Alternatives & Traditional

Is “oleander soup” effective for HIV or AIDS?

The claims of “oleander soup” being effective for cancer have already been debunked.

These are not the only questionable claims that have been made by Tony Isaacs.  Mr. Isaacs has also claimed that oleander has been shown to be effective against HIV/AIDS as well.  As “evidence” he posted a link to an article he wrote for his sales site.  Isaacs article then makes reference to a “100% successful double blind placebo controlled study”, which he claims the complete trial report can be found at:

http://www.tbyil.com/HIV_OPC_Trial.pdf

This is not the actual study, it is a person’s dissertation.  And there are no references to this study, nor can I find the study on Medline.  This calls in to question if the study actually exists and if it does was it conducted and interpreted properly.

Another problem with the claim that this proves oleander is effective is the fact that if this study is for real it was not for oleander alone.  On page 5 of the dissertation it clearly states that they used a mixture of sutherlandia and oleander.  Unlike oleander, there are studies showing strong potential for sutherlandia as an effective treatment for diseases such as cancer.  Here are some journal articles discussing the antiviral activity of sutherlandia:

http://www.nutritionj.com/content/4/1/19

http://journals.lww.com/aidsonline/fulltext/2005/01030/impact_of_african_herbal_medicines_on.13.aspx

To claim that the oleander was effective component is like claiming if someone takes a morphine tablet for pain with water that the water killed the pain.  The only component of the mixture that has shown any significant anti-retroviral activity is the sutherlandia, not the oleander.

The dissertation also states that this study was about raising CD4 counts in a total of 10 HIV+ people.  HIV+ though DOES NOT mean HIV infected.  The HIV antibody test is notoriously inaccurate with over 65 known causes of false positives.

A common cause of low CD4 cell counts in people testing HIV+ is the anti-retroviral drugs they are put on, which the dissertation does mention on page 3. Even though they state that participants could not be currently on anti-retroviral drugs it does not state that they could not have been used previously. And it is known that simply getting off of anti-retroviral drugs can allow the bone marrow to heal, which in turn will allow CD4 counts to come up.  So without knowing if these people were on anti-retroviral drugs before hand it is impossible to say if the herb mixture or simply getting off the anti-retrovirals was really responsible for the increase in CD4 counts.  This is why larger, well designed studies are needed, which have not been done.

On page 29 they mention that the sutherlandia in the formula contains canavanine, which is considered toxic.  It not only raises blood pressure, but it can also aggravate autoimmune conditions like lupus.  And according to this report the long term use can cause symptoms mimicking AIDS (page 2):

http://www.gaiaresearch.co.za/Assets/Images/Pdf/Sutherlandia.pdf

Toxicity of the canavanine in sutherlandia starts of page 4 of the link I posted.

On page 32 of the link supplied by Mr. Isaacs it clearly states that the active components in oleander are polysaccharides as I kept pointing out to Mr. Isaacs.  I also repeatedly pointed out to him that there are many non-toxic sources containing immune stimulating polysaccharides that do not need to be processed to render them non-deadly like oleander.  These include medicinal mushrooms, seaweeds, schisandra, astragalus, echinacea, birch, yeasts, etc.  Many of these sources also contain other anticancer and antiviral compounds.  For example, turkey tail mushrooms contain anticancer and antiviral organic germanium.  Birch bark contains antiviral and anticancer betulinic acid.  Betulinic acid is concentrated in even higher amounts in chaga mushrooms that grow on birch trees.  So why would anyone bother with having to render a toxic plant nontoxic when so many non-toxic sources of polysaccharides exist? Especially when these other things also provide other antitumor compounds.

A cardiac glycoside found in oleander called oleandrin has shown some anti-cancer effects against some cancer cell lines in culture studies, but not in human studies.  Even though Mr, Isaacs has repeatedly claimed this is an active component in “oleander soup” and ignores the fact that oleandrin is lipid soluble and therefore is not extracted in to “oleander soup”, which is a water extract.

One of the statements that I found particularly funny in the dissertation was on page 35 where is states the participants were given soy formula fortified with vitamins and minerals.  Mr. Isaacs has bashed me numerous times for posting the benefits of consuming soy, yet he posts this dissertation where soy was used and that could have accounted for many of the benefits seen in the study.  Soy has been shown in numerous studies to be anti-cancer, and cancer is a common symptom in AIDS.  The vitamins and minerals as well as having some actual food in the form of soy would have also boosted their immune systems of the participants.  Then there is the fact that soy contains antiviral protease inhibitors.  So this puts the entire study in to question since there were several compounds used that could have accounted for any positive effects.

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