The use of ethnomedicines to manage HIV/AIDS has recently gained public interest, although harmonization with official HIV/AIDS policy remains a contentious issue in many countries. Plants and other natural products present a large repertoire from which to isolate novel anti-HIV active compounds. In this literature survey, 55 plant families containing 95 plant species, and other natural products, were found to contain anti-HIV active compounds that included diterpenes, triterpenes, biflavonoids, coumarins, caffeic acid tetramers, hypericin, gallotannins, galloylquinic acids, curcumins, michellamines, and limonoids. These active compounds inhibited various steps in the HIV life cycle. However, further studies are needed to determine their interactions with current regimes of antiretroviral drugs. More clinical trials of candidate drugs developed from these novel compounds are also encouraged.
Key words: Anti-HIV active compounds, other natural products, plants.
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