HIV/AIDS Herbal Treatments



  • Echinacea contains a diverse range of active components affecting different aspects of immune function.
  • The following herbs are used to boost the immune system protecting the body against infection and disease: dong quai (angelica), astragalus, garlic, ginger, mullein, quercetin, Reishi mushroom, Shiitake mushroom, and seaweeds such as Irish moss, blue-green algae, brown algae, and chlorella.
  • Burdock root, echinacea, and goldenseal work as blood purifiers, fight bacterial and fungal infections, and enhance immune function. Caution: Do not take goldenseal on a daily basis for more than one week at a time, and do not use it during pregnancy or if you have high blood pressure. If you have a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or glaucoma, use it only under a doctor’s supervision.
  • Cat’s claw enhances the immune system, and has been shown to be helpful for people with AIDS and AIDS-related cancers. Caution: Do not use cat’s claw during pregnancy.
  • The root of the Chinese cucumber is currently being used in AIDS research.
  • Ginkgo biloba extract relieves tension and anxiety and improves mental alertness
  • Red clover improves overall health, relaxes the body and helps fight against cancerous growths. Useful in AIDS.
  • Licorice (glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid) possesses anti-viral and immunostimulatory properties. Recent clinical research has focused its ability to inhibit the HIV and AIDS virus. Caution: Do not use licorice on a daily basis for more than seven days in a row, and avoid it completely if you have high blood pressure.
  • Suma fights fatigue and is an energy tonic
  • Aloe vera juice has been used in the treatment of AIDS.  It contains carrisyn, believed to stimulate T-cell production, which is directly attacked by the AIDS virus.
  • Goldenseal can be used in the treatment of mouth sores. Place alcohol-free goldenseal extract on a piece of gauze and apply to the gums or mouth sores before going to bed. Leave it on overnight; sores and inflammation should heal in a few days with this treatment.
  • Black walnut helps to balance mineral assimilation and also assists in oxygenating the blood.
  • Pau d’arco (also known as lapacho or taheebo) has anti-fungal and anti-candida properties and promotes good digestion. It also boosts liver function and enhances immune function.
  • St. Johnswort contains hypericin and pseudohypericin, which has recently generated much interest as an AIDS drug. St. Johnswort may help to inhibit retrovial infections. Caution: If taken with the antiretrovirals (such as HIV/AIDS medications), St. Johns Wort could actually hinder the activity of these very effective medications
  • Burdock, rhubarb, sorrel, and slippery elm taken in combination may be useful.
  • Siberian ginseng may retard the spread of the HIV virus, promote better tolerance to chemotherapy and radiation and increase energy. Caution: Do not use this herb if you have hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, or a heart disorder.
  • Evening primrose oil improves functioning of white blood cells


Pay special attention to meeting your nutritional needs and requirements, and keep in mind that building up the immune system is the most important single factor in helping combat the disease.

  • Foods that are known to boost the immune system include avocados, carrots, sweet peppers, kiwi, oily fish, shellfish, shrimp, pumpkin seeds, shiitake, reishi, and maitake mushrooms, sesame seeds, and Brazil nuts
  • Increase your intake of fresh fruits, cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower, yellow and deep-orange vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, squash, and yams, lentils, beans, seeds, nuts and whole grains, including brown rice and millet
  • Consume plenty of fresh live juices. “Green drinks” made from leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and beet greens, and carrot and beet root juice, should be consumed on a daily basis, and with the addition of garlic and onions is recommended. Chlorophyll works to purify the blood of toxins produced by invading pathogenic organisms
  • Drink steam-distilled water only (not tap water), and lots of it—eight or more 8-ounce glasses daily—to flush out toxins from the body. All cells and organ systems need water. Drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty. The organs, and especially the brain, become dehydrated long before thirst develops.
  • Eat unripened papaya (including a few of the seeds), and fresh pineapple frequently. These foods are good sources of proteolytic enzymes, which are crucial for proper digestion of foods and assimilation of nutrients. Without enzymes, the body cannot be supplied with the energy it needs for its activities
  • Include acidophilus in your diet, acidophilus replenishes friendly bacteria destroyed by antibiotic therapy
  • Include high quality protein in your diet (e.g., whey protein, soy protein isolate, and egg protein)
  • Avoid all foods carrying the risk of food poisoning bacteria
  • Avoid processed foods, salt, bacon, hot dogs, pickled products, potato chips, soda pop, lunch meats and cheese, alcohol, caffeine, and concentrated sources of sugar- these foods can reduce natural immunity.
  • Avoid foods that have been treated with pesticides and other sprays


A well balanced diet is a more natural source of nutrients and it is best to get as much as possible from food.  When seriously ill, appetite may be very poor, so it is essential that a nutritional supplement regime be implemented in order that the immune system can function at its optimum level. The immune system is dependant on many nutrients, it is vitally important to take a higher than normal intake of all nutrients. If you are not eating a varied mixture of the main food groups or foods high in a certain nutrient needed for your health situation then make up the remaining through vitamin and mineral supplementation.

  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: 500-1000 milligrams three times daily (half-hour before or after meals). Caution: Doses of vitamin C larger than 1,200 milligrams a day can produce diarrhea in some people.
  • Vitamin A: 5,000-7,500 IU
  • Natural beta-carotene: 6 milligrams. Caution: Do not take if you are pregnant. Note: Recent studies have cast doubt on the benefits of getting beta-carotene through supplementation. The best way to take beta-carotene into your body is through foods high in beta-carotene, such as carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, papaya, mangoes, and sweet potatoes.
  • Vitamin B complex: 1 megadose with midday meal
  • Selenium: 200-400 micrograms
  • Vitamin E: 400-800 IU (vitamin E has shown the greatest and most consistent effects of all the antioxidant nutrients in slowing down the progression of HIV to AIDS). Caution: If you are taking anticoagulants, you should not take vitamin E supplements
  • Flaxseed oil: 1 tablespoon daily
  • Methylcobalamin or active vitamin B12: 2 milligrams
  • Folic acid: 800-1,600 micrograms
  • Niacin: 40-80 milligrams
  • Riboflavin: 3.4-6.8 milligrams
  • Thiamin: 3-6 milligrams
  • Vitamin B6: 4-8 milligrams
  • Vitamin D: 400-800 IU. Caution: Do not take vitamin D supplementation without your doctors approval if you have heart or kidney problems
  • Bromelain and papain enzymes: Chewable mixture before each meal
  • Milk-free acidophilus capsules: taken morning and evening with cold water
  • Lipoic acid: 150 milligrams

In some cases, herbal products can interact negatively with other medications.  Such interactions can be dangerous.  Herbal remedies are not regulated and their quality is not controlled.  Moreover, while there is an abundant supply of information circulating about herbs, not much of it has been scientifically proven.  Consult your physician.  Informing your doctor and pharmacist of what herbal products you are using is just as important as letting them know what drugs you are taking.  Your physician and the pharmacist on duty at your pharmacy can assist you in deciding which herbs
are safe.