Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The magic of sesame seeds: Til chikkies fight human immunodeficiency virus; increase CD4 count by 50 in four months

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: It is hard to resist the unique taste of sesame chikkies,
and many generations of children have grown up chewing little chunks
of this special Indian sweet. But no one has ever thought that the
humble sesame chikkies will help in fighting the dreaded Human
Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV the natural way, without causing any
side effects.

Realising the health benefits of this simple Indian street
preparation, nutritionists have slightly altered the recipe by adding
a few Ayurvedic herbs and served them to HIV positive women. They
found that the chikkies have not only improved the CD4 (immune) cells
count in people living with HIV, but also improved their overall
nutrition levels and health condition.

Researchers prepared chikkies using sesame and jaggery. They also added half a dozen Ayurvedic herbs to give them the herbal touch.
Sesame-jaggery chikkies are quite popular in South India, and they are
known as jeedilu in rural parts of Andhra Pradesh.
A group of women living with HIV and not taking anti-retroviral
therapy (ART) was selected for the research. They were given 20 grams
of chikkies twice a day for four months. At the end of the study, the
HIV positive women showed improved immunity levels. The team prepared
chikkies by adding Spirulina for children living with HIV.

“The CD4 count increased from 475.6 to 543.4 cells in the women who took the sesame chikkies. Those who did not take the preparation showed decreased CD4 count. It went down from 612.3 to 541.5."

"About 25 to 33 per cent of HIV positive people experience either short or
long-term side effects while using anti-retroviral therapy. Our novel
therapeutic strategy of including a few Ayurvedic herbs in the popular
street food (chikkies) has helped in fighting HIV the natural way,
without any side effects,” said Dr R Gandhimathy, assistant professor
in the postgraduate department of human nutrition and nutraceuticals,
Fatima (Autonomous) College, Madurai Kamaraj University. The Madurai
team gave a presentation of its research finding at the National
Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad recently.
AIDS is a disease complex characterised by a collapse of the body
natural immunity to fight infections. The two main components of
chikkies – sesame and jaggery – are known to increase the immunity
levels in human beings.


The time-tested advantage of Ayurveda has
further fortified the chikkies making them a sort of natural medicine to fight HIV and improve the CD4 cell count.

“We have statistically proved that supplementation of functional foods
incorporated chikkies showed a significant improvement of CD4 cells
count. The Ayurveda herbs we used are Tenospora cordifolia, Terminalia
chetappa, Tribulus terrestris, Achyranthes aspera, snake gourd and
rice bran,” Dr Gandhimathy added.

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