As firm believers in natural health, it’s not shocking to many of us when we hear of a plant holding the key to treating an illness or disease. But even the most seasoned among us may look twice upon reading that geraniums, common house plants, could hold the key to treating and curing HIV.
According to a new study from the German Research Centre for Environmental Health, extracts from geranium roots could provide the basis for a new class of drugs to fight HIV-1, the most common form of the virus. But even better than new drugs is the possibility that geranium extracts could be used now in the form of herbal remedies.
Published in the online peer-reviewed journal, PLOS One, the study indicates root extracts from geraniums are able to protect the blood and immune cells from infection by HIV-1. It does this by blocking the attachment of the virus to the human cells, preventing the spread, according to The Daily Mail.
Apparently, the treatment is already approved and licensed as an herbal medicine in Germany.
“Geranium extracts are a very promising lead for the development of the first scientifically validated phytomedicine against HIV-1,” explained lead researcher Professor Ruth Brack-Werner.
She went on to add:
“The extracts attack HIV-1 with a mode of action that is different from all anti-HIV-1 drugs in clinical use. Therefore they may be a valuable supplement for established anti-HIV therapies. Furthermore, the extracts are attractive candidates for increasing anti-HIV-1 therapy options in resource-limited settings, since they are easy to produce and do not require refrigeration. The results of our study and the proven safety of the extracts encourages their testing in HIV-1 infected individuals as a next step.”
The World Health Organization reports more than 35 million people worldwide are diagnosed with HIV, the vast majority of whom have HIV-1. The virus wreaks havoc on the immune system, eventually leading to AIDS, one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
The study abstract concludes with:
“Analysis of the chemical footprint of anti-HIV activity indicates that HIV-1 inhibition is mediated by multiple polyphenolic compounds with low cytotoxicity and can be separated from other extract components with higher cytotoxicity. Based on our data and its excellent safety profile, we propose that PS extract represents a lead candidate for the development of a scientifically validated herbal medicine for anti-HIV-1 therapy with a mode-of-action different from and complementary to current single-molecule drugs.”