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Aloe Vera on AIDS

Acemannan from aloe vera gel


Potential Impact of Aloe Vera on AIDS

Housed in the leaves of the aloe vera plant is a treasure trove of vital nutrients and minerals beneficial to the human body. Long-used to soothe skin burns and dermatological diseases, aloe vera has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Evidence also shows aloe vera’s potential to boost the immune system. Consequently, over the past 20 years, a number of research studies have examined the effect of aloe vera on patients with HIV/AIDS.


AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is a chronic condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV. HIV attacks the immune system and destroys the white blood cells that fortify against disease, slowly weakening the body and its ability to fight off dangerous infections. AIDS is a potentially life-threatening pandemic, affecting an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide. There is no cure for AIDS, but a variety of drugs and lifestyle changes are used to control and slow progression of the virus.

Aloe Vera Gel

The body has several mechanisms to protect the immune system and ward off infection through certain white blood cells and antibodies. For a person combating an immunodeficiency disease like HIV, anything to bolster these cells has the capacity to improve the body’s resistance to harmful infections. In a 1977 study on the chemical composition of aloe vera, it was found that aloe vera gel contains a substance that forms disease-fighting antibodies and stimulates white blood cells, called phagocytes. Research also showed aloe vera to possess antiviral polysaccharides, which enhance cell function. These preliminary findings led to more reports linking aloe vera to the treatment of AIDS.

Early Research treating AIDS with Aloe Vera

In 1988, a study by McDaniel and McAnalley, out of the University of Texas Health Science Center, tested the immune-boosting properties of aloe vera on eight AIDS patients. Over a 90-day period, consistent oral consumption revealed improvement in all eight cases, eliminating night sweats and sometimes alleviating diarrhea. The study also reported a decrease in infections with no adverse side effects. The results, when applied to every day living, gave two patients, previously unemployed because of the severity of their symptoms, the ability to return to work.

Further Research Aloe Vera Gel on AIDS

Nearly a decade later, homeopathic and naturopathic practitioner Wesley Calvin, conducted an open trial on 24 males suffering from AIDS. Over a 14-month period, patients were asked to drink 4-8 ounces of Fresh Frozen Aloe #1® Health Drink twice daily, along with antiretroviral therapy. From the original 24 subjects, the quality of life improved in 11 cases. The clinical findings indicated a lower risk of infection, reduction of dermal lesions and decreased viral loading. Consequently, the positive physical effects impacted both social and psychological health by reducing hospitalization, decreasing depression and maintaining body weight. As in earlier research studies, there was an absence of negative and toxic side effects. Two subjects continued use of Fresh Frozen Aloe #1® Health Drink for years later.

Though the clinical findings suggest potential therapeutic benefits of aloe vera on AIDS patients, it does not constitute a cure for the virus. However, these studies did produce positive findings when exposing aloe vera’s immune-building properties to immunodeficiency diseases.


One plausible contributor to the immune system benefits of aloe vera is it’s acemannan content. Acemannan is a phytonutrient in the aloe plant that is known to increase tumor necrosis factor, interferon, and interleukins, in humans. According to Wikipedia, “This compound has been known to have immunostimulant, antiviral, antineoplastic and gastrointestinal properties.”

Stepanova OS; Prudnik NZ; Solov’eva VP; Golovchenko GA; Svishchuk AA; Grin Erg BG; Dubkova OM: Chemical composition and biological activity of dry Aloe leaves. Fiziol Akt Veshchestva 9: 94-97, 1977.
McDaniel HR; McAnalley BH: Evaluation of Acemannan in the treatment of acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients. Scientific Poster Presentation, Texas Society of Pathologists, University of Texas Health Science Center, Galveston, Texas, 29-31 January, 1988.
Calvin, Wesley B.: Aloe #1 Therapeutic/ Adjunctive Use in HIV/AIDS Subjects; 1996.

