Thunder God Vine Chemical Causes Massive Weight Loss in Mice

In a new study a chemical extracted from the plant, Thunder God Vine, caused massive weight loss in mice

Despite all modern advances in medicine, no effective drug treatment for obesity exists. When scientists discovered leptin 2 decades ago, there was hope, but then it was discovered that obese people were leptin resistant. 


Now a new study used a chemical called celastrol, found within the plan Thunder God Vine to test on mice for weight loss. 

This plant is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various ailments such as inflammation.

Thunder God Vine is a perennial vine native to China, Japan, Korea. it has been used in China for health purposes for more than 400 years. In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used for conditions involving inflammation or overactivity of the immune system.

Currently the vine is used as a traditional or folk remedy for excessive menstrual periods or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus.

  • Thunder God Vine extract is prepared from the skinned roof of the vine
  • Studies have shown it may help fight inflammation
    • Suppress immune system
    • Anti-cancer effects
  • Have been very few studies on it/ not enough scientific evidence
    • Side effects
      • Can be poisonous if not carefully extracted from the skinned root
      • Some participants in the study experienced gastrointestinal adverse effect such as diarrhea, indigestion and nausea
  • Can cause:
    • Hair loss
    • Headache
    • Menstrual changes
    • Skin rash
  • No consistent/high-quality products being produced in the United States
  • Has been found to decrease bone mineral density in women who take the herb for 5 years or longer
  • Contains chemicals that may decrease male infertility by changing sperm

The chemical celastrol was used in a recent study on mice and caused them to lose a dramatic amount of weight. Celastrol is a powerful leptin sensitizer and has potential as an anti-obesity therapeutic agent.

In the study celastrol intervened in an inflammatory process within bodily cells that leads to leptin insensitivity. The mice were given the substance celastrol and lost as much as 45% of body weight.

Fat stores accounted for almost all of the weight loss. Chemical acts to increase the body’s sensitivity to a hormone called leptin. Leptin is secreted by fat cells. Leptin was discovered more two decades ago.

Scientists had hoped that leptin might be able to treat obesity because in normal-weight individuals, it reduces appetite. However, in obese people, it doesn't have the same effect. It may have to do with the excess of fat that causes these individuals to be insensitive to leptin.

No other substances have had such dramatic obesity-reducing and fat-burning properties in trials on mice to date.

  • Celastrol doesn’t appear to have toxic effects
  • Working to test the chemicals in humans next

The study appeared in Harvard Medical School and journal, CELL.

In 2008, WHO estimated that 1.4 billion adults worldwide were overweight with 200 million men and 300 million women were obese. WHO predicted that more than one billion people in the world will be obese by 2030