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Trichosanthes kirilowii is one of the most important herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It grows in various regions in China, Eastern Mongolia, and Vietnam. Colloquially, it is often called “Chinese cucumber” or “Chinese snake gourd” but the Chinese name of the plant is gua lóu (which is used to designate both Trichosanthes kirilowii and Trichosanthes rosthornii). The cucumber or tuber part of the plant is known as tian hua fen in Chinese.
Extracts of T. kirilowii has the ability to damage the protein coat on the RNA of the HIV / AIDs virus. Studies have shown that when the substance Trichosanthin is removed and purified from the fresh tubers of the Trichosanthes kirilowii plant, it is able to inhibit replication of the virus and it is toxic to MT-4 cells at doses higher than 0.25 microgram/mL. Trichosanthin is a peptide made up of 247 amino acids.
This plant also offers the following medicinal benefits:
- Relieves chronic constipation (root)
- Potent anti-cancer effects (rind of the fruit)
- AIDs cure
- Brings down fevers (leaves, stems, and root)
- Antibacterial (fruit) against E. coli, Pseudomonas, Bacillus dysenteriae, Bacillus typhi, Bacillus paratyphi, Vibrio cholerae, and Vibrio proteus.
- Lowers cholesterol (fruit)
- Detoxifying (fruit)
- Emollient (fruit)
- Promotes sputum secretion to treat coughs and respiratory infections
- Bronchial infection treatment (rind of the fruit)
- Anti-cough and expectorant (seed)
- Treats jaundice (rind of the fruit)
- Uterine tonic (root)
- Treats retained placenta (rind of the fruit)
- Antibiotic (root)
- Anti-inflammatory (root)
- Abortifacient (fresh root)
- Can help in the second stage or childbirth (fresh root)
- Breast Cancer (root or seed can be powdered for this purpose)
- Antiviral activity against herpes, hepatitis, and HIV
What You Should Know about Using Trichosanthes kirilowii to Cure HIV
The protein trichosanthin is similar to ricin, an extremely toxic lectin in castor the castor oil plant. The root extracts of Trichosanthes kirilowii are particularly toxic. Intravenous (IV) administration of the T. kirilowii root extract can cause fluid on the brain or in the lungs, hemorrhaging of the brain, and heart damage. Parenteral administration (using injections or IVs) of the root extract can cause seizures and fever in HIV patients. Self-medicating with the root extract as an IV treatment to cure HIV is not advisable according to some experts. However, others note that the whole plant is regularly used in Chinese medicine and while certain types of extracts may be toxic and the raw and unprocessed root of the T. kirilowii plant is toxic, to say that the root is always toxic in all situations is incorrect. Nonetheless, if you’re using Trichosanthes kirilowii to cure HIV, herpes simplex virus, or hepatitis B, it’s important to understand that this plant contains substances that could be toxic if not used in the right way.
Studies have shown that the anti-HIV activity of trichosanthin works by inhibiting HIV1p24 antigen levels and increasing the CD4+ T cell counts in HIV-1 patients. Phase I/II clinical trials have been done to try to create a synthetic version of Trichosanthis kirilowii (by manipulating its molecular structure or make-up–in this case by coupling to PEG) that would work to treat HIV. The hope was, of course, that the T. kirilowii molecules could be changed ever-so-slighted so that they could be patented and sold at a (likely enormous) profit by big pharmaceutical companies. When this project failed, clinical trials were halted and the anti-HIV effects of the raw plant-based components in Trichosanthis kirilowii were covered up.
Trichosanthes kirilowii Dose for HIV
In clinical trials treating HIV patients, the substance trichosanthin (an isolated compound that exists naturally in the T. kirilowii plant), was administered via IV at 1.2 mg weekly and then later, monthly.
Another study used the seeds of the Trichosanthes kirilowii plant as an alternative treatment for HIV. In this study, 20 grams of the seed kernels were eaten daily for 28 days.
The Trichosanthes kirilowii Herpes Simplex Cure, Cancer, and Hepatitis B Cure
Scientific studies have demonstrated that T. kirilowii has antiviral activity against the herpes simplex virus. It has been used to cure herpes simplex.
