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Immune - The healing AIDS research project

by Paul Bergner

Medical Herbalism 3(3):3

The results of a year-long study of naturopathic treatment for a group of patients with Class Iva HIV infection (formerly AIDS related complex/ARC) was announced last fall. The study, which was performed at Bastyr College in Seattle, had no matched control patients, but outcomes were favorable when compared to similar groups in other trials who took either placebo or AZT. During the course of the year, none of the patients died or progressed to AIDS. In other trials of people with class Iva HIV infection, about a third of patients receiving placebo have died within a year, and from about 40% to 70% have progressed to AIDS. In comparable trials of AZT, about 10% of patients have died and about a third have progressed to AIDS. The naturopathic treatments appeared to slow or halt progression of the disease, but did not reverse it. There was significant symptomatic improvement. Patients using AZT were not admitted to the study.

The patients were divided into two groups, each receiving a basic naturopathic treatment protocol, but one receiving botanical medicines, and the other homeopathic medicines.

The strategy of the treatment was threefold: give antiviral botanical medicines; enhance the functioning of the immune system; and activate psychoneuroimmunological interactions between the brain and the nervous system.

The protocol for the botanical medicine group is as follows:

Nutritional Supplements:

Ascorbic acid to bowel tolerance

Beta carotene 150,000 IU per day

High-potency multiple vitamin

AL-721 facsimile (egg lipids)

Botanical medicines

Month 1-3

licorice root three capsules three times a day between meals.

Month 4-6

Lomatium isolate (Eclectic Institute) 3-5 drops twice a day between meals.

Month 7-9
Copyright 2001 Paul Bergner    206


    Medical Herbalism: Clinical Articles and Case Studies    

Astraisatis (Formerly Astra-10, Health Concerns) 2 capsules three times a day with meals

Month 10-12

Thymus extract, Monolauren (Cardiovascular Research)

Month 11-12

Hypericin (Yerba Prima) pulsed dose 3 tablets, 250 mg each four times a day after meals Monday and Tuesday.


Twelve hydrotherapy treatments:

(Core temperature to 102 degrees for forty minutes)

Two series during the year of twice a week for three weeks.

Nutrition counseling and education.


(either individual or group support, or the patientís choosing.)

The accompanying graph, which shows the difference in T-4 cell count drops in the botanical and the homeopathy patient groups, shows that the licorice root may have a positive effect on T-4 cell counts. Although the general trend of both curves is the same, the T-4 cell count rose during the period when licorice root was being taken. Previous studies have found glycyrrhizin, a constituent of Licorice root, to have a positive effect on many parameters of HIV infection. The amounts of glycyrrhizin in those studies were comparable to those attainable with oral ingestion of licorice root.

Primary care for the patients was given by third and fourth year students in the naturopathic program at Bastyr College, under the supervision of clinical staff. In addition to the basic treatment protocol, botanicals were also used to treat many of the acute conditions that arose during the year. In the next issue of Medical Herbalism we will give detailed case studies of several participants in the study.
Copyright 2001 Paul Bergner    207