotal reports of good results. It is already available in tablet form.
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.