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lei gong teng, Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. F.
Translated and edited by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu
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5. Common Name
7. Properties (characteristics)
(1). Effects on immune system
(2). Anti-inflammatory effects
(3). Anti-cancer effects
11. Other Research
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.
(1). wilforgine, wilforgine-B,wilfordine, wilfornine, wilfortrine,
wilfortrine-D, wilforzine[1-3], wilformine , wilfordinic acid,
hydroxywilfordii acid ,wilfornine , neowilforine 
(2). celacinnine, celafurine, celabenzine, celallocinnine [8-9]
(3). triptofordinine A-1, A-2 , triptofordin D-1, D-2, E ,
triptofordin A, B, C-1 C-2 ,
triptofordin F-1, F-2, F-3, F-4 
2. Diterpene group
(1). triptolide, tripdiolide, triptonide,[14-15],tripterolide.
(2.). triptolidenol [16-17], tripnolide , neotriptophenolide,
triptophenolide methyl ether , isoneotrip-tophenolide, hypolide
methyl ether .
(3). triptonoterpene, triptonoterpene methyl ether ,
triptonoterpenol 12-ydroxy-abieta-8, 11, 13 -trien-3-one,
11-hydroxy-14-methoxy-abieta-8, 11, 13-trien-3-one .
3. Tetra-triterpene group
(1). wilforlide A, wilforlide B .
(2). tritotriterpenoid lactone , tretotriterpenic acid A [25, 26],
tritotriterpenic acid B , tritotriterpenic acid C , 3-epikatonic acid ,
polpunonic acid, triptodihydroxy acid methyl ester , tripterine .
(3). 3,24-dioxofridelan-29-oic acid , salaspermic acid [29,32].
4. wilfornide 
5. 1,8-dihydroxy-4-hydroxymethyl anthraquinone .
6. syringareisnol .
7 Other Chemicals: dulcitol, glucose , tannin
8. trace mineral: iron, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium etc
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 .
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
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. 
(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
(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
5. kidney inflammation
7. tuberculosis of the lungs
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. 
10. Reiter syndrome
Research on Pharmacological Processes: to be loaded
Toxicity and Side Effects:
There are 3 types of toxicity: [A]
1. Acute toxicity: within a few hours after using the medication, multiple organ damages, even death.
2. chronic toxicity reaction: usually symptoms of organ damages appear during treatment period with lei gong teng, with slow progression.
3. relapse of toxic reaction: after treatment of acute toxicity reaction, after certain period the symptoms return.
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
1). For external use: use ointment and avoid tincture.
2). Pay attention to the dosage according to the body constitution of
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:
(a) fresh feng wei cao (Pterismultifida Poir) 250 to 500 g each time. Or combine with jin qian cao, wu kuai, tian qi. This single item formula has been successfully used to treat more than 10 serious cases. The combined formula has been used successfully on 7 cases including one who almost died for the toxin.
(b) yang mei (Myrica rubra.et Zucc) : drinking juice of the fruit, 100 cc to 200 cc, every 1 or 2 hours, gradually decrease the volume was successful in treating a patient who breathing and heart rate were suddenly stop. Using or bark or root of yang mei 60 to 250 g each time, 2 to 3 times a day is also effective.
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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).
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Last update: Dec 1,
1:20 p.m. RC
Last update: Dec 1, 2003; 1:20 p.m. RC