Anti-HIV activity of medicinal herbs: usage and potential development

Am J Chin Med. 2001;29(1):69-81. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X01000083.


The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a result of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection which subsequently leads to significant suppression of immune functions. AIDS is a significant threat to the health of mankind, and the search for effective therapies to treat AIDS is of paramount importance. Several chemical anti-HIV agents have been developed. However, besides the high cost, there are adverse effects and limitations associated with using chemotherapy for the treatment of HIV infection. Thus, herbal medicines have frequently been used as an alternative medical therapy by HIV positive individuals and AIDS patients. The aim of this review is to summarize research findings for herbal medicines, which are endowed with the ability to inhibit HIV. In this article, we will emphasize a Chinese herbal medicine, Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi and its identified components (i.e., baicalein and baicalin), which have been shown to inhibit infectivity and replication of HIV. Potential development of anti-AIDS compounds using molecular modeling methods will also be discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Design
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lamiaceae*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plants, Medicinal / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal