Complementary and Alternative Healing Universit click here for Home Page

Site Map

List of Health Problems | Chinese Herb Dictionary | Qigong| Traditional Chinese Medicine |

Acupuncture | Prescribed Drug Dictionary | Biochemistry Dictionary | Lecture Slides |

Research Librarian | Search |Viagra | Hypnotherapy | Qigong classes | Weather Report |

Massage/Acupressure | General Online Library |  Contact Us for Suggestion |

lei gong teng, Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. F.

Translated and edited by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu


Click here if you are using Internet Explorer   

Best view with monitor display set at 1024X768

       Search this site:">Click on the Search this site:

1. Description

2. Pharmaceutical name

3. Latin botanical name

4. Pronunciation in Cantonese

5. Common Name

6. Distribution

7. Properties (characteristics)

8. Actions & Indications

9. Chemical ingredients

10. Medical Functions:

(1). Effects on immune system

(2). Anti-inflammatory effects

(3). Anti-cancer effects

(4). Anti rejection effects

11. Other Research

12. Modern clinical application

13. Toxicity and side effects

14. Antidotes

15. Picture of the plant



The herb of lei gong teng comes from the roots, leaves and flowers of the

tripterygium wilfordii Hook. f. It is collected during summer and autumn.

Lei gong teng is a deciduous climbing vine growing to 12 meters,  with

brown, angular, downy twigs. The leaves are light green, smooth on

top, and pale gray with light hairs underneath.  They have crenate

margins and pointed apexes, and are ovate to elliptic, 5-15 cm long,

2.5 - 7 cm wide. The scented hermaphroditic (having male and female

organs) flowers, which bloom in September, are small and whitish with

five petals and are about 9 mm across, in terminal panicles in July. The

fruit is 3-winged, and brownish red, about 1.5 cm long. The plant can grow

in light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. It can survive in acid,

neutral and basic (alkaline) soil.  It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland)

or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Pharmaceutical name: Radix Tripterygium wilfordii 

Biological name: Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. f.

Pronunciation in Cantonese:  lui kong teng

Common Name: three-wing-nut

Folk Name: walk seven steps and die, intestine-breaking plant

Distribution: native of southern part of mainland China, Taiwan, Burma

Properties (characteristics): bitter and very toxic 

Actions & Indications: for: anti-inflammatory,  killing worms, resolving

toxin, treating proteinuric renal disease, using as immuno-suppressive agent

on autoimmune diseases.

Chemical ingredients:

1. Saponins:

(1). wilforgine, wilforgine-B,wilfordine, wilfornine, wilfortrine,

wilfortrine-D, wilforzine[1-3], wilformine [4], wilfordinic acid,

hydroxywilfordii acid [5],wilfornine [6], neowilforine [7]

(2). celacinnine, celafurine, celabenzine, celallocinnine [8-9]

(3). triptofordinine A-1, A-2 [10],  triptofordin D-1, D-2, E [11],

triptofordin A, B, C-1 C-2 [12],

triptofordin F-1, F-2, F-3, F-4 [13]

2. Diterpene group

(1). triptolide, tripdiolide[14], triptonide,[14-15],tripterolide[16].

(2.). triptolidenol [16-17], tripnolide [18], neotriptophenolide,

triptophenolide methyl ether [19], isoneotrip-tophenolide, hypolide

methyl ether [20].

(3). triptonoterpene, triptonoterpene methyl ether [17], 

triptonoterpenol [21]12-ydroxy-abieta-8, 11, 13 -trien-3-one,


11-hydroxy-14-methoxy-abieta-8, 11, 13-trien-3-one [22].

3. Tetra-triterpene group

(1). wilforlide A, wilforlide B [23].

(2). tritotriterpenoid lactone [24], tretotriterpenic acid A [25, 26],

tritotriterpenic acid B [27], tritotriterpenic acid C [28], 3-epikatonic acid [29],

polpunonic acid, triptodihydroxy acid methyl ester [30], tripterine [31].

(3). 3,24-dioxofridelan-29-oic acid [29], salaspermic acid [29,32].

4. wilfornide [20]

5. 1,8-dihydroxy-4-hydroxymethyl anthraquinone [33].

6. syringareisnol [34].

