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 Herbal Medicine: Nutritional and Herbal Support  

In traditional Chinese Medicine, AIDS is often considered to be due to a deficiency or chronic weakness of the digestive, assimilative function, the lungs, and the kidneys/adrenals.

Treatment Overview
Because people who are HIV positive are generally nutritionally deficient, the category of foods and herbs called tonics are indicated. Long-term (9 months to years) use is recommended.

During acute infections, immune stimulants are indicated. In this short phase where "deficiency" heat is increasing in the body, avoid tonics, because they are warming and can aggravate the condition. As soon as the acute phase is waning, tonics can be added, continuing with stimulants for another week to 2 weeks.

Building Diet

At least 90% unprocessed food

10% pleasure foods, if needed--best to slowly eliminate most if not all processed foods.

Protein requirements vary with the individual, but 35-55 gms is usually sufficient. Mother's milk is only 2% or less, which is the major source of protein at a time when our protein needs are greatest. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy were recently downgraded to minor dietary additions from their "four food groups" status.

Grains and legumes contain all the protein needed for most people, if a variety of whole, fresh foods are consumed. If extra protein is desired, almonds and other nuts and seeds can be added. It is often desirable to soak them overnight, if one has difficulty digesting them.

Meat: meat is not needed for health, and some researchers have stated that humans have the teeth and digestive tract more of a vegetarian than a meat-eater. Meats are more likely to encourage toxin-producing bacteria in the gut, whereas lightly cooked and raw starch, natural fruits and sugars promote lactic-acid producing bacteria. If meat is desired, keep in mind that much of the commercial meat found in supermarkets, convenience marts, and fast-food outlets is "factory farmed." This meat may be heavily laden with pesticides, steroids and antibiotics. Often the animals are grown under very unhealthy conditions and have to be dosed heavily with life-support chemicals like antibiotics. If one has an immune deficiency condition, is this the kind of food that will lead to wellness? One wants only the freshest, purest and highest quality food.

If one must have meat, choose fresh fish and organically-grown meats only, and preferably no more than 3 times a week.

For winter or cold months
50% grains and legumes

some raw in the form of muesli or soaked grains in the morning...this encourages beneficial microflora. Keep bread to a minimum; whole grains are more energetic and nutritious. The best and most easily assimilated grains are millet, buckwheat, rice, amaranth, quinoa, corn (polenta, grits). For wheat or rye, coarse bread is much preferred to very light refined bread.

ca. 35% steamed vegetables, soups etc.

Add deep immune nutritive herbs (astragalus, reishi, shiitake, ligustrum) to soups. At least one good serving of lightly steamed greens such as kale, chard, collards, mustard greens. Incorporate some wild greens if available: dandelion greens, dock, mallow, nettles lightly steamed. Wild foods are very rich in nutrients, unlike modern genetic strains that may be bred for looks and sweetness.

ca. 15% raw fruits and vegetables

One or two servings a day. Best fall and winter fruits are grapes, pears, and apples.

Spring and Summer
Ca. 50-60% raw fruits and vegetables is desirable for many people.

One or two weeks of bowel cleansing is often desirable. Rest the digestive tract after a winter of heavier warming foods by eating more raw fruits and vegetables in season.

Eat a variety of fresh produce. Succulent, mouth-watering local cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, and grapefruit all have fruit acids that help cleanse the body naturally.

A short fast of no more than 3 days on freshly-squeezed juices along with liver flushes may be appropriate for some, but not if substantial deficiency and a feeling of coldness persists through the spring (see my book Digestion: The Foundation of Health).

30-40% cooked and raw grains, cooked and sprouted legumes in salads, soups, stews, etc.

10-15% nuts, seeds and other concentrated foods (meats, if desired).

While the above diet was formulated after over 20 years experience and research, I realize that people vary in their constitutions and needs. The amount of physical work one does and the climate in which one lives are important factors. People with sedentary, mental occupations must eat more lightly than one who is doing heavy physical work.

We must constantly reevaluate our diet to fit changing conditions.

One of the most important observations I have made about diet is that we should not worry excessively about what we are eating. If we crave refined foods often, we should indulge ourselves with moderation, while focusing on healthier, more wholesome food. Slowly and slowly we can move in the direction we focus our will--towards live food and health.

Dietary Supplementation
Isolated nutrients, the deficiency of which have been shown in scientific tests to suppress immune function.

Vitamin A (take as beta-carotene) (5,000 IU)

Vitamin C (4-10 grams), depending on constitution

Vitamin E (400 IU)



Generally speaking, it is best to take a vitamin and mineral supplement that contains a wide variety of major nutrients and trace minerals in a natural food base. It has been demonstrated that an excess of one isolated nutrient may interfere with the uptake or utilization of another.

Herbal Supplements
Anti-viral herbs:

St. John's Wort: 1 dropperfull of the liquid extract 2x daily every other day

Garlic: 2-4 capsuls daily--long term use

Lomatium: "lomatium isolate," follow directions on the bottle

Osha: liquid extract, 2 droppers twice daily as a stimulant

Isatis: short-term use as a strong antiviral (Chinese herb)

Licorice extract: small amounts dayl (2-4 grams)

Shiitake extract: LEM 4-8 grams daily, mushroom extract, add to diet

Momordica (bitter melon): grow your own, use as enema

Surface Immune support for short-term infections:
Echinacea: up to 2 dropperfuls 4x daily

Baptisia: with echinacea, 1 dropperful 2x daily

Thuja: with echinacea, 1 dropperful 2x daily

Deep Immune support
Astragalus: 4-12 grams daily in tea, add to soups, etc.

Ligustrum: 4-8 grams daily in tea, cooking, liquid extracts

Codonopsis: 4-12 grams for energy, add to food, make tea

Reishi: 1-30 grams daily as tea, in cooking, as extract

Shiitake: 4-8 fruiting bodies in food, tea, make concentrated extract, LEM

Cook with these herbs in soups and stews, or take a powdered or liquid extract in tablet, capsule or in drops.

Stress/adrenal support
Eleuthero: 2-4 droppersful of the liquid extract 2x daily

Schisandra: with eleuthero 1-2 grams daily

Reishi: 1-30 grams daily, depending on need

Ginseng (Panax): Ginsana, liquid extract, tea, etc. 2-6 grams daily

Liver Support (especially where potentially hepatotoxic drugs are taken)
Milk Thistle extract (70%): 2-4 capsules daily

Tumeric extract: as tea, in cooking, as an extract (small amounts)

Schisandra extract: as a tincture or powdered extract

Anti-oxidant therapy
Nutrients: Beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, selenium

Herbs: rosemary tea, ginkgo standardized extract (24%)

HIV Protocol: Diet and Herbs C. Hobbs 12/15/94 3
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 About The Author
Christopher Hobbs LAc, AHG Christopher Hobbs is a fourth generation herbalist and botanist with over 30 years experience with herbs. Founder of Native Herb Custom Extracts (now Rainbow Light Custom Extracts) and the Institute for Natural Products......more
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