Mamaki for HIV and AIDS? 1996 Study

HIV infected H9 T-cell
HIV infected H9 T-cell | Wikimedia Commons

Mamaki was one of 17 Hawaiian medicinal plants for their ability to inhibit the growth of HIV. Of five different water extracts (tea) made from mamaki leaves, four offered 100% cell protection against HIV degradation of the host cell while the remaining extract showed 82% protection.

The 1996 study titled Antiviral activity of Hawaiian medicinal plants against immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 (HIV-1) tested 61 extracts derived from 17 plants.

“Methanol and water extracts made from mamaki leaves and bark achieved a high selective inhibition or virus replication with very low cytotoxicity,” noted the authors. “The growth inhibition by this plant was not restricted to the use of water or to leaf extracts since both water and methanol extracts made from the bark and leaves also show significant HIV growth inhibition.”

Unfortunately, after reading the whole study it becomes apparent that the thrust is to isolate compounds within these plants that pharmaceutical companies can then attempt to synthesize and patent. So it’s left to you and I to trumpet the possible health benefits of something as simple as drinking mamaki tea. Likewise, we are responsible for for realizing that something like mamaki tea provides the whole, natural compound along with hundreds more enhancing and buffering compounds rather than a few isolated, synthetic, manufactured compounds that inherently carry side effects due to the fact that they never before existed in nature so the body doesn’t know how to handle them.

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