Warning: this page hasn't been updated for many years and the|
information presented in here is most likely out-dated!
Over the last 30 years it has been used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, chronic nephritis, chronic hepatitis, thrombocytopenia, ankylosing spondylitis, and skin diseases . One case has been recorded where the drug caused death .
Recent research has seems to indicate that it does have a positive effect in combination with certain chemotherapy drugs for treating cancer.
|Warning: The raw roots has toxins  that require careful processing to remove. You are strongly advised not to experiment with the raw roots yourself.|
Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (TWHF) is a kind of Chinese herbal medicine
used for 2000 years. It was applied externally for treatment of
arthritis and inflammatory tissue swelling in early years. Recently, this
drug has been found to have immunosuppressive effects which could
successfully induce remission of some autoimmune disorders without obvious
adverse effects. Although there are side effects of
gastrointestinal upset, infertility and suppression of lymphocyte
proliferation, little information about lethal toxicities has been
reported. A case is presented here of a previously healthy young man who
developed profuse vomiting and diarrhea, leukopenia, renal failure,
profound hypotension and shock after ingestion of an extract of TWHF. In
addition to his hypovolemic shock, serial electrocardiograms (ECG),
cardiac enzyme studies, and echocardiography also showed some evidence of
coexisting cardiac damage. He died of intractable shock 3 days after the
abuse of TWHF. Further studies of the pathogenesis of peripheral collapse
and possible cardiac toxicity, and determination of the therapeutic
range of this drug are necessary before it is used extensively.
Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. f. (Celastraceae) is a
perennial vine growing in southern China. The herb, also called
Lei Gong Teng (Thunder God Vine or "three-wing nut"), has been used
in Chinese medicine for treatment of fever, edema, and carbuncles
for centuries. The powdered roots of the plant were also used as
Over the last 30 years it has been used in the treatment of
rheumatoid arthritis, chronic nephritis, chronic hepatitis,
thrombocytopenia, ankylosing spondylitis, and skin diseases
("Tripterygium wilfordii, a Chinese herb effective in male
fertility regulation" Contraception 1987; 36:335-45).
According to a study by D.Y. Yu in nine rheumatoid arthritis patients
treated with Tripterygium for 2 to 56 months, necrospermia or
In experimenting with Wistar rats it was discovered that the
seminiferous epithelium was damaged and the serum testosterone
levels were decreased when the rats were fed with Tripterygium.
In another study rats became infertile after 8 weeks of receiving
Tripterygium. Sperm motility decreased sharply and sperm
concentration decreased. There was no evidence of toxicity and
after 4-5 weeks without the Tripterygium there was full
recovery of fertility.
Qian Shao Zhen, Xu Ye, and Zhang Jian Wei observed 26 fertile men
being treated with Tripterygium for psoriasis.("Recent
Progress in Research on Tripterygium: A Male Antifertility
Plant," Contraception, February 1995; 51:117-120). After one month
of treatment, the sperm density and motility significantly decreased.
After two months of treatment the density and motility decreases
further. After one month without the treatment sperm density and
motility significantly increased to fertile standards. After another
month they were restored to pre-treatment levels. Dr. Zhen et al.
concluded that even a small dose of Tripterygium could cause
reversible infertility and one of the main sites of action could be
the epididymal sperm.
Zhen and associates write that six male antifertility diterpene
epoxides have been isolated from Tripterygium. They state
"At the ED95 dosage levels, they act mainly on metamorphosing
spermatids and testicular and epididymal spermatozoa with exfoliation
and inhibition of basic nuclear protein turnover of late spermatids,
delayed spermiation and sperm head-tail separation and microtubule,
microfilament and membrane damages. A preliminary toxic evaluation
indicated that these compounds were immunosuppressive at dose levels
5-12 times their antifertility doses. Immunosuppression is an
important weakness for an antifertility agent, but if the
immunosuppressive dose of a drug is much higher than its antifertility
dose, it could yet be regarded as a safe contraceptive.
The corresponding author of this study is Qian Shao Zhen, M.D.,
Drum Tower, 19-402 Fifth Lane, Nanjing 210009, P.R. China.
Michael McCulloch replied to a news posting, in which I asking for more information, with:
Otherwise, there is good clinical evidence as to its effectiveness.
Without a reliable commercial source in the US, we are reluctant at our clinic to commit to it.
Michel Czehatowski from East Earth Trade Winds wrote to me: