Thunder God Vine

What other names is Thunder God Vine known by?

Huang-T'eng Ken, Lei Gong Teng, Lei-Kung T'eng, Taso-Ho-Hua, Threewingnut, Tonnerre de la Vigne de Dieu, Tripterigium Wilfordii, Tripterygium wilfordii, Vigne du Tonnerre Divin, Yellow Vine.

What is Thunder God Vine?

Thunder god vine is an herb. Its leaves and root are used to make medicine.

Thunder god vine is used for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), heavy menstrual flows, multiple sclerosis, and as a male contraceptive. It is also used for pockets of infection (abscesses), boils, fever, swelling (inflammation), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), HIV/AIDS, a skin condition called psoriasis, and a blood vessel disease called Behcet's disease.

Thunder god vine is sometimes applied to the skin for rheumatoid arthritis.

Thunder god vine has also been used non-medicinally as an insecticide against maggots or larvae, and as a rat and bird poison.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Taking thunder god vine by mouth seems to relieve joint pain and swelling and improve physical function in people with RA. It also seems to improve the effectiveness of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) when taken for RA symptoms. Taking thunder god vine extract by mouth along with methotrexate seems to be as effective as taking methotrexate alone for RA symptoms, but with fewer side effects. Applying a liquid preparation (tincture) of thunder god vine to the skin over affected joints seems to decrease joint tenderness, stiffness, and swelling. However, serious side effects may occur in people taking thunder god vine for RA symptoms, so talk with your healthcare provider before starting thunder god vine.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Male contraception. Taking thunder god vine by mouth might be effective as a male contraceptive. Fertility returns about 6 weeks after men stop taking thunder god vine.
  • A kidney condition called nephrotic syndrome. Early research suggests thunder god vine may be effective for nephrotic syndrome in children.
  • Kidney transplant. Taking thunder god vine before a kidney transplant and for 5 years thereafter might prevent transplant rejection and improve survival in some people undergoing kidney transplantation. Other research suggests that taking thunder god vine along with cyclosporine and prednisone might improve the function and 1-2 year survival rate of the transplanted kidney compared to treatment with azathioprine, cyclosporine, and prednisone.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Some early research shows that thunder god vine may be effective for kidney problems (nephritis) associated with SLE. However, taking thunder god vine along with prednisone does not appear to improve symptoms better than prednisone alone.
  • HIV/AIDS.
  • Menstrual pain.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Pockets of infection (abscesses).
  • Boils.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of thunder god vine for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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