Effect of Traditional Chinese Medicinal Herbs on Candida spp. from Patients with HIV/AIDS
As an opportunistic infection, candidiasis is common among individuals infected with HIV. About 90% of patients develop oral and/or oropharyngeal candidiasis in various stages of AIDS. Triazole antifungal agents, such as fluconazole and itraconazole, are considered to be first-choice agents for treatment and prevention because of their relatively low side effects and high effectiveness on mucosal infections. However, with prolonged exposure to azoles, drug resistance becomes a challenge for clinicians and patients alike. In traditional Chinese medicine, more than 300 herbs have been discovered to have "pesticidal” activities, and some of these have been used as antifungal agents in clinical practice for many years. Crude extracts from a number of medicinal herbs have been shown to exhibit antifungal activities in vitro. These include cortex moutan, cortex pseudolaricis, rhizoma alpiniae officinarum, rhizoma coptidis, clove and cinnamon, anemarrhena cortex phellodendri, ramulus cinnamomi, and Chinese gall. The effective anti-Candida principals were identified to be berberine, palmatine, allincin, pseudolaric acid A and B, magnolol, honokiol, and galangin. Thus, traditional Chinese medicinal herbs provide abundant choices for the treatment of refractory candidiasis commonly seen in HIV/AIDS patients. However, there remains a need for further screening of effective extracts and for study of the antifungal mechanisms involved. Importantly, ahead of clinical application, the safety of these compounds must be firmly established.