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Herbal Therapies Used by People Living With HIV: Isatis

Part of A Practical Guide to Herbal Therapies for People Living With HIV

2004

Isatis
Isatis (Isatis tinctoria) is an herb related to mustard. Early Europeans made blue dyes with isatis and also applied it to skin wounds. An important plant in Chinese medicine, the plant's roots and leaves are often used to treat conditions of "toxic heat," or the early stage of an infection, when a person's fever might be quite high and the individual feels very ill. Herbs used to treat these conditions were usually used for a short period of time, and many of these herbs have since been shown to have antiviral properties. As with other traditional Chinese remedies, such herbs were usually used in combination with others.

Several clinical studies done in China suggest that isatis is an effective treatment for viral infections. It has been successfully used to treat both hepatitis B and herpes. Based on these studies, many Chinese practitioners add isatis to the formulas they use to treat HIV.

There appears to be little available English information on its side effects, but it has a reputation for being a potent herb that should be used only for short periods. And this reputation suggests that, ideally, it be used under the supervision of a practitioner experienced in traditional Chinese medicine.

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This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 

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