Toxic herb ‘lei gong teng’ can limit tumour growth

Bookmark and Share

February 17, 2007  
Filed under Cancer

CM NEWS – A substance in traditional Chinese herb lei gong teng (???, Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. f., Radix Tripterygium wilfordii, three-wing-nut) is found to be effective in prohibiting tumour growth in colon cancer and leukemia patients, according to a recently published study completed by the Institute of Hematologic Disease at Zhejiang University, China.

Triptolide (??????, ?????; extract of lei gong teng), a traditional Chinese medicine, has been reported to be effective in the treatment of autoimmune diseases and exerting antineoplastic activity in several human tumour cell lines. Lei gong teng has been used hundreds of years in Chinese medicine for treating arthritis. Scientists have been interested in its anti-tumour effect in recent years.

In one study, using triptolide on leukemia mice has prolonged survival rates to as high as 158%. Other studies have shown that triptolide can also inhibit cancer cells of the stomach, by causing the cancer cells to destroy themselves. As much as half of the cancer cells died off in just two days.

Studies done at the University of Hong Kong on arthritis have found that triptolide can prohibit the activities of ultra-active immune cells that cause arthritis, and can inhibit the T-cells from growing and populating. Leader investigator Liu Zexing (???) said the function of triptolide seems not to be kiling the undesirable cells, but to induce them to die in a natural way.

Lei gong teng is also famous for its high toxidity.

In the present study done in Zhejiang University, scientists investigated the antitumour effect of triptolide in human colon cancer cells and myelocytic leukemia. Results showed that triptolide inhibited the proliferation of both tumour cell lines in a dose-dependent manner.

The results suggested that the cancer-fighting characteristics of triptolide might have been achieved through strongly inhibiting an inflammatory enzyme and lowering the activity of inducible nitric oxide synthase gene (iNOS).

How does this work? By regulating the expression of the inducible nitric oxide synthase gene (iNOS), macrophages (large white blood cells) can kill tumour cells by releasing high levels of nitric oxide (NO) and related reactive nitrogen species such as nitroxyl and peroxynitrite.

What is COX? Cyclooxygenase (COX) is an enzyme that is responsible for formation of important biological mediators called prostanoids (including prostaglandins, prostacyclin and thromboxane). Pharmacological inhibition of COX can provide relief from the symptoms of inflammation and pain; this is the method of action of well-known drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

[Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2007 Feb;39(2):89-95.]


8 Comments on "Toxic herb ‘lei gong teng’ can limit tumour growth"

  1. Martin Rowe on Mon, 15th Oct 2007 8:45 am 

    Do you know where i can purchase the “Lei Gong Teng” tea?
    Thank you

  2. Martin Rowe on Mon, 15th Oct 2007 8:47 am 

    I am interested in buying thi tea “Lei Gong Teng”.Do know where i can do this? Martin Rowe

  3. Susanna Ng on Wed, 17th Oct 2007 6:09 pm 

    i’d suggest you go see a doctor of traditional chinese medicine. they should be able to tell you how to cook a lei gong teng :)

  4. Martin Rowe on Thu, 18th Oct 2007 4:48 am 

    Doesn’t the Lei Gong Teng come in tea bags, or are they a loose leaf, the you have to boil? MR

  5. Susanna Ng on Fri, 19th Oct 2007 2:39 am 

    hi martin, i’m not too sure about lei gong teng tea bags. i only heard of lei gong teng pills. but again, those over-the-counter tcm pills are sometimes not 100% reliable. i’d still go see a tcm doctor. hope this helps

  6. Rhia on Tue, 30th Oct 2007 3:03 am 

    is there any way to purchase this in the USA?

  7. Debra Xiangjun on Wed, 15th Oct 2008 10:11 am 

    While this article explains how the molecular structure of Triptolide (??????, ?????; extract of lei gong teng), works in therse aspects, it does NOT truly encompass how it is used in Chinese medicine.

    First and foremost, if you are NOT a Chinese herbalist, go seek the advice of one certified through NCAOM or one who studied in China.

    Herbs are NOT candy and can do potentially more harm if you do not know what you are doing. Also realize that herbs are traditionally brewed as formulas balancing toxicity of one herb with qualities of another. More often, a formula is brewed from several herbs. Granted, today, the processes and applications of these such as brew packs, granule teas and tea pills exist. However, they are based upon centuries of case studies and formulated upon the theories. Sometimes, Chinese medicine is simply one herb, but it IS the herb– NOT one molecule.

    As China discovered in the late 1700’s and 1800’s isolating molecules or trying to use merely the active component leads to side effects. Therefore, they abandoned it. At any rate, seek a professional in the US to help you.

    If you seek a preventative and increased health over all, you might try Reishi tea.

    I hope this helps!

  8. Elmo Almeida on Sun, 4th Jan 2009 10:09 am 

    I am looking for a tea that helps people with Kidney fails.

    There is any chance that the Lei Gong Teng herb(tea) could be

    good ?

    I have to be carful because we can’t have POTASSIO OR PHOSPHORO !


    (55-11- 8323 3199)

Your comment: