The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    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.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    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

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