The quest to finding the cure to HIV has taken scientists to Southeast Asia where an evergreen plant called willow-leaved justicia is being tested as a possible cure for many diseases, including HIV.
A study in the Journal of Natural Compounds found that the plant extract contains an anti-HIV agent that could suppress the HIV virus and inhibit the development of AIDS. Although more tests are needed to substantiate the claims, the initial results are quite promising. More and more scientists are now turning to nature in a bid to treat incurable diseases.
Powerful anti-HIV medicine discovered in Asian herb that might out-perform all synthetic drugs
(Natural News) An evergreen plant that grows abundantly throughout Southeast Asia contains a powerful compound that outperforms a clinically-used drug against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a study in the Journal of Natural Compounds revealed. The plant, known as willow-leaved justicia, is native to China and is found to grow extensively in India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.
Researchers said a newly-identified chemical called patentiflorin A, extracted from different parts of the plant, was more effective in inhibiting an HIV enzyme compared with the commercial drug azidothymidine (AZT). The drug was introduced and approved in 1987 and works by mitigating the reverse transcriptase (RT) enzyme, a harmful compound needed by HIV in order to incorporate its genetic code into a cell’s DNA. AZT remains to be a key component for various anti-retroviral drugs that help slow down the progression of the disease.
To carry out the multi-year research, a team of health experts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Hong Kong Baptist University, and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology collected samples of the plant’s leaves, stems, and roots. The research team then analyzed the extracts along with thousands of other plant extracts to determine new drugs for various diseases including HIV. The results showed that the plant’s patentiflorin A compound was superior than AZT in inhibiting the RT enzyme.
Image courtesy of: Leigh Van den Acker