Chinese Herb Better than Sulfasalazine for Rheumatoid Arthritis! 1


A little known Chinese herb has been receiving a lot of attention for its benefits for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, inhibiting tumor growth and now for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). In PinYin (the Romanization of Mandarin) it is known as Lei Gong Teng. Its botanical name is Tripterygium Wilfordii . Two thousand years ago the Chinese classified this herb as one that “dispels wind and dampness”. RA is often known as a wind and damp condition in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
What is so powerful about Chinese Herbology is that the person’s condition is treated rather than a disease being treated. So the herbal medicine treats the underlying cause rather than the symptom. Many cases of RA a person has wind (pain that moves around the body) and dampness (worse in wet weather, coated tongue) so Lei Gong Teng would be an appropriate herb for them.

In a randomized, controlled trial involving 62 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis and 6 or more painful and swollen joints from two US academic centers and 9 rheumatology subspecialty clinics, treatment with the Chinese medicinal herb, Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF) extract, at a dose of 60 mg taken 3 times a day, for a period of 24 weeks, was found to be more effective than the standard conventional drug, sulfasalazine (1 g, twice daily) at bringing about significant improvement in the American College of Rheumatology criteria. The authors concluded that “…In summary, our study demonstrates that treatment with a standardized extract from the peeled roots of the Chinese herbal remedy TwHF administered over 24 weeks may be both effective and safe in treating patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. The rapid improvement in function and pain and the profound effect on inflammation may make this extract an attractive and affordable alternative to currently available agents. “

One of the reasons why it isn’t used much in TCM is because of toxicity issues. As with everything in life take it all in moderation and consider natural approaches to health.

Yours In Health,
George Mandler
Licensed Acupuncturist
Licensed Dietitian
Maynard, MA


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One thought on “Chinese Herb Better than Sulfasalazine for Rheumatoid Arthritis!

  • George Mandler Post author

    Thank you for your reply. Yes RA is an autoimmune disease. So any drug whether it be Sulfasalazine, Methotrexate, Corticosteroids, NSAIDS or your product Cobroxin they all do not address the underlying causes for the autoimmune disease. They just mask symptoms. Now Cobroxin seems like it is a pain reliever that has less side effects, but for something like RA it seems like using a machine gun to kill a mosquito. Seems that Cobroxin is good for people who’s underlying pain is difficult to resolve or whose disease has progressed so far that they can only be treated symptomatically.
    However RA is very treatable at the root of the problem. Using Chinese herbs or acupuncture can help balance the body so that the inflammatory chemicals are no longer produced by affecting many different targets not just one target as drugs do. This is why there are often little side effects to more natural approaches because you are using many molecules that act on many different pathways, rather than one pathway being blocked by one molecule as is done with drugs.
    Also RA responds very well to dietary changes, because whether it is RA, Hoshimotos, Fibromyalgia etc. there is often a component of food sensitivities causing the complement or humoral immune system to release a flood of inflammatory cytokines, leukotrines etc. Removing the offending foods and following an immune calming diet often brings about radical change in many autoimmune diseases.

    Yours In Health,
    George Mandler
    Licensed Dietitian
    Licensed Acupuncturist