Cuba tries new natural drug for cancer and AIDS

News from Cuba | Monday, 5 April 2010

HAVANA, April 5 (Xinhua)-- A batch of 160,000 tablets made from anamu, a new immune stimulant herbal drug, will be tried on patients with cancer and AIDS in Cuba.

The drug will be produced by the Pharmaceutical Laboratories Oriente in Santiago de Cuba.

The 400-mg tablet, which is completely natural, will be used initially in the oncology service and also on patients with AIDS virus to prove its effectiveness.

The pills are made from leaves and young stems of anamu, a wild grass growing on the island.

The tablets are supported by ethnomedical reports of the plant and researches related to its traditional use and benefits .

Alexander Batista, director of the Center for Toxicology and Biomedicine in Santiago, said on Monday the overall effectiveness of the drug has been demonstrated in preclinical and toxicological tests.

Researchers have hoped to provide the drug free to patients with special needs, and to sell it to the public by prescription and even to the international market.

Anamu is traditionally used in Cuba as an antispasmodic, diuretic, stimulant and sudorific, local analgesic and anti-inflammatory. It is used for arthritis, malaria, rheumatism, dermathology diseases and also memory problems.

Moreover, when used as anti-inflammatory in cases of cancer and diabetes, it has antileukemic and cytotoxic effects against several types of cancer cells.

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