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Anti-HIV Activity of Botanical Preparations

Study area
Botanical Medicine

Principal investigator

C Wenner
RY Ho, D Clanton, G Sivam, C Calabrese
Project period
August 1, 2000 - December 31, 2003
Funded by

A collaboration with the University of Washington School of Pharmacy.

Research Objectives
The long-term objective of this research is to develop and implement a systematic in vitro testing strategy to evaluate botanical medicines for HIV/AIDS treatment. Botanical therapy is in wide use as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) strategy by HIV-infected individuals. Although CAM practitioners commonly prescribe combination botanical regimens to HIV-positive patients, many of these agents have yet to be systematically evaluated for effectiveness, toxicity and interactions with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

Furthermore, different extract preparations of these botanical agents may contain varying levels of constituents active against HIV replication. The prevalent use of botanical agents with non-standardized constituent levels by the HIV-positive population calls for the systematic evaluation of anti-HIV activity of these agents for HIV/AIDS treatment.

Therefore, we have brought together an interdisciplinary team of investigators to systematically evaluate the anti-HIV activity of five distinct, well-defined extract preparations of Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice root) and Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort).