Arthritis is a disorder that primarily affects the joints. It can cause extreme joint pain and stiffness.
Swelling, inflammation, and redness of the joints occur. This can affect the motion of the joints.
Thunder god vine is a vine used in traditional Chinese medicine.
The use of thunder god vine in Chinese medicine dates back to almost 1000 years.
Chinese practitioners carefully formulated and regulated their use to patients for several diseases/disorders.
Thunder God Vine is a deciduous climbing vine plant. Often, root extracts of the plant are used for traditional medicine.
The leaves and flowers of the plant are known to be toxic, and the root extracts must be carefully prepared to avoid inclusion of toxic substances.
Traditionally, Thunder god vine roots were gathered in summer or early fall.
Practitioners also preferred topically applying Thunder God Vine extracts rather than supplementing them for consumption.
7 Proven Benefits Of Thunder God Vine in Arthritis
Studies have shown that thunder god vine is effective against arthritis. It can treat symptoms related to arthritis and help arthritic patients lead a better quality of life.
1. Thunder God Vine has anti-inflammatory effects and analgesic effects
Inflammation is one of the key events occurring in rheumatoid arthritis. The affected joints become hot, red and swelling occurs.
Inflammation can often lead to swelling of joints that can induce a lot of pain and discomfort to the individual.
Laboratory studies have shown that Thunder God Vine is effective in reducing inflammation. It was able to reduce the expression of proinflammatory factors such as interleukins.
It also blocked pain, and its analgesic properties were accredited to its ability to alter signals in pathways that contributed to the pain.
A component of thunder god vine called celastrol was responsible for reducing inflammation and pain.
Studies have also favored the effectiveness of Celastrol to reduce joint inflammation. Production of proinflammatory cytokines had also reduced.
In cases regarding osteoarthritis, expression of proinflammatory cytokines reduced thereby decreasing inflammation.
Administering Thunder God Vine also reduced the production of MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases) responsible for the destruction of cartilage.
Triptolide and triptolide present in Thunder God Vine are also considered amongst the most effective anti-inflammatory substances available in the market.
Its strong curative effects in rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases have been recorded in several instances.
What does this mean? Thunder God Vine has strong anti-inflammatory properties which could be the reason it is attributed to improving the quality of life in rheumatic patients.
2. Thunder God Vine regulates immune responses in rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an exaggerated immune response on joints. In simple terms, the immune system of the body does not work properly and instead ends up attacking the lining of the joints of its system.
Suppressing the immune system with the help of immunosuppressants can minimalize joint damage.
Thunder god vine has generally been accredited to induce immunosuppressive effects. Several studies, both laboratory, and animal have backed its creditability in doing so.
Rheumatoid arthritis has generally been influenced by the action of cell-mediated and humoral immune responses.
Celastrol as previously discussed reduced the activity of proinflammatory cytokines responsible for inflammation. It also lowered the level of CCP antibodies.
CCP antibodies serve as a reliable biomarker (indication) for RA.
Lowered levels of CCP antibodies directly correlated to decreased severity of the diseases.
This ability of celastrol to modulate the humoral immune response can benefit rheumatic patients. It is an active component in thunder god vine.
What does this mean? Thunder God Vine has immunomodulatory effects. It can actively suppress the responses of the humoral immune system and reduce the disease severity of rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Thunder God Vine offers joint protection in arthritis
Joint damage is a primary feature in of arthritis. Often, cartilage degeneration is seen that can lead to reduced movement in the joint. This can reduce the quality of life of an individual and cause a lot of discomforts.
In an animal study, it was found that celastrol isolated from TGV attenuated bone erosion.
It also inhibited osteoclast formation ( and in turn cell that breaks down bone tissue) which is a key event occurring in rheumatoid arthritis. In turn,this leads to the reduction of bone damage.
It was also found that Thunder God Vine extract containing triptolide reduced the production of MMPs in chondrocytes, which is essential to prevent cartilage destruction.
In fact, Thunder God Vine was found to be more effective than DMARDS (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) in protecting joints and preventing cartilage degeneration.
What does this mean? Thunder God Vine can prevent major damage to joints that occurs in RA. It offers cartilage protective effects.
4. Thunder God Vine exerts chemopreventive action in arthritis
Chronic inflammation and proliferation of synovium (tissue that lines the synovial joint of bones) lead to pannus (a fibrovascular tissue) formation that leads to the destruction of cartilage, bone, and ligaments.
Neovascularization is a key event occurring in pannus formation.
Rheumatoid arthritis is considered an angiogenic (a disease characterized by the formation of new blood vessels) disease for the very same reason.
Pannus formed in joints have tumor-like characteristics.
In an animal study, it was found that administering a compound isolated from Thunder God Vine reduced the growth of vascularized tumors and decreased the density of micro blood vessels in tumors.
This compound was found to be desmethyl zeylasteral, a non-triterpenoid.
Triptolide, a component in Thunder God Vine was also found to inhibit the growth of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs). RASFs are active players in the development of RA.
Celastrol has enhanced anti-proliferative effects (reducing cell growth and development) that are proven to be effective in decreasing inflammation.
The mechanism of celastrol worked on its ability to reduce infiltration of joints by cells by suppressing its causative factors.
What does this mean? Thunder God Vine can prevent cartilage degradation and disease progression in arthritis.
5. Thunder God Vine can benefit in arthritis induced diabetes
A 2015 study reported that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis were at a heightened risk of developing type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes mellitus.
In a study using animal models, treatment with celastrol for two months significantly blood glucose levels, and reduced body weight and lipid abnormalities.
It was also found to alleviate oxidative stress in organs such as kidney and liver. It also reduced the activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines that in the kidney.
These coupled actions, in turn, gave rise to renal protecting and glucose lowering effects. It actively prevented nephropathy, (failure of the renal system) commonly associated with diabetes. Celastrol is a compound found in Thunder God Vine.
What does this mean? Thunder God Vine can lower the prevalence of diabetes associated with rheumatoid arthritis. It can also prevent diabetic complications such as renal failure by alleviating oxidative stress and lead to longevity of a rheumatic patient’s life.
6. Thunder God Vine is therapeutic in Osteoarthritis
Laboratory studies have shown that a Thunder God Vine extract, Triptolide prevented the production of MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases) that destroy aggrecan, a key component in cartilage structure.
Thus, by doing so, Cartilage degeneration in osteoarthritis patients was averted. It also suppressed the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines responsible for inflammation.
What does this mean? Thus, the immunosuppressive, anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties of TGV proved it was beneficial for osteoarthritis patients as well.
7. Thunder God Vine is clinically proven to benefit in rheumatoid arthritis
In a group study in 2002, patients with longstanding Rheumatoid Arthritis, in whom conventional therapy failed received a Thunder God Vine extract as a mean of treatment.
They were divided into two groups in which one group received a high dose, and the other group received a low dose
A significant decrease in the number of swollen and tender joints was reported. The treatment was highly effective amongst 80% of high dosage individuals and 40% amongst the low dosage administered individuals.
In another group study, similar results were observed. Patients also reported a decrease in the duration of morning stiffness they experienced.
It was also found that topical application of Thunder God Vine produced similar effects.
Thunder God Vine has triptolide and tripdiolide.
These have generally been proven to lower inflammation and reduce pain . Celastrol has been attributed to having analgesic or painkilling effects.
These are the components of Thunder God Vine that have therapeutic benefits against RA.
The decrease in swelling and inflammation explains the decrease in the number of swollen and tender joints as well as lowered duration of morning stiffness.
What does this mean? Thunder God Vine lowers the discomfort felt by the individual by lowering the number of tender and swollen joints and lowering morning stiffness.
Is Thunder God Vine Safe?
Thunder god vine may have side-effects. These may range from infertility, menstrual cycle changes, to diarrhea, headache, rashes and hair loss.
In certain cases, if the side effect is expressed seriously in an individual, the cons of Thunder God Vine may outweigh its positive benefits.
The extract is poisonous if not carefully prepared.
Dosage of Thunder God Vine In Arthritis
In ancient times, Thunder God Vine was topically applied than consumed.
Proper dosage can be only decided by a traditional Chinese medical practitioner or a doctor.
It is always better to inform your rheumatologist and orthopedic doctor before undergoing treatment with Thunder God Vine.
Thunder God vine has many side effects and hence should not be consumed orally unless prescribed by a herbalist.
Thunder God Vine is a medicine that can be opted by people who experience no improvement on normal DMARDS.
Its benefits are manifold, but it is necessary to be very careful while consuming or applying this medication.
Further research is necessary to reduce the side effects so that it can positively be used as a treatment for arthritis.