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Chinese Scientists To Test Traditional Medicine in AIDS Treatment.
Scientists in China are to conduct clinical tests with a traditional herbal compound to see if it is effective in treating AIDS.

"We hope to achieve reliable and convincing results on the effectiveness of the medication," said Wang Jian of the Chinese Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). He explained that the preparation was a powder mix, containing bupleurum (Bupleurum chinense DC., Apiaceae), milk vetch (Astragalus membranaceus Moench, Fabaceae), Chinese angelica (Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Daniels, Apiaceae) and licorice (Glycyrrhiza auralensis Fisch. ex DC., Fabaceae), that "dissipates heat and toxic materials" and improves immunity.

According to a report from the Xinhua news agency, Wang was a member of a Sino-Tanzanian research group working on the new drug to treat people with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). "Pending formal approval, Wang and his colleagues, both Chinese and Tanzanian, will monitor levels of HIV -- the AIDS virus -- in patients following the application of medication," representatives of the agency said, adding that the scientists would use the commonly used anti-HIV drug AZT on a control group to provide a comparison.

"Research on AIDS treatment with herbal therapies was launched more than 10 years ago. However, Western medical circles failed to recognize verified results owing to different appraisal criteria," said Wang.

Chinese AIDS researcher Guan Chongfen wits quoted as saying that traditional herbal remedies had a 40-50 percent effectiveness rate in treating the condition. She said an agreement between Beijing and the Tanzanian government had enabled scientists to test Chinese herbal remedies on 10,000 Tanzanian AIDS patients. "We've recorded a 47 percent effective rate in improving human-immuno functions and various AIDS symptoms, including asthenia, diarrhea, fever, leanness and skin rash. When, compared with Western medical treatment which focuses more on attacking HIV, [Chinese medicine] emphasizes improving the patient's immunity in order to block the virus," Guan said.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Barbara A. Johnston