Chinese herb bioactive ingredient shows real anti-cancer benefits

Chinese herb bioactive ingredient shows real anti-cancer benefits

The Thunder god vine, or Lei Gong Teng, is an important member of Traditional Chinese medicine being known to have strong anti-inflammatory benefits and over a hundred bioactive ingredients, two of which (Triptolide and Celastrol) have significant anti-cancer benefits.

Triptolide (TPL) is one of the major active ingredients of a Chinese herb (Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. F.) frequently used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM, and researchers at the Dept. of Pharmacology and Biotechnology, University of Bologna, Italy have shown that it has robust and promising anti-cancer activity. Apparently, this bioactive ingredient can switch off the production of specific RNA messages in cancer cells, even killing the cells.. Its target is a specific RNA polymerase (1). 

Thunder god vine is known to have many traditional health benefits; in 2007, researchers showed in have strong anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive benefits in auto-immune diseases (2).

This is not the first time such action has been shown. In 2011, Wang Y, Lu JJ, He L, Yu Q. at the Dept. of Pharmacology, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, showed that TPL stopped cancer genes being transcribed and caused cancer cell DNA damage.

A review of the benefits and properties of Lei Gong Teng by Qiuyan LIU in 2011 reported that since 2003 it has been known to have immunosuppressive, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties such as causing apoptosis and restrict cancer spread (3). It is said to help people with Rheumatoid Arthritis, inflammatory gut issues and kidney problems.

The herb is called Thunder God Vine in Western Medicine.

Side Effects? You can buy oral supplements But. Research states that Thunder God Vine is quite poisonous and so it needs to be handled with care! Certainly, if taken by mouth the side-effects can include nausea, diarrhoea, lowered blood cells, skin reactions, kidney problems and menstrual problems.

The bioactive ingredient is poorly water soluble, which makes its usage as a ‘drug’ difficult.

In 2011 a multi-disciplined team at the University of Minnesota tested a water soluble analogue, called Minnelide, with pancreatic cancer and achieved remarkable results.  Rohit Chugh, M.D., Ashok K. Saluja, M.D., publishing in Science Translational Medicine,  concluded after in vitro and in vivo (mouse) experiments that ‘Minnelide is more effective when compared to other potential therapeutics against pancreatic cancer’, .. and … ‘Our data suggest that minnelide has the potential to emerge as an effective therapy against not only pancreatic cancer but also many other cancers. In this regard, the Phase I trial of minnelide against pancreatic cancer is currently being planned and is scheduled to start by December 2012’.

After 40 days there were no signs of tumours in the mice.

But it seems to have the potential to work with many different cancers.

In 2010 Triptolide was shown effective against cervical cancer cells (4) by blocking Akt in the mitochondria; also in 2010 it was shown effective against human multiple myeloma cells (5), and in 2009, it was shown to inhibit colitis-related, colon cancer progression (6).

In 2013 it inhibited Leukemia cells growth and spread (7).(Huang M, Zhang H, Liu T, Tian D, Gu L, Zhou M; Emory University School of Medicine; Mol Cancer Ther. 2013 Feb;12(2):184-94.)

And scientists at John Hopkins School of Medicine state that ‘TPL has been shown to block the growth of all 60 U.S. National Cancer Institute cell lines at very low doses, and even causes some of those cell lines to die.’ 

But Triptolide is not the only potent ingredient of TGV. As long ago as 2010, Celastrol was reviewed by the University of Eastern Finland as having anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventative benefits (7).

There is a 2019 review in Bioscience Trends of GBM (brain cancer) with Thunder God Vine fromm Jinjamg Wang and colleagues at Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine here. 

There is a 2018 review in Frontiers of Oncology from the University of Macau on Triptolide and Celastrol here. It states that  'These compounds exhibit similar pharmacological activities, including anti-cancer, anti-inflammation, anti-obesity and anti-diabetic activities. Triptolide and celastrol also provide neuroprotection and prevent cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

A founder of CANCERactive and Oxford University Biochemist said, "I'm left wondering what we do about all this - perhaps you should go to see a Chinese herbalist like our expert George Cooper, but nearly 20 years of research, a mass of claims, as a cancer patient I cannot think of an alternative."

Go to: Blushwood berry kills cancer in 5 hours!

Go to: Acupuncture - Traditional  Chinese Medicine

George Cooper Chinese Herbalist -; 07974219194 



1. Manzo SG, Zhou ZL, Wang YQ, Marinello J, He JX, Li YC, Ding J, Capranico G, Miao ZH. Cancer Res. 2012 Oct 15;72(20):5363-73

2. Ma J., Dey M, Yang H et al, Phytochemistry, 2007;68;1172-1178

3. Triptolide and its expanding pharmacological effects; Int. Immunopharmacol, 2011, March 11(3) 377-383.

4. Kim M.J., Lee T.H., Kim s.h., et al  Triptolide activates Akt and induces caspase-dependent death; Int. J. Oncol 2010, Nov 37(5) 1177.

5. Yuan liu et al, Chinese J. Can Res 2010; 22, 141

6. Wang Z.P,, Jin H.F., Xu R.D., Triptolide down regulates Rac1 and the JAK/STAT3 pathway; Exp. Mol. Med 2009; 41; 717-727..

7. Celastrol: Molecular Targets, Antero Salminin et al


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