Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate a traditional herbal preparation, Jobelyn,® for its effects on anemia and CD4+ T-cell counts in human immunodeficiency virus-positive (HIV+) patients in Nigeria.
Design: An open-label pilot study involving 10 confirmed (HIV+) patients who were not receiving antiretroviral therapy (ARVT) was performed, in which the patients consumed Jobelyn for 8 weeks, at a dose of 500 mg twice daily. The pilot study was followed by a controlled trial involving 51 patients, all confirmed HIV+, where the patients with CD4+ T-cell counts below 350 cells/μL were receiving ARVT. The eight patients with baseline CD4+ T-cell counts above 350 cells/μL received Jobelyn. The remaining patients who all received ARVT were randomized to ARVT alone versus ARVT+Jobelyn for 12 weeks.
Results: Patients receiving ARVT showed a statistically significant improvement in their CD4+ T-cell counts across the 12-week study period (p<0.01). Patients receiving ARVT+Jobelyn showed a faster improvement, reaching a high level of statistical significance compared to baseline already at 6 weeks (p<0.001), and remained highly significant at 12 weeks (p<0.001).
Conclusions: This is the first controlled study conducted to evaluate efficacy of Jobelyn on immune status in HIV+ patients. The data suggest that consumption of Jobelyn contributed to improved hemoglobin levels and increased CD4+ T-cell counts in Nigerian HIV+ patients. Further studies are needed to examine similar effects in other populations, and to elaborate on the underlying mechanisms, specifically, whether the consumption of Jobelyn supported multiple aspects of bone marrow function.