How is Thunder God Vine Root Extract Effective for the Treatment of Arthritis?
Arthritis is a tricky disease – it comes in many forms, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and causes millions of Americas debilitating pain every year.
There is no cure for it, either. There is pain relief, and various treatments, depending on one’s condition. Some treatments can have life threatening side effects. Methotrexate, for instance, is a common treatment used in moderate to severe RA. It is a medication originally used to treat cancer – it’s a chemotherapy drug. However, for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriasis, it can be used to slow the progression of the disease and ease symptoms, at a cost. Side effects of Methotrexate include:
- Serious or life-threatening side effects on your liver, lungs, or kidneys.
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), hepatitis
- Dry cough
- Liver tissue death
- Disease in the white matter of the brain
- Shortness of breath
- Blood in your urine
- Blurred vision
- Severe skin reactions
- Red/purple rash
- Birth defects
- Holes in the intestines
- Decreased blood platelets (Web Md.)
Drinking alcohol while on Methotrexate is also advised against by physicians, saying that the combination of the two can cause cirrhosis of the liver, and it’s not known what “limits” of alcohol are advisable, if any, with the treatment.
My rheumatologist wanted me to start taking Methotrexate after I had horrible sided effects using Plaquenil. My side effects from Plaquenil were so severe that my life was altered by them – it effected my cognition so severely that I would do things like spell phonetically (like the letter eight, I would spell as “ate”). I couldn’t remember anything, I was slow, and my job performance was being severely threatened by this. I stopped taking the Plaquenil, and the pain came back, of course, but so did my ability to THINK.
I told my doctor about the symptoms, and she shrugged it off. My next visit I told her about it again, and looked at my eyes, felt my hands, and said, “Well, I have never heard of THAT happening. Let’s switch you to Methotrexate”. I walked out of the clinic with the prescription, researched it, and never went back to her again. I did not feel SAFE.
I decided that I would NOT do that to my body anymore. So I began researching. And that is how this site was born.
I discovered the Thunder God Vine Root Extract while researching natural remedies for RA. Scientific studies have shown that the extract may decrease inflammation and pain levels in sufferers. It can even lower the immune response, too, in individuals who have RA, which helps to slow the progression of the disease by not allowing the body to attack the joints.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins discovered that triptolide, the active ingredient in the plant, stops cell growth in certain cells, as well, which leads to evidence for therapy for certain cancers.
In another study done by Dr. Goldbach-Mansky and colleagues from the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that Thunder God Vine Root Extract has positive implications in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, as compared to an FDA approved medication called sulfasalazine. The completed the study on 121 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. The patients were required to discontinue taking DMARDs 28 days prior to beginning the trial, but were allowed to continue using prednisone and NSAIDs. “Among patients who continued treatment for 24 weeks, achievement of 20% improvement in American College of Rheumatology criteria was greater with TwHF [Tripterygium Wilfordii Hook F., another name for the vine] than with sulfasalazine.”
The effective element in the Thunder God Vine Root Extract has been isolated to a component called Triptolide by researchers at John Hopkins. The Triptolide actually stops certain cells from growing by interfering with their RNA replication process, which assists in reducing inflammation and thereby, pain.
Are there side effects to using the root extract? Of course there, are, there are side effects to almost any medication. According to Web Md., they are:
“Thunder god vine is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth or applied to the skin in appropriate amounts. It can cause many side effects such as stomach upset, skin reactions, missed menstrual periods, vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney problems.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Thunder god vine is LIKELY UNSAFE to take by mouth during pregnancy. It might cause birth defects.
Not enough is known about the safety of using thunder god vine during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Weakened immune system: Large doses of thunder god vine might weaken the immune system. If you already have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS, medications used to reduce the chance of organ transplant rejection, or for other reasons, avoid using thunder god vine. It might decrease your body’s ability to fight off infection.
Weakened bones (osteoporosis): Thunder god vine can reduce bone strength. If you have osteoporosis or are likely to develop it, don’t use thunder god vine.”
Never take the aerated parts of the plant – the leaves, stem, anything above ground. They are poisonous. The skin of the root is also poisonous, that’s why the peeled root of the thunder god vine is the only portion of the plant that is consumed.
Goldbach-Mansky R, Wilson M, Fleischmann R, Olsen N, Silverfield J, Kempf P, et al. Comparison of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F Versus Sulfasalazine in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2009;151:229-240. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-151-4-200908180-00005
Web Md. Side Effects of Methotrexate. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-3441/methotrexate-anti-rheumatic-oral/details/list-sideeffects
Web Md. Side Effects of Thunder God Vine. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-824-thunder%20god%20vine.aspx?activeingredientid=824&activeingredientname=thunder%20god%20vine