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A traditional African medicinal remedy for AIDS has been showed to have some antiretroviral properties, according to microbiologists in South Africa.
The director of SANBio, a southern African network for life scientists, said laboratory tests on a healer's concoction of four plants had shown one of them to have antiretroviral capabilities.
The scientists analyzed the discoveries by comparing the collected medicinal plants to a known database of some 9,000 plants found in Chiapas. Of these 9,000, 1178 are considered weeds. If weeds were randomly distributed in the medicinal flora studied, there should have been about 13 weed species present. Instead, there were an astonishing 35.
From the moment the FDA removed the supplement Ephedra from the market, the weight loss industry has been scrambling to come up with the next blockbuster herbal formula, and they might have found it in the South African desert plant named Hoodia gordonii. Since it was featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes about a year ago, this light green, thorny, succulent shrub has become nature’s newest golden boy.
Originally, only the San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert knew its properties as an appetite suppressant – they used it during persistence hunting, an unrelenting drive to track and fatigue game animals to exhaustion. That kind of magical diet effect doesn’t stay secret for long, and soon enough the pharmaceutical bio-pirates had it in their labs attempting to isolate the active compound.