5 Impressive Benefits of Thunder God Vine

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

There are many impressive health benefits of thunder god vine, including its unique ability to regulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, act as a contraceptive, help lose weight, protect the skin, manage hormonal irregularities, and prevent certain colorectal diseases.

What is Thunder God Vine?

From the very start, the name of this ancient vine connotes ideas of power and strength, but most people have likely never heard of it. Scientifically known as Tripterygium wilfordii, this vine has long been used in traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean medicine, as the vine is native to those regions. Only recently has thunder god vine been introduced to the rest of the world.

The traditional use of thunder god vine consists of skinning the root of the vine and then reducing that extract into a powder. The powder can then be drunk with water. There are many active compounds found in the vine, and the most common medicinal application comes in the form of an extract, which harnesses those powerful active ingredients. There are known anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, immuno-modulatory elements in thunder god vine that can have very strong effects on human health. Triptolide is the most important active ingredient and is currently being studied for possible use in pharmaceutical applications. [1]

Thunder god vine in the outdoors

Thunder god vine may help fight rheumatoid arthritis, but could also cause side effects. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Unfortunately, thunder god vine can also be very dangerous, and the side effects from its use are often severe, including skin rashes, nausea, headaches, hair loss, menstrual changes, and even a loss of bone density. For this reason, one should only ever take a medicinal-sized dose and only do so after proper consultation with a medical practitioner or trained herbalist. That being said, let’s take a closer look at the many exciting health benefits of thunder god vine. [2]

Health Benefits of Thunder God Vine

Health benefits of thunder god vine include:

Immune Health

One of the most important benefits of thunder god vine is its impact on the immune system. It doesn’t necessarily boost the immune system, but rather regulates it, making it very important for those suffering from autoimmune diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis are all autoimmune diseases that have been shown to benefit from the careful use of thunder god vine extract. [3]

Hormonal Regulation

Hormonal imbalances can be detrimental to one’s overall quality of life, but thunder god vine extract has been directly connected to hormone regulation within the body, which can diminish the intensity of menstruation and keep our bodies functioning normally, particularly if you suffer from a diagnosed hormonal imbalance. Always speak to a doctor familiar with your hormonal condition before adding it to your health regimen. [4]

Anti-inflammatory Activity

Inflammation comes in many forms and can have serious effects on the body. The natural anti-inflammatory activity of thunder god vine extract can help with arthritis, gout, respiratory conditions, and gastrointestinal inflammation, among many others. Inflammation is a major cause of oxidative stress throughout the body, which causes free radical buildup and a higher chance of chronic diseases. [5]


When it comes to contraceptives, most people think of strategies for women to prevent conception, but there have been direct connections between thunder god vine and male infertility – at least temporarily. For this reason, it has become a very popular study subject for those trying to develop an oral contraceptive for me. [6]

Weight Loss

If you suffer from obesity, adding thunder god vine to your health regimen might be a very wise choice, as one of the active ingredients of this herb, celastrol, has shown anti-obesity effects in laboratory studies. This is a very exciting development for those suffering from obesity, as excess fat in the body is a major source of oxidative stress and is connected with many other health complications, including heart health and diabetes. [7]

Word of Caution: As mentioned earlier, thunder god vine may be beneficial in particular situations, but it is important to only use this herb when you’ve been advised to by a medical practitioner. The side effects can be intense and can interact with other medications. Furthermore, only acquire the extract from trusted sources, as other parts of the plant are highly toxic, and only the root extract should be consumed for its therapeutic effects. If you begin suffering from extreme side effects, discontinue use immediately.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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