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Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1997 Apr;26(5):713-23.

A potential new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis: thunder god vine.

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Harold C. Simmons Arthritis Research Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 75235-8884, USA.


Various extracts of the vinelike plant Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f have been widely used in China to treat patients with a number of autoimmune diseases. Although most of the clinical experience has derived from uncontrolled trials, one placebo-controlled double-blind trial has clearly demonstrated efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis. Studies in laboratory animals have indicated that extracts of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f suppress both immune and inflammatory responses and also effectively treat a number of models of autoimmune disease. More detailed in vitro analysis has indicated that components of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f suppress immune responses by inhibiting transcription of cytokine genes, including interleukin-2 and gamma interferon. The current status of knowledge of the potential clinical benefit of this herbal remedy and possible mechanisms accounting for its utility are considered in this review.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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