A plant native to southern Africa found to anti-HIV potential

A study published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine has identified the stalked bulbine (Bulbine frutescens) as a potential agent in preventing infections caused by HIV. In the study, researchers from the Bindura University of Science Education and the University of Namibia looked at the anti-HIV ability of the plant extracts in vivo.

  • Stalked bulbine is used in traditional medicine in southern Africa to treat wounds and manage HIV- and AIDS-related conditions.
  • In addition to looking at the anti-HIV ability of stalked bulbine, the team also investigated its antioxidant properties, as well as its physicochemical composition.
  • For the study, the team used an extract from the aerial parts of the plant and tested its inhibitory activity against HIV-1 protease (PR), reverse transcriptase (RT), and integrase enzymes. These compounds were tested as they have an integral role in the HIV replication cycle.
  • To determine its antioxidant properties, the team looked at the extract, in terms of 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), ferric reducing power, and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) scavenging activities.
  • Its physical and chemical components were determined using standard procedures.
  • The researchers found that the plant extract exhibited good inhibitory activity against HIV-1 PR and RT, with recorded IC50 values noted at 0.18 ± 0.01 and 0.52 ± 0.03 mg/mL, respectively.
  • In terms of its antioxidant values, the extract had an IC50 value of 17.94 ± 0.72 and 26.21 ± 0.39 ?g/mL for DPPH and H2O2, respectively.
  • They also determined the efficacy of the stalked bulbine extract as dose-dependent.
  • The extract contained phenols, alkaloids, and flavonoids, based on the results of the phytochemical screening.

From the findings, the researchers concluded that the extract from stalked bulbine could have anti-HIV potential, due to its potent antioxidant activity.

Learn more about how herbs are used in traditional medicine at Herbs.news.

Journal Reference:

Shikalepo R, Mukakalisa C, Kandawa-Schulz M, Chingwaru W, Kapewangolo P. IN VITRO ANTI-HIV AND ANTIOXIDANT POTENTIAL OF BULBINE FRUTESCENS (ASPHODELACEAE). Journal of Herbal Medicine. June 2018;12:73–78. DOI: 10.1016/j.hermed.2017.09.007

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