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Tripterygium is a climbing vine with a long history of use in traditional Chinese herbal medicine . It is used in mixtures intended for the treatment of arthritis, muscle injury, skin diseases, and other problems. The roots, leaves, and flowers are the parts used medicinally.
Tripterygium is thought to be toxic or even fatal if taken to excess. Extracts made with ethyl acetate or chorloroform-methanol came into use in China in the 1970s, and were said to be less toxic. However, the safety of these extracts has not been conclusively established, and we recommend against using tripterygium except in the context of a scientific trial.
At present, we recommend that trypterygium should only be used in the context of a scientific trial.