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Ask the Herbalist--HIV/AIDS

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QUESTION: If the guy doesn't finish inside of the girl while having sex (meaning his
sperm doesn't get in her), can she still get AIDS?

ANSWER: Yes, and having unprotected sex is very dangerous. Even though a man doesn't ejaculate, the lubricating fluids still enter the woman and withdrawal cannot guarantee that 1 drop didn't deposit. It is unbelievable in this day and age that someone with AIDS would ever even consider such a thing. This is such a deadly disease that the risks are not worth any amount of pleasure in my opinion. If you are doing this or planning to do it, especially without your partner's knowledge, my suggestion is to be a little more considerate and take every precaution you can or find some alternative. Is the sex really worth someone's life?

I am a 32 HIV positive man. A few of weeks ago an elderly couple gave me an   information book about Ganoderma therapy( Reishi Gano and   Ganocelium) and I was wondering if you could tell me if this type of product   would assist me with my HIV.    I have been HIV positive for 11 years now and   I currently have about 370 t cells and my viral load is about 16,000.   My health overall is good except for the odd day here and there where I feel run   down and don't want to get out of bed due to fatigue I am also on   combination therapy- 3TC, D4T and Viramune.    Your comments/suggestions are much   appreciated.   

ANSWER: Ganoderma is a medicinal mushroom (there are several but  Reishi is the most well known) which helps the body's immune system return to balance, it would be indicated with your condition.  A nutritional supplement called Beta Glucan is also being used affective to modulate the  immune system.

Additionally the herb Astragalus is an immune potentiator, you may want to consider using it also.

The other advice I could give would be to rotate antiviral herbs in your diet and as supplements to combat the viral condition.  These include Lemon Balm, Elderberry, Sage, Thyme, Basil, Licorice, Cinnamon, Fresh Ginger, Horehound, Hyssop, Chrysanthemum flowers, Mullen Flowers.  Add them to dishes for meals you eat, make teas or supplement with herbal tinctures or pills.

Here is an article on Beta Glucan

From The January 2001 Issue of Nutrition Science News

Beta-Glucan Boosts Immunity

by Carmia Borek, Ph.D

Beta-glucan is a natural, branched polysaccharide (a molecule made up of many sugar units) hailed as having powerful and immune-boosting anticancer properties.

Beta-glucan, with 1,3- and 1,6-glucose links, is isolated from a variety of fungi such as shiitake (Lentinus edodes) and maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms,1 from yeast cell walls including brewers' and bakers' yeasts (of the genus Saccharomyces),2,3 and from oat and barley bran.4 The 1,3 refers to the sites at which glucose molecules are connected to form the glucan backbone. The 1,6 refers to the bonding sites between a glucose molecule on the backbone and on the side chains.

Beta-glucan enhances immunity through a variety of mechanisms, many similar to those of echinacea(Echinacea spp.) or astragalus root (Astragalus membranacseus). For example, beta-glucan binds to macrophages and other phagocytic white blood cells at certain receptors and activates their anti-infection and anti-tumor activity by stimulating the production of free radicals. 5 This stimulation signals the phagocytic immune cells to engulf and destroy foreign bodies, be they bacteria, viruses or tumor cells.6

Researchers at Alpha-Beta Technology in Worcester, Mass., examined the effects of beta-glucan on human blood. When the two were incubated together, beta-glucan enhanced the growth of myeloid and megakaryocyte progenitor cells, which develop into immune cells, and triggered a burst of free radicals in white blood cells, enhancing the cells' antibacterial activity. The white blood cells' bacterial killing capacity was proportional to the glucan dose. An important use of beta-glucan's immune-enhancing capability is reducing the rate of postoperative infections that frequently complicate high-risk surgical procedures. In three separate multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials, researchers tested the effects of beta-glucan on patients undergoing high-risk major abdominal and thoracic surgery or high-risk gastrointestinal surgery. Results showed that patients who received beta-glucan (doses ranged from 0.1 mg/kg to 2.0 mg/kg) had significantly fewer postoperative infectious complications compared with placebo.7-9 The investigators concluded that beta-glucan was safe and well tolerated and could potentially decrease life-threatening postoperative infections.

Beta-Glucan vs. Cancer
In response to the specific appearance of tumor cells, beta-glucan also stimulates the production of small protein compounds called cytokines within the phagocytic cells. This cytokine stimulation increases the capacity of macrophages to stop tumor cell growth (cytostatic action) and kill the tumor in its entirety (cytolytic action).10

Beta-glucan's ability to activate macrophages and T-cells led researchers to evaluate it as an anti-cancer treatment or adjuvant to chemotherapy. One animal study tested the effects of beta-glucan injected into mice previously given aggressive tumor cells that spread to their livers A separate group was injected with only tumor cells. Researchers found the beta-glucan-treated animals had decreased liver metastases compared with control animals. The control animals died within 42 days, but the beta-glucan-treated mice had a 28 percent survival rate. These results indicate that beta-glucan helped mount an immune attack on the cancer cells and reduced their ability to metastasize.11

Although most domestic research has been done using animals, some human studies have been conducted. For example, in 1975, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of a human study reviewing the anti-cancer effects of beta-glucan on nine cancer patients. The patients, who had skin, breast, or lung cancer, had beta-glucan injected into their tumors. In all cases, beta-glucan reduced the size of the tumor within five days, a result associated with an infiltration of immune cells into the cancerous area and their destruction of the cancer cells.12

In Japan, clinical studies have also been conducted (though not placebo-controlled and double-blind) with lentinan (a beta-1,3-1,6-glucan derived from the shiitake mushroom), which is approved for clinical use in Japan. A number of studies in Japan have also shown that treatment of advanced-cancer patients with lentinan, by intravenous injection, results in increased number and activity of immune killer cells13 and in prolonged survival,14 sometimes five or more years.

Beta-Glucan the Supplement
Beta-glucan is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is not a government-regulated substance, and, as of yet, there are no data from placebo-controlled, double-blind human trials to recommend daily doses to boost immunity in healthy or sick people.

Beta-glucan manufacturers and distributors recommend doses ranging from 30 to 500 mg/day, and twice that during illness. Beta-glucan is available in capsule, liquid or tablet form. Whole mushroom extracts, such as maitake, are also available with a defined beta-glucan content. With no concrete information on effective beta-glucan doses, advise customers to consult their health care provider before taking the product. Although evidence is far from conclusive, beta-glucan may be a great way to boost immunity as well as potentially fight cancer and other chronic diseases.