New Research Supporting This Chinese Herb for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Chinese herb thunder god vine for Rheumatoid arthritis I originally posted this article about Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Chinese herb known as Thunder God Vine about a year ago.  Since new research on this herb has just been published and I  am continually asked how Rheumatoid Arthritis can be helped with herbal medicine,  it's time for a re-post. 

The new research from John Hopkins School of Medicine isolated an extract in the traditional Chinese medicinal plant also known as  lei gong teng, which works by blocking gene control machinery in the cell. The research was published in the March issue of Nature Chemical Biology, and  suggests that the natural product could be a starting point for developing new anticancer drugs.

"Extracts of this medicinal plant have been used to treat a whole host of conditions and have been highly lauded for anti-inflammatory, immuno-suppressive, contraceptive and anti-tumor activities," says Jun O. Liu, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins. "We've known about the active compound, triptolide, and that it stops cell growth, since 1972, but only now have we figured out what it does."

But the RNAPII enzyme complex actually requires the assistance of several smaller clusters of proteins, according to Liu, which required more investigative narrowing down.   If you choose to read the whole article there's a link at the bottom.  As the researchers discover more on triptolide they also discover that plants have more than one active chemical constituent.  When they try to isolate one protein so they can patent a drug and sell it for billions, they often find it's not so easy because plants have many chemical components that work together and isolation of a single solitary protein will not necessarily give the same desired effect as when the whole plant is used. 

Plants/herbs can not be patented.   This is why there is so much new research on herbal medicine that have been used for thousands of years.  Research, such as this at John Hopkins,  is not looking to validate the effects of Chinese herbal medicine, they are looking for plant compounds that can be isolated and then reproduced as drugs.  Drugs that can sell for millions.  In comparison to a new drug, thunder god vine and other Chinese herbs cost pennies and they work.

If your suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis or know someone who is read on.

A study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in August 2009 on a Chinese herb used for rheumatoid arthritis, (RA). This study found that after six months of taking this herbal remedy more patients in the Chinese herb group had improved, than the group taking a sulfasalazine.   

The Chinese herb used in this study was a single herb known as Lei Gong Teng or Thunder God Vine. Herbal remedies such lei gong teng or in latin Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF) have been used and documented for treating inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.   It’s understandable that people with RA are looking to treat their disease with herbal remedies such as Chinese Medicine and Chinese herbs because Western medicine has no cure for RA, only symptomatic relief with many side effects to the medications.  

Find articles referenced at these addresses:

NIH says Chinese Herb passes the test for Rheumatoid Arthritis

rheumatoid arthritisRheumatoid Arthritis is an extremely debilitating disease.  A dear friend suffers with it and has for years.   But at 80 years old now, she won’t consider doing much to change her ways.  I wish I could convince her that Chinese herbs have been used successfully for this crippling disease.  I’m always trying to disseminate reliable and scientific   information about Chinese herbs.  Hope this helps someone who also suffers from RA.

An article published in the Aug 2009, Annals of Internal Medicine  compares the use of a Chinese herb for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, (RA).   121 patients were included in the study which took place at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda Maryland and at the University of Texas, Dallas, along with 8 other rheumatology clinics around the U.S.   The Chinese herb medicinal  used in this study is called Tripterygium wilfordii,  or Thunder god vine and is used for a variety of  inflammatory diseases in Chinese Medicine.  In fact, because vines have a climbing nature and are able to meander and crawl into crevices and into tight places,  it is theorized in Chinese Medicine that medicinal vines have the same type of effects in the body.  Reaching into tight spaces and meandering and opening blockages throughout the body.  This may not scientifically explain why the vine helps RA, but it does makes sense energetically.

Understandably,  Western audiences have not been exposed to Chinese Medicine theory, therefore,  I”ll include the  scientific explanation presented in this study.   The  “interleukin-6 levels rapidly and significantly decreased in the group taking the Chinese herb root extract.” (interleukin-6 plays a significant role in RA because it acts as both a pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory.  It is secreted by T cells and macrophages to stimulate immune response to trauma and other tissue damage leading to inflammation)  This just may be the explanation as to why participants in the  RA study showed  “significant improvement “  while taking this Chinese herb compared to those who did not complete the study.

The bottom line, the roots of  Thunder god vine seems effective in treating patients with active RA and may offer an alternative treatment approach to treating rheumatoid arthritis.  To find someone who can help you with your RA and use herbs like this vine to help your condition, find a qualified Acupuncturist who has a strong background in herbal medicine. Let us know if you need a referral.

Read the whole study here.