It also inhibits the replication of hepatitis B virus and cancer cells. For breast cancer, T. kirilowii has the ability to prevent metastasis and the development of a blood supply to cancerous tumors, which ultimately leads to their death. Lung cancer and nasopharyngeal carcinomas have also been cured using T. kirilowii in studies with animals.
Trichosanthes kirilowii for Childbirth and Ectopic Pregnancy
Trichosanthes kirilowii can cause miscarriages and abortion, so it should NOT be used during pregnancy. However, it can be used during childbirth to promote labor and to expel the placenta after the baby has been born.
In ectopic pregnancy, trichosanthin was able to expel the embryo in 85% of 140 cases. According to the Trophoblast Model of Cancer proposed originally by John Beard, a British embryologist who noticed that there are important similarities between cancer cells and embryonic cells, because T. kirilowii has a negative impact on cancer cells, it would stand to reason that trichosanthin would also have a negative impact on embryological development.
Trichosanthis kirilowii can be used to promote labor during the second stage of childbirth and it can also be used to expel the placenta if parts of the placenta are retained after childbirth.
How Trichosanthes kirilowii Is Prepared
Young T. kirilowii fruits are typically pickled, but the pulp of the older fruits can be eaten raw. The fruit can also be prepared as a soup in the fall and winter to ward off flu and colds.
Leaves and Shoots
The leaves and shoots can be cooked as vegetables.
The root must be harvested in the fall and cut into thick slices and then leeched. It is soaked for 5 days, changing the water each day until the root can be mashed into a find pulped. At this point, the substance can be steamed and make into cakes or dumplings.
An edible oil can be made from the seeds of the Trichosanthes kirilowii plant.
Other Important Links:
Ferrari, P., Trabaud, M. A., Rommain, M., Mandine, E., Zalisz, R., Desgranges, C., Smets, P. (1991). Toxicity and activity of purified trichosanthin. Retrieved October 21, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1892592/
Wikipedia. (2020). Trichosanthes kirilowii. Retrieved October 20, 2020 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichosanthes_kirilowii
Wikipedia (2020). Ricin. Retrieved October 20, 2020 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricin
Park. S. M., Jeon, S. K., Kim, O.H., Ahn, J. Y., Kim, C. H., Park, S. D., Lee, J. H. (2019). Anti-tumor effects of the ethanolic extract of Trichosanthes kirilowii seeds in colorectal cancer. Retrieved October 20, 2020 from https://cmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13020-019-0263-8#:~:text=Since%20trichosanthis%20semen%2C%20the%20seeds,coughs%20%5B6%2C%207%5D.
Plants for a Future (2020). Trichosanthes kirilowii – Maxim. Retrieved October 20, 2020 from https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Trichosanthes+kirilowii
Wong, K. L., Wong, R. N., Zhang, L. (2014). Bioactive proteins and peptides isolated from Chinese medicines with pharmaceutical potential. Retrieved October 21, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4110622/
He, D., Zheng, Y., Tam, S., (2012). The anti-herpetic activity of trichosanthin via the nuclear factor-KB and p53 pathways. Retrieved October 21, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22498878/
He, D. X., Yau, K. H., He, X. H., Shi, H. J., Zheng, Y. T., Tam, S. C. (2000-2008). Conversion of trichosanthin-induced CD95 (Fas) type I into type II apoptotic signaling during Herpes simplex virus infection. Retrieved October 21, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21723610/
Ross, C. A. (2014). The Trophoblast Model of Cancer. Retrieved October 21, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25372465/#:~:text=The%20trophoblast%20model%20of%20cancer%20can%20be%20stated%20as%20a,the%20trophoblast%20into%20the%20stable
Chen, G. F., Huang, W. G., Chen, F. Y., Shan, J. L. (2006). Protective effects of trichosanthin in Herpes simplex virus-1 encephalitis in mice. Retrieved October 20, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16787600/
Zhenga, Y. T., Chanb, W. L., Chanc, P., Huangb, H. Tamb, S. C: (2001). Enhancement of the anti-herpetic effect of trichosanthin by acyclovir and interferon. Retrieved October 21, 2020 from https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1016/S0014-5793%2801%2902391-2