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Common Alternative Therapies: Sho-Saiko-To (SSKT)


GMHC Treatment Issues 1993/94 Winter; 7(11/12): 25

Sho-Saiko-To (SSKT) is a central formula in Chinese medicine. It is readily available in many countries in Asia. While SSKT is a combination of seven ingredients in precise proportion, the most active component is speculated to be Scutellariae from which "baicalein" is derived. Baicalein has been synthesized in a highly purified form and is being investigated at the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers from Columbia University analyzed the effect of SSKT on lymphocytes from HIV-infected individuals.[1] The results showed a greater inhibition of HIV reverse transcriptase and reductions in P24 antigen levels in HIV-seropositive asymptomatic people than in people with ARC. No significant viral inhibition was found in people with AIDS.

Dosages have been suggested at 3 to 15 grams a day, but without clinical studies, dosing becomes difficult, to say the least. Toxicities have not been reported even at levels of 15 grams a day in studies with animal models. In a poster presentation at the V International Conference on AIDS, Japanese researchers reported "immunological improvements" in seven of thirteen patients with HIV infection and relatively low CD4/CD8 ratios.[2] In a review of SSKT as a potential anti-HIV therapy, Notes from the Underground, the newsletter of the New York-based People with AIDS Health Group, concluded that "at present, we believe insufficient data exists to support self-medication with SSKT".[3] 1. Watanabe K, et al. abstract MCP 148. V International Conference on AIDS. 1989.

2. Fujimaki M, et al. abstract WBP 292. V International Conference on AIDS. 1989.

3. Ravitch M. Notes from the Underground. 1992. 17:1-2.

Copyright (c) 1993 - Gay Men's Health Crisis. All rights reserved. Noncommercial reproduction is encouraged.


Copyright © 1993 -Gay Men's Health Crisis, Publisher. All rights reserved to Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) Treatment Issues. Reproduced with permission. Treatment Issues is published twelve times yearly by GMHC, INC. Noncommercial reproduction is encouraged. Subscription lists are kept confidential. GMHC Treatment Issues, The Tisch Building, 119 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011 Email GMHC. Visit GMHC

Information in this article was accurate in December 1, 1993. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.