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Background: HIV/AIDS is a pandemic retarding economic growth and destroying human capital globally. This study therefore investigated the perceived efficacy of Betula alba (BA) and Sutherlandia frutescens (SF) decoctions used in the management of HIV/AIDS in Ghana.
Materials and Methods: A study on the records of HIV/AIDS patients attending Habibi Herbal Clinic, Kumasi, Ghana, was conducted to obtain information on the initial viral load presented during their maiden visit and results after treatment with the herbal decoctions. The decoctions were assessed for immunostimulatory property in cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppressed ICR mice. Total white blood cell count, as well as lymphocyte and neutrophil counts were determined and their effects compared with Levamisole. The decoctions were also screened for antimicrobial activity by the micro dilution method.
Results: The two herbal decoctions used significantly reduced (P ≤ 0.001) the patients’ viral loads (47.42 ± 17.28 % to 13.69 ± 12.42 %; n=16). BA (1, 2, and 4 mg/kg) and SF (0.4, 0.8, and 1.6 mg/kg) caused significant increment (P ≤ 0.001) in total WBC and lymphocyte count in mice comparable to that produced by 2.5 mg/kg Levamisole. The decoctions also exhibited antimicrobial activity against gram negative and gram positive bacteria as well as Candida albicans (MIC 0.607 to 3.062 mg/ml). Phytochemicals present in both plants include saponins, terpenoids and coumarins.
Conclusion: The Betula alba and Sutherlandia frutescens decoctions have interesting immunostimulatory and antimicrobial properties and hence could be useful in the management of HIV/AIDS and associated opportunistic infections.
Key words: Betula alba, Sutherlandia frutescen,s,Viral load, Minimum inhibitory concentration, Micro-well dilution assay