7 Other Chemicals: dulcitol, glucose [31], tannin

8. trace mineral: iron, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium etc

Medical Functions: 

1. Effects on immune system


2. Anti-inflammatory effects


3. Anti -cancer effect

 Triptolide and   tripdiolide   , () are

highly effective in treating cancer.

Using alcohol extract of lei gong teng, triptolide or tripdiolide on mice

with leukemia L1210, (50~400mcg/kg), showed that the therapy was

highly effective [58].

The effective dosage for mice with L1210 and P388 was 0.1mg/kg. Using

triptolide of 0.25mg and 0.2mg/kg on mice with leukemia L615, has proved

to prolong the survival rates to more than 159.8% and 87.8% respectively

and also has caused some of the mice to survive long term. Using spleen

cell L615, once a month continually for three months to attack the cancer

cells that survived long term, did not affect the survival rate of the mice

or cause them to get ill [24,58,59].


Go to Cancer Index Page


4. Effects on contraception


5. Effects on urinary system


6. Effects on anti-organism and worms 


7. Other Effects


8. Inhibits  acute phase of rejection during transplant


Effect of triptolide on cardiac allograft survival in mice
Zhou Xiaoming, Fang Xiangdong, Luo Aiwu, Li Quanqi, Li Jinsheng,

Wang Xiaoning1 (Cardio thoracic Surgery,Nan fang Hospital 1

Institute of Molecular Immunology, the First Military Medical

University, Guangzhou 510515 2 Department of Pediatrics,

General Hospital, Guangzhou Military Area Command)

Keywords: triptolide cardiac allograft allograft rejection


Abstract This paper was designed to evaluate the effect of triptolide (Tri)

on cardiac allograft survival in mouse ear. In our studies triptolide was

demonstrated to suppress the rejection of cardiac allograft in mouse ear.

The effect was both doseª² dependent and timeª² dependent. In addition,

the studies also evaluated the effect of Tri on T- lymphocyte proliferation

induced by Con A or mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) in vitro. The results

showed that Tri notably inhibited T- lymphocyte transformation (LT)

at 0.04~10 μ g/L and MLR at 0.2~10 μg/L. All these inhibitory effects

were timeª² dependent. Maximal inhibition of LT and MLR was observed

when Tri was added in the first 12 hours of incubation. The effect of Tri on

Con Aª² induced IL- 2 production and IL- 2R expression of lymphocytes

was assayed. It was found that Tri at 0.4 μ g/L and 10 μ g/L had no significant

inhibitory effect on the synthesis of IL- 2 by freshly isolated mouse splenocytes

prestimulated with Con A for 24 hours and 48 hours. Examination of the effect of Tri

on IL- 2 receptor expression indicated that Tri can reduce IL- 2R expression.

These results suggested that Tri could inhibit the acute phase of transplant

rejection but not to prevent allograft rejection.

Editor Note: This may be an old document that has been retrieved.

Please contact researchers for any  new information.

 According to a  report from Xin Hua She News of China, the acute

phase of transplant rejection rate dropped from 30 ~40% to 5% using



See the archived Chinese site of this article on inhibiting

the acute phase of rejection in Chinese


9. Inside body


10. Effects of toxicity

Other Research: Four compounds purified from T. wilfordii may

confer protection against the FSGS (focal segmental glomerulosclerosis)


Modern Clinical Application :


1. proliferative arthritis 


(1). Dosage per day for adults: 20 to 30 g of dried stem of lei gong teng.

Use low heat to simmer for 3 to 4 hours. Adjust the amount for children.

Take until symptoms are clear. Fifteen days after symptoms are clear,

change to every other day or every 3 days per dose; then slowly wean

from it. If symptoms do not subside after 15 days, it is deemed


There were 60 patients. Average stay in the hospital: 3 to 4 months.

Result: 17 healed.

Effective: 20. Better: 19. Not effective: 4.

The characteristic of this herb is warm and toxic. It is effective for acute

cases. It is  much less effective on cases with deformed joints. [1]


(2). Combining 2/3 of lei gong teng with bark and 1/3 without bark and

made into 15% tincture. Dosage: 10 to 15 ml per day, made into 3 servings

for after meals. Continuously taken for 3 to 5 months (average 4.5 months).

