Treatment of Obesity With Thunder God Vine Root Extract
Obesity is a growing problem in the US, and scientists have been searching for a sustainable way to combat it – from medical miracles to dietary combinations, herbal remedies, plants, acupuncture and even using meditation and hypnosis. As the market for weight-loss products and dietary supplements has grown to a multi-billion-dollar industry, scientists have examined any number of plants for their medicinal properties and weight loss effects.
Researchers have looked at dandelions, coffee, beans and nuts, and an entire gamut of other natural products. They’ve cultivated an edible succulent called the caralluma fimbriata that is used by a tribe in rural India to suppress hunger during long hunts. They have tried to isolate and segregate the active ingredient in the African plant Hoodia that some claim can make a person feel full, even if they have not eaten.
None of these plants, however, has as much promise as a traditional Chinese medicine known as thunder god vine. The vine, or Tripterygium Wilfordii, is a vine native to the Far East. The vines and fibrous parts of the plant are not edible, but the peeled root extract is the portion of the plant that scientists are focusing on.
In a paper published in the medical journal Cell, published on May 21, 2015, scientists said an extract made from the plant reduces food intake and has led to a dramatic 45 percent decrease in body weight in obese mice. The title of the study is Treatment of Obesity with Celastrol, and the study was published in May of 2015.
The author of the study, Dr. Omut Ozcan, an endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said the substance Celastrol (the active ingredient in Thunder God Vine Root Extract) “appears to work by enhancing a fat-derived hormone called leptin that signals to the body when it has enough fuel and energy. Humans who lack leptin, can eat voraciously and can become morbidly obese”
“During the last two decades, there has been an enormous amount of effort to treat obesity by breaking down leptin resistance, but these efforts have failed. The message from this study is that there is still hope for making leptin work,” Ozcan said in a statement (Eunjung Cha).
Ozcan and others found during the study that it took only 7 days for the mice treated with the extract to reduce their food intake by 80%. Within three weeks, the mice treated with the vine root had lost HALF of their initial body weight. That is a massive amount of weight loss, and one could not expect the same dramatic effect in humans, but it shows how effective this simple root extract can be in battling obesity.
These are bariatric-surgery-like results, without ever undergoing the huge risks and costs associated with surgery. With the weight loss, naturally comes a reduction in cholesterol and even improved liver functions. Additionally, Thunder God Vine Root Extract treats the inflammatory pain of arthritis and rheumatic conditions, according to centuries of Chinese Traditional Medicine, so weight loss, and a combination of pain reduction can make exercise finally possible for many individuals who were kept immobile by their pain.
Of course, scientists urge caution for humans, indicating that MUCH more study need to be done to really understand the effects of the extract. They will naturally want to create a synthetic compound that can be prescribed by doctors in the long run.
Ariana Eunjung Cha. “Harvard Study Could Chinese Thunder God Vine Plant Be a Cure All For Weight Loss.” Retrieved May 22, 2015 from < http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/05/22/harvard-study-could-chinese-thunder-god-vine-plant-be-cure-all-for-weight-loss/>
Liu, Junli et al. Cell , Volume 161 , Issue 5 , 999 – 1011. “Treatment of Obesity with Celastrol”. Retrieved June 20, 2015 from < http://www.cell.com/cell/abstract/S0092-8674(15)00559-0>