Research Exposes Dangers of using Herb Hypoxis hemerocallidea to Combat HIV/AIDS
The findings of PhD research by a Nigerian anatomist have shown the use of a popular herbal anti-HIV product - extract of Hypoxis hemerocallidea – to be detrimental to men, possibly leading to infertility.
Researcher and lecturer, Dr Ayoola Isaac Jegede, said the main objective of his research was to scientifically evaluate the benefits or otherwise of HIV-positive patients using the herb. Studies were done specifically on the herb’s effect on the sperm and testicular structure and to establish how this adjuvant use may interact with antiretroviral therapy. His study was conducted under the supervision of Dr Onyemaechi Azu.
Jegede said the findings of his research were ‘alarming’ and sounded a warning against the adjuvant use of the extract of Hypoxis hemerocallidea with HAART, especially in the reproductive active population. The use of the extract with HIV medications were found to be deleterious to the epididymal sperm and the testis and could result in male infertility.
Another novel finding of the study was the establishment of a direct link between hypertension and testicular morphological alterations. ‘To the best of my knowledge based on the available literature, this is the first documented report of the effect of hypertension on the testicular morphology,’ he said.
Jegede, a lecturer with more than 15 years’ experience, says he felt fulfilled and blessed to obtain his PhD in Clinical Anatomy from UKZN. He lectures in the Department of Anatomy at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Nigeria, and in addition to his recently obtained doctorate, has a BSc (Honours) degree in Human and Clinical Anatomy, and an MSc degree in Reproductive and Endocrine Toxicology. His newly obtained PhD also focuses on reproduction and endocrine.
Jegede’s research topic was born out of the rate at which people consume the herb product, especially in southern sub-Saharan Africa, and the claims about its potency and potential to cure many diseases and boost the immune system of HIV positive patients.
‘Right from my primary school days, I have dreamed of being a teacher and a researcher but I never knew how the two could be combined until my undergraduate days when I realised that by being a lecturer, one can also be a researcher!
‘I was very close to giving up on my PhD until I decided to come to South Africa to start all over again. I drew my strength from my late father who always believed in my abilities even more than I believed in myself.’