After symptoms are controlled, dosages were decreased. Result: Clinically

healed: 18. Obviously improved: 95. Better 46. Not effective: 6. Total

effectiveness: 96.4%.[2]

(3). Total saponins dosage 1 to 1.5 mg per day, into 3 servings, taken

after meals. The largest dosage was 90 mg. While using this therapy,

other medicines were suspended.

After 1 to 2 weeks, the symptoms started to subside. After treatments,

ESR and other values of proliferative arthritis indicators started to

decrease. Some of them became normal. EgC, IgA, and IgM obviously

decreased. After more than 3 months of therapy,

among 136 patients, with lesser clinical symptoms : 24, obviously improved: 51,

improved: 52, ineffective: 9, total effectiveness: 93.3%.










2. tonic inflammation of spinal cord


3. lupus


4. purpura


5. kidney inflammation


6. asthma


7. tuberculosis of the lungs


8. psoriasis


Using water decoction of lei gong teng and alcohol extract of lei gong teng:

They both contain 50 lei gong ten 50 g, and ji xue tang 50 g each. Take orally

50 ml, twice a day after meals.

30 days is one therapy period.


Total patients: 193

Patients taking alcohol extract: 116

Effective rate: 86.2%

Patients taking water decoction: 77

Effective rate: 72.72%

It showed that the alcohol extract was more effective

than the water decoction. [21]


9. dermatitis


10. Reiter syndrome 


Research on Pharmacological Processes: to be loaded


Toxicity and Side Effects:


There are 3 types of toxicity: [A]


1. Toxic reactions: dizziness, palpitation, weakness, nausea, vomiting,

stomach ache, diarrhea, pain in liver and kidney areas, bleeding in the

digestive tract, even respiration and circulation exhaustion and death.

2. decrease of total blood cell counts (2)

3. mutation type of illness: using lei gong teng tincture for external use

can cause mutation type of illness. (3)

4. Long term use of lei gong teng could significantly decrease bone

mineral density of levels in female systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)b

5. long term use of lei gong teng causes hair loss and malfunction of

immune system.[c]


I. Prevention

1). For external use: use ointment and avoid tincture.

2). Pay attention to the dosage according to the body constitution of

individual patients.

3). Avoid using on patients with liver problems.

II. Antidotes for toxicity

1). Empty stomach and induce diarrhea.

2). During the early stages, use adrenocortical hormone.

Dexamethasone 5~10mg with added 50% glucose 40 ml can

be used in IV administering, followed with dexamethasone of 1.5mg,

3 times a day for 2~3 weeks. anisodamine (654-2) can also be used.

3).  Use dextran 40 (low Molecular Dexran, Rheomacrodex) 500ml

IV administering, when

toxin has been absorbed but no symptom of toxicity. 20% solution of

Manitol for IV administering, and furosemide 40mg (Frusemide,

Fursemide, Lasix) for muscle injection. Pay attention to the balance

of electrolytes and correct acidosis immediately.

4). Skin allergy can be treated with antihistamines or with traditional

Chinese herbs for dispersing heat and  neutralizing toxin.

5). Chinese herb treatment:


Other related websites:


Click to see picture on another site

Search this site:">Back to Search this site on top of page.


Note: If you need the complete bibliography or other information in a

hurry, please email our Research Librarian. There is a set up charge.

Almost all of them are from sources of Chinese writings.


[A] according to the study of Li Rui_lin and Shu Da-fu et al 李瑞琳、舒達夫等

(a). M. Sharma, R. Sharma, XL Ge, R.S.Reddy, E.T.McCarthy, V. J. Savin, Medical College

of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, U.S.A.

(b). Department of dermatology, Huashan hospital, Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai

200040, China (Huang L and Feng SF); Radiology Institute,  Shanghai Medical University,

Shanghai 200040, China (Wang HF).

Site Map

List of Health Problems | Chinese Herb Dictionary | Qigong| Traditional Chinese Medicine | Acupuncture |

Prescribed Drug Dictionary | Biochemistry Dictionary | Lecture Slides | Research Librarian |

Search | Viagra | Hypnotherapy | Qigong classes | Weather Report |Massage/Acupressure |

General Online Library |  Contact Us for Suggestion   |             click here for Home Page |

Last update: Dec 1, 2003; 1:20 p.m. RC

More material to be loaded. If you need more information or bibliography in a hurry email our research librarian. The link is located on the left menu.There is a research fee charged.