Lei Gong Teng

Radix Tripterygii Wilfordii, Threewingnut


decoction: 5-25g if the bark of the root and woody parts are removed, 10-12g if the bark of the root is removed. Decoction requires small fire, 1-2 hours.
Can also be made into syrup, if powder is used to make capsules, 0.5-1.5g each time, 3 times per day.


Acute toxicity test on rats show that Lei Gong Teng cortex can induce significant pathologic change to cardiac muscles, forming multiple tiny myolysis focuses, causing renal tuber cell degeneration and necrosis, and lymphocyte disintegration. In rats, the organs most sensitive to the toxicity of Lei Gong Teng total saponins are those of the gastrointestinal system, the hematopoietic system, and the germinal epithelium of testis. Either prolonged use or overdose of Lei Gong Teng inhibits white blood cells and blood platelets in dogs, and can cause damages to the germinal epithelium of dogs, rats, and mice, inhibiting spermatogonium division and resulting in a decrease in, or complete disappearance of, various germ cells. (1)

Chemical Composition

Wilfordine; Wilforgine; Wilfordine; Wilforine; Wilfotrine; Wilforzine; Triptolide; Tipdiolide; Tripteroilide; (+)-medioresinol; (-)syringaresinol; Nubiletin; Tripdiolide; Triptolidenol; Hypolide; Triptonide; 16-hydroxytriptolide; Tripchlorlide; Triptriolide; Tripdiotolnide; Wilforlide A, B; 3-epikatonic acid; Cangoronine; Regelin; Salaspermic acid; Euonymine; Wilfordsine; b-sitosterol; Dulcitol; Evonymine; Polysaccarides; 1-epicatechin; Triptotriterpenonic acid A; Triptotriterpenoidal lactone A; Oleanane-9,12-dialkene-3-ketone; 16-hydroxy-19, 2O-epoxy-kaurane; 13, 14-epoxide 9, 11, 12-trihydroxytriptolide; 3-hydroxy-2-oxo-3-fridelen-20a-carboxylic acid; 3b-hydroxy-D:B-friedoolean-5:6-epoxy-29-oic acid; Triptofordins A, B, C-1, C-2, D-1, D-2, E, F-1, F-2, F-3, F-4. (2) , (3) , (4) , (5) , (6) , (7) , (8) , (9) , (10) , (11) , (12) , (13)


    Exercise caution when administering to patients with heart, liver, or kidney problems, or with a low white blood cell count. Contraindication: pregnancy. Adverse effects: There have been reports of one case of Lei Gong Teng overdose, and one case of Lei Gong Teng poisoning resulting in acute renal failure. (14) , (15)


Effects on the reproductive system

Mice that have been fed Lei Gong Teng syrup for six months are found to have lowered SDH, LDH, and ATPase activity levels in their various spermatogenic cells in the convoluted tubule of testis, heightened ACP activity in the supporting cells, while the activity levels of SDH, ACP, AKP, and ATPase in Leydig’s cells remain more or less unchanged (an exception is the activity of LDH, which is increased). (16) Furthermore, experiments show that the monomer T9 (triptolidenol) of Tripterygii Wilfordii Polyglycosides (TWP) is a potent spermicide, with a potency 100 times that of TWP. (17)

Immunoregulatory effects

TWP has an inhibitory effect on both the activation and proliferation of T cells. (18) Used to treat early-stage nephrotoxic serum nephritis of mice, TWP can significantly suppress spleen lymphocytes’ production of IL-2, check the level of serum anti-kidney antibody, reduce urinary protein output, and ameliorate renal pathological changes. (19) Moreover, experiments on TWP’s immunoregulatory effects in rabbits of acute experimental serum syndrome show that it inhibits ConA-induced proliferation of T cells (and therefore the production of IL-2) and the forming of circulating immune complexes (CIC), and reduces the inflammatory cell infiltration and immune complex sedimentation in the glomerulus. (20)

Suppressing graft-rejection

Experiments on Lei Gong Teng’s effects on heterogenous corneal transplant rejection reaction show that it can postpone the rejection reaction and significantly decrease the percentage of T helper lymphocytes in the peripheral blood. (21) Similar effects are observed on small intestine transplant rejection reaction in pigs and lung transplant rejection reaction in rats. (22) , (23)

Anti-inflammatory effects

Lei Gong Teng has a significant inhibitory effect on both carrageenin-induced swelling and adjuvant arthritis in rats. It can also suppress the production of IL-1 by the peritoneal macrophage in AA rats and the production of hemolysin antibody in mice. (24) , (25)

Anti-adjuvant arthritis effects

Administered to rats of adjuvant arthritis for seven consecutive days, ethyl acetate-based extract of Lei Gong Teng can lower the subjects’ maximum platelet aggregation rate. (26) TWP can significantly decrease the levels of IL-1 and IL-6 in the serum of AA rats, decrease the level of inflammatory cell factors in the joint fluid, and significantly curb the peritoneal macrophage’s and spleen lymphocytes’ ability to secret cell factors. (27)

Antineoplastic effects

A new component that has an antineoplastic activity has been isolated from Lei Gong Teng extract. Administered by abdominal injections for 2-3 times, this new component of Lei Gong Teng can significantly prolong the survival time of mice of H22, S180, EAC, and mammary cancer. Fed to mice of S37 and of 3-MCA-induced experimental lung cancer, it can inhibit the growth of the respective tumors by 42% and 65.13%. At 10 or 20mg/ml, it can kill 95% of HL60 cells in 48 hours, and at 20 or 40mg/ml, it can kill 90% of Daudi cells in 48 hours. At 5.10mg/ml, it enhances the phagocytic function of isolated mouse peritoneal macrophage; at 20mg/ml or above, however, its action reverts to inhibition. (28)

Miscellaneous effects

1) TWP (TI) can significantly suppress glomerulate membrane cells’(GMC) ability to synthesize anion peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. It can also clear GMC synthesized active oxygen. (29) 2) Lei Gong Teng can reduce urinary protein output in rats with adriamycin-induced nephrosis in rats, increase the level of serum total protein and decrease that of lipid peroxide, promoting the structural recovery of the glomerulate epithelial cells. (30) 3) TWP (II) has a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on the in-vitro proliferation of mice’s hematopoietic stem cells, with the 50% inhibition dose being 0.5mg/ml. Within 8 hours, this inhibitory effect is reversible. After 8 hours, however, it becomes irreversible. (31)


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