Alternative Therapies

Alternative Therapies

Good Scientific Evidence

Green tea:

Green tea is made from the dried leaves of Camellia sinensis, a perennial evergreen shrub.
Green tea has a long history of use, dating back to China approximately 5,000 years ago. Green tea, black tea, and oolong tea are all derived from the same plant. Polyphenon E®, a proprietary extract of green tea, has been approved in the United States for external topical use as a prescription for genital warts caused by the human papilloma virus.

Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to caffeine or tannins. Use cautiously with diabetes or liver disease.

Unclear or conflicting scientific evidence

Alizarin

Limited available evidence suggests that alizarin may be of benefit in the treatment of viral infections. Additional research is needed in this area.

Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to alizarin or any plants in the Rubiaceae family. Alizarin may be toxic and should not be handled for long periods of time, rubbed in the eyes, or eaten.

Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Cranberry

Limited laboratory research has examined the antiviral activity of cranberry. Further research is warranted in this area.

Avoid if allergic to cranberries, blueberries, or other plants of the Vaccinium species. Sweetened cranberry juice may affect blood sugar levels. Use cautiously with a history of kidney stones.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid cranberry in higher amounts than what is typically found in foods.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is an interactive process between a person and a qualified mental health professional. The patient will explore thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to help with problem solving. Psychotherapy, especially supportive psychotherapy, may reduce depression in HIV-positive patients. It may also help with treating substance abuse when used in combination with prescription medicine. Supportive-expressive group therapy may also have concomitant improvements in CD4 cell count and viral load. More research is needed in this area, especially to determine the best type of psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy cannot always fix mental or emotional conditions. Psychiatric drugs are sometimes needed. In some cases, symptoms may get worse if the proper medication is not taken. Not all therapists are qualified to work with all problems. Use cautiously with serious mental illness or some medical conditions because some forms of psychotherapy may stir up strong emotional feelings and expression.

Selected References
American Social Health Association. www.ashastd.org. Accessed April 28, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). www.cdc.gov. Accessed April 28, 2009.
Cline JS. Sexually transmitted diseases: will this problem ever go away? N C Med J. 2006 Sep-Oct;67(5):353-8.
Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Copyright © 2009. Accessed April 28, 2009.
No authors listed. Human papillomavirus vaccine: new drug. Cervical cancer prevention: high hopes. Prescrire Int. 2007 Jun;16(89):91-4.
Rupp RE, Stanberry LR, Rosenthal SL. Vaccines for sexually transmitted infections. Pediatr Ann. 2005 Oct;34(10):818-20, 822-4.
Siddiqui MA, Perry CM. Human papillomavirus quadrivalent (types 6, 11, 16, 18) recombinant vaccine (Gardasil). Drugs. 2006;66(9):1263-71; discussion 1272-3.
Weaver BA. Epidemiology and natural history of genital human papillomavirus infection. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2006 Mar;106(3 Suppl 1):S2-8.