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,