Ask A Practitioner: Holistic Approaches To HIV

Q. What are the options to help someone with HIV naturally? Are there any holistic or natural remedies?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system, infecting and depleting vital cells of the immune system, setting a person up for opportunistic infections.

First of all, from a holistic perspective, I wouldn’t think in terms of what to give them to ‘cure’ the disease, but rather what does the person need in order to bring their body back into balance? Which areas or systems of their body are under stress and could use some support in order to fight off this virus? Because everyone is different, everybody might need something different in order to do this. So, trying to search for ‘the one thing’ that will ‘cure’ it can lead you astray. In reality, the particular environment (internal and external) of each person with this disease, or any condition for that matter, created the conditions that allowed the infection or disease state to set in.

There are many natural things (foods and herbs) that can be very helpful to support the immune system, fight off viruses, and help to change the conditions of a person’s internal terrain so that it is harder for an opportunistic virus to exist.  The first step is to make sure you are living a healthy lifestyle that is conducive to healing. This means reducing or eliminating as many external and internal stressors as possible. Look around your life and daily interactions and see where you can cut out or say no to things, people, or activities that are stressful to you. Adjust your diet to eliminate foods that are acid-producing or inflammatory for you, and start eating a more alkaline diet. Usually this means eating more fresh organic vegetables and reducing or eliminating processed foods, added sugars, meat, and alcohol. Apple cider vinegar is a common home remedy used by some people as a way to balance internal pH, which will in turn help to move the infection out. Cleansing your body is very important in order to reduce overall toxicity and any other bacterial, fungal, or pathogenic infections. Also, make sure you get enough exercise that is appropriate for you, enough rest, and good quality sleep so your body has time to heal and repair. Yoga and meditation practices can be very supportive for this as well!

Once the foundational elements of health are in place, you can address your specific body imbalances and give specific support accordingly.  There are many natural things that can be used to support the body’s immune system, fight back the infection, and reduce or eliminate people’s symptoms. Fill in any gaps in your nutrition with immune supportive vitamins and minerals like Vitamin D3 and selenium as well as any lacking amino acids. There are numerous herbs that can boost immune function. I like Reishi mushroom and olive leaf extract for this, but there are so many you could use; the key is to find which ones resonate with you.

For fighting off the virus, coconut oil has been used successfully by many people as a very effective anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral that can be incorporated in increasing levels into your daily diet. A study written about on Green Med Info talks about using black seed oil (Nigella sativa) twice daily for 6 months resulting in a rapid improvement in symptoms, and significant reductions in viral (HIV-RNA) load to an undetectable level. The Siberian mushroom Chaga also has strong anti-viral action and could be potentially helpful in the case of HIV.

As you can see, there are many options out there, and as with any condition, there is no ‘one right way’ to address it. It is most important to take into consideration your personal situation and identify what areas of your body need the most support, and then do what you can to create an environment for healing to occur.

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