(NaturalHealth365) In a startling and promising new development, a team of German medical researchers has found that a variety of geranium has the ability to inactivate the HIV-1 virus and prevent it from invading and infecting human cells.
Untreated HIV destroys the immune system, and eventually causes the development of AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. While scientists continue to work to develop anti-viral drugs, the World Health Organization reports that over 35 million people around the globe are currently infected with HIV-1.
Breaking news: Geranium extracts block the HIV-1 virus
In a test tube study, published in the January 29th, 2014 issue of PLOS One, South African geranium extracts protected both human blood cells and immune cells from infection by blocking the attachment of the virus particles to the cells – which effectively stopped replication.
The team, composed of scientists from the Institute of Virology and the department of biogeochemistry research unit at Helmholtz Centrum Munchen, hailed the geranium extract’s anti-HIV effects as “potent,” “robust,” and “highly reliable,” plus they noted that it worked in a way unlike that of current antivirals – by targeting the envelope proteins of the virus.
Unlike other antivirals presently in use, geranium extracts act at a very early stage of replication, before reverse transcription can take place, and cause a dramatic reduction of viral RNA and DNA levels in virus-exposed cells.
How does Geranium extract kill drug-resistant HIV-1 strains?
Scientists credit South African geranium’s mix of natural plant chemicals and pigments – including flavonoids and anthocyanins – with the virus-killing effect; the herb also contains tannins, catechin, gallic acid, and the powerful natural antioxidant quercetin.
Geranium root seems to get its virucidal power from a mixture of molecules all working together, rather than a single molecule acting alone. Researchers are hopeful that using geranium extracts as an anti-viral therapy can reduce the emergence of drug-resistant strains of HIV-1 cells – a current problem with single-molecule drugs.
Have geranium extracts been proven safe?
The root of the South African geranium, botanically known as Pelargonium sidoides, has been used for centuries in South African traditional medicine to treat upper respiratory infections, and is currently approved for use – in Germany – to treat acute bronchitis.
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that South African geranium has been shown to help people with acute bronchitis recover faster, and adds that it has an effect comparable to antibiotics, without the adverse effects. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center credits geranium extract with antiviral properties, and cites a clinical study in which the herb was found to be effective against moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
South African geranium extracts are easy to produce and store
The fact that geranium root extracts are easy to produce and store, with no refrigeration necessary, makes this herb a particularly good option in areas where resources are limited. Researchers expressed hope that since South African geranium is an indigenous plant that has been used in traditional medicine, the rate of compliance among patients in South Africa will be high. HIV-1 and the AIDS virus are currently at pandemic levels in this area.
South African geranium extracts are available in the form of chewable tablets, and can be purchased at health food stores and online under the name – Umcklaobo. The traditional dosage for upper respiratory infections is 10-30 milligrams in tablet form for 7 days. South African geranium is considered safe when taken for up to two weeks.
Don’t use geranium to treat HIV-1 unless supervised by a doctor. Naturally, you should check with a trusted medical professional before taking geranium, particularly if you take immunosuppressive drugs. As with any substance, allergic reactions are possible; mild digestive upsets have been reported.
HIV and AIDS, currently one of the ten leading causes of death worldwide, exact a grim toll on human life. Yet, there is strong scientific research to suggest that nature may provide the best solution – without negative side effects. With clinical studies sure to follow, researchers will be able to further explore the amazing effects of South African geranium against this deadly disease.
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