2 thoughts on “Aloe Vera on AIDS

    Honey, aloe vera boost immunity in HIV patients

    By Vision Reporter

    Added 4th October 2005 03:00 AM

    Armed with a small handbag in one hand, Joyce Twase quietly walked around the bush, picking small leaves off tiny plants as she stocks them inside her bag.
    By Fred Nangoli
    Armed with a small handbag in one hand, Joyce Twase quietly walked around the bush, picking small leaves off tiny plants as she stocks them inside her bag. In a few minutes, the bag is full and slowly, she heads for her home.
    Twase is not a traditional healer, but a trained herbal medicine woman, who goes about the bushes of Kalinabiri in search for herbs to administer to people living with AIDS in the Anglican Diocese of Kampala.
    A member of the diocese’s home-based caregivers, Twase is presently administering herbal therapies to over 40 people living with AIDS in Ntinda. She is also helping other caregivers in looking after some 560 others.
    Twase started using herbal therapy in 2003 when she was trained together with 40 others in home-based care by the diocese in collaboration with World Vision. After her course, Twase came up with a group of five patients, whose lives had deteriorated tremendously. “I took them to the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) for testing and their results were shocking. Their CD4 counts had reduced to 12, 24, 48,64 and 90 respectively,” she recollects.
    “Their lives were in danger and yet JCRC officials told us the process to put them on ARVs would take about two months which was too long a time,” Twase adds.
    Back home, Twase started her patients on herbal therapy, whose first dose comprised a mixture of honey; Aloe Vera leaves and locally distilled waragi. In just two weeks, the therapy produced wonders.
    “When we returned to JCRC for more tests, the results were amazing. Their CD4 count had increased tremendously and doctors even wondered,” she explains before unveiling a file containing results of her patients.
    According to the results, patient one whose CD4 count was 12 had risen to 420 while the others had their CD4 count going beyond 450.
    “Doctors told us that there was no need for ARVs since their lives were no longer in danger. They encouraged us to continue with our therapy,” She says. Twase and her colleagues christened the wonder therapy a “miracle therapy” and started passing it on to others in need at no cost.
    To make the ‘miracle therapy,’ Twase says she gets aloe-vera leaves, which she roasts, over a hot charcoal stove. “I squeeze juice out of the roasted leaves. Once it is extracted, I get a glassful of this juice and mix it with the same amount of honey and wine or locally distilled waragi,” she explains.
    Twase says a severely ill patient and one with a terrible cough is given two teaspoonfuls of this therapy twice a day. She says in less than two weeks, the cough is gone and the patient is up walking. “In cases were we cannot afford waragi, we make pineapple wine,” she says. Twase says much of the honey is obtained from traders coming from northern Uganda.
    “We encourage our colleagues living with AIDS to take the therapy because it builds immunity,” she adds.
    Today, together with other 45 home-based care, Twase is moving around the 23 congregations of Kampala Diocese educating, counselling and treating people.
    Rev. Can. Job Mbukure, the Kampala diocesan secretary, admits many of their home-based caregivers are administering herbal therapies to persons living with AIDS. He says the church supports the use of herbs as long as they have no connection with evil practices like witchcraft.
    “But much as they are using the herbal therapies, they are also keeping very close with the check ups at JCRC. We are proud of JCRC for the continued technical assistance,” says the clergyman.
    Rev. Simon Mwesigwa, a community counsellor and member of Ntinda Herbal Therapy, says there are many herbs that treat different complications among people living with AIDS. He says in case of wounds in the mouth and private parts, liquid therapies from plants like kafumitabagenda.
    He says honey and droplets of kavawala leaves and roots are good herbs too. Rev. Mwesigwa says for skin rash, powder obtained from dry roots of kamunye, kanzirornziro, kafugankande and moringa once mixed with vaseline clear the rashes. In case of severe headache, leaves from a plant called kafumbe have produced good results when used in washing the head.
    “Watery stool can be cleared using a mixture of clay with ekemi, aloe-vera and a mixture of boiled kamunye, omusasa and kifabakazi.” He says unlike the western medicine, herbal therapies have no side effects.
    “We also encourage our patients to visit health centres for more medication,” he says.
    “I do not know of any herb that could increase the CD4 count although I have heard of herbs which treat HIV-related illnesses such as diarrhoea and patients say they get some relieve thereafter,” says Dr. Geofrey Kabuye, the head of research ARV JCRC.

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