I've just been followed on twitter by @Jergon_Sacha who claims that the plant jergon sacha (which appears to be from the genus Dracontium) is

Traditionally used for viral infections HIV, AIDS, hepatitis and other virus problems etc.

Has this plant been traditionally used this way, and is there any evidence for or against its use against viruses?

I tried pubmedding for Dracontium, and the only relevant article appears to be this one, where the abstract talks about anti-bacterial properties, not anti-viral ones. I also googled, but mainly came up with alternative medicine sites.

Declaration of conflicts: I do research on how HIV mutates. I also used to be associated with the Encyclopedia of Life, which I linked to above.

  • 7
    Since HIV (and AIDS) were discovered about 30 years earlier, it makes it somewhat doubtful that there were traditional remedies for it.
    – apoorv020
    Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 13:33
  • 2
    This website claims it has been used for snakebite prevention, snakebite antivenom, stingray wounds, spider bites, and for poison dart and arrow wounds, asthma, menstrual disorders, chlorosis, whooping cough, scabies, sores caused by blowflies, gout, HIV/AIDS, cancerous tumors, gastrointestinal problems, hernias, hand tremors, heart palpitations, and to enhance immune function.
    – John Lyon
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 4:10
  • "Traditionally" used to treat AIDS for, at most, 30 years? Strains the definition of tradition!
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 14:04
  • 1
    Just because something is used as a remedy or cure doesn't mean that it's effective or recommended for that purpose. Anecdotes abound about women using Coca-Cola as a spermicide, for instance.
    – oosterwal
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 5:55
  • @jozzas: the snakebite treatment may indeed be traditional, but that page suggests it is used because it looks like a local snake with the same name.
    – Henry
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 22:20


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