Update on gundamiti to treat HIV/AIDS

Some people with HIV/AIDS, according to an article from Voice of America, say they have “stopped taking ARVs [anti-retroviral medicines] in favor of the cheaper traditional Gundamiti herb, which costs under Z$2 million (about $38 in US dollars) a month.” That’s about half the cost of the ARVs in Zimbabwe.

But does it work?

According to the NGO Network Alliance Project, which “aims to improve the accessibility of human rights and civic information in Zimbabwe,” the value of Gundamiti is debatable.

During a meeting of the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service, Dr. Peter Mashava, the key researcher of Gundamiti, reported that in 12 HIV positive individuals, the viral load declined (some to undetectable levels) and CD4 counts (a measure of the body’s ability to fight the infection) increased significantly.

This study was criticized by some for poor study design, including it’s small population of patients. Also, Frederick Mandizvidza of the African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology said that his studies found little change in viral load.

The bottom line?
Today, Gundamiti is not available in sufficient quantities to treat patients, and large-scale studies have not been completed. Until that is accomplished, this herb is an unfulfilled promise.

9/18/07 15:51 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.