Chinese Thunder God Vine known by its botanical name Tripterygium wilfordii is a vine which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for different ailments ranging from fever, chills, edema and carbuncle.
Thunder God Vine has been investigated as a treatment for a number of chronic ailments like arthritis, hepatitis, nephritis, spondylitis, and skin ailments.
Researchers have found it can also aid obesity treatment with the help of a compound Celastrol. Celastrol is a compound which aids weight loss effects.
A study which has been published in the journal Cell, researchers have detailed the anti obesity features of Celastrol by reducing food intake leading to a decrease in body weight in obese mice by more than 45%.
The exact mode of Celastrol is also recently being clearly understood. Celastrol acts as a powerful appetite suppressant by enhancing the appetite-suppressing functions of a hormone called Leptin.
The action is an indication that the compound has potential to be used as a drug to treat obesity.
Senior author for the study and an endocrinologist from the Harvard Medical School and the Boston Children’s Hospital, Umut Ozcan has been working for the last 20 years to treat overweight patients by preventing leptin resistance with little success.
However the latest study indicates that there is hope for utilizing the leptin’s obesity-fighting properties.
Ozcan feels that if Celastrol works equally well in humans as it does in mice, it will offer a powerful drug to treat obesity and also improve the quality of life of highly obese patients.
Celastrol acts by ensuring that leptin is properly utilized. Leptin is a hormone which is derived from a fat cell.
Leptin signals the brain that there is enough energy and fuel in the body.
It has been seen that some obese persons have high levels of Leptin in their bloodstream. So the issue is not low levels of Leptin but also resistance.