What Is Tripterygium Wilfordii?
Many new studies are being done on the plant itself, specifically, an extract of the peeled root of the plant, which is the only portion of the plant that is digestible by humans. The other parts of the plant, the aerated parts, the vines, flowers etc, can be used as a natural insecticide, but are not for ingestion by humans or other animals.
The roots of the thunder god vine have been used for centuries by Chinese medical practitioners, as the vine is native to China and the surrounding areas. Typically, the extract would be used to treat immunodeficiency diseased, inflammatory conditions and tumors, though there is some indication that it can be used as a contraceptive, as well. There is new research being done that indicates in lab mice that the Thunder God Root Extract may be a viable treatment for Leptin insensitivity and obesity.
John Hopkins Medicine released a publication in early 2011 that substantiates traditional Chinese medical claims that Triperygium Wilfordii Hook has properties that block the growth of tumors, as well as help to reduce inflammation or swelling.
In human tumor cells of many types, Triptolide, one of the active ingredients in the root extract of Thunder God Vine, suppresses cell multiplication and begins killing cells by inhibiting gene transcription, which is when DNA is copied into RNA by the enzyme RNA Polymerase. My beloved college professor told us that the “RNA goes rip-snorting up and down the DNA strand” in order to copy the DNA and replicate the cells.
Triptolide inhibits that – in other words, in inhibits the growth pattern of tumors and cancers by not allowing them to replicate.
Researcher and Ph.D Jun O. Liu says, “Triptolide’s general ability to stop RNAPII activity explains its anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects,” says Liu. “And its behavior has important additional implications for circumventing the resistance that some cancer cells develop to certain anticancer drugs. We’re eager to study it further to see what it can do for future cancer therapy” (John Hopkins Medicine).
Modern medicine is slowly catching up to the traditions of our past, and whether that medical tradition is eastern or western, in many cases, modern science is confirming the validity of ancient practices. Now, don’t get me wrong – there is some CRAZY stuff in the past that may just seem absurd, but, many of the pant based treatments DO work, and for those of us trying to live a more natural life, its good to see modern science giving credence to old cures.
Liu, Jun O et. al. “XPB, a subunit of TFIIH, is a target of the natural product triptolide” Nature Chemical Biology 7, 182–188 (2011) doi:10.1038/nchembio.522 Received 25 August 2010 Accepted 06 January 2011 Published online 30 January 2011