Tags: anti | hiv | tree | extract

Natural Tree Extract May Combat HIV

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 02:01 PM

Scientists have identified substances in the neem tree native to India – long known to native people as the “village pharmacy” – that appear to fight the virus that causes AIDS.
Researchers from Kean University in New Jersey have found compounds in neem extracts target a protein essential for HIV to replicate. The findings, presented at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting in San Diego this week, could provide clinicians and drug developers a new HIV-AIDS therapy to pursue.
Lead researcher Sonia Arora Aurora noted the neem tree is abundant in tropical and subtropical areas. As a child growing up in New Delhi, she recalls seeing villagers using neem bark to clean their teeth. Now an assistant professor at Kean University, she is delving into understanding the curative properties of the neem tree.
She noted extracts from neem leaves, bark and flowers are used throughout Indian to fight bacteria and fungi.
"The farther you go into the villages of India, the more uses of neem you see," said Arora. Tree branches are used instead of toothpaste and toothbrushes to keep teeth and gums healthy, and neem extracts are used to control the spread of malaria.
Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, a form of traditional Indian alternative medicine, even prescribe neem extracts to treat heart diseases and control diabetes.
For her study, Arora conducted laboratory experiments and designed computer models to see how compounds in neem extracts might affect HIV proteins. She and her colleagues identified 20 neem compounds that attack HIV protease -- a protein essential for making new copies of the HIV virus – a chief target of anti-HIV drugs called protease inhibitors.
“Of course, there is the potential of discovering new drugs based on the molecules present in neem," she said.

© HealthDay

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Study: Compound used in Indian alternative medicine may be a potent weapon against the AIDS virus.
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 02:01 PM
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