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Tinospora cordifolia has long been a part of traditional Indian medicine and is considered to be an Ayurvedic herb. It is more commonly known as giloy, Guduchi, or heart-leaved moonseed.
This herbaceous vine belongs to the Menispermaceae family. It is found in tropical countries, including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
This large climber grows in higher altitudes, typically having greenish-yellow flowers that bloom through summers and winters. The female flowers are singular, whereas the male flowers appear in clusters. The plant has simple, alternating leaves, which are often used to prepare a tonic tea.
The plant is genetically diverse, containing different active components, including steroids, aliphatics, alkaloids, glycosides, and diterpenoid lactones. These active compounds are distributed over all parts of the plant, such as the root and stem.
Due to its recently reported medicinal properties, Tinospora has gained interest among researchers. (1)
Besides its therapeutic properties, the plant also provides multiple essential minerals, such as iron, copper, manganese, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus.
Does the Plant Work?
Studies have reported diverse medicinal properties of the plant, including antispasmodic, antidiabetic, anti-arthritic, antiperiodic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antistress, anti-allergic, antimalarial, hepatoprotective, antileprotic, antineoplastic, and immunomodulatory activities. (1)
However, most of the research has been conducted in vitro or on animals. There is not much evidence on the effects of T. cordifolia on humans. (2) Thus, more extensive human trials are needed to establish the use, safety, and efficacy of this plant as clinical medicine.
Safety of the Plant
The plant is likely to be safe for oral use over a short time. Tinofend (Verdure Sciences), a T. cordifolia stem extract, can be safely used for 8 weeks.
However, due to a lack of studies, the effects of using T. cordifolia during pregnancy or breastfeeding are not clear. Therefore, pregnant and breastfeeding women must avoid its use as a safety measure.
Before you take a supplement, you should consult your healthcare team.
Purported Health Benefits of Tinospora Cordifolia (Giloy)
T. cordifolia or Guduchi or Giloy is believed to have various health benefits. A few studies suggest the following benefits of the plant:
1. May aid relief from allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial conducted in 2005 showed the efficacy of T. cordifolia extract in reducing the severity of allergic rhinitis symptoms. The study was conducted in 75 patients who were given either the extract or placebo for 8 weeks continuously. (3)(4)
A couple of review papers and studies supported the use of T. cordifolia in managing hay fever. However, these studies are old, thus leaving space for newer trials and research to establish this claim.
2. May act as an immune balancer
Giloy is proposed to have significant immunomodulatory properties. A 2012 study isolated and characterized seven active immunomodulatory compounds from the pant. These compounds, which belong to different classes, showed synergistic effects, increasing the immunomodulatory capacity of the plant. (5)
Many factors contribute to allergies. Tinospora could help strengthen the immune system to aid in allergy relief, but more large-scale clinical trials are needed for conclusive results.
Other Possible Uses of Tinospora Cordifolia (Giloy)
Giloy has various other potential uses. However, due to a lack of human studies, these uses are not yet established. Some of the possible benefits of Tinospora include:
- Diabetes control: Preliminary evidence supports the use of Tinospora in managing diabetes by decreasing the absorption of sugar-derived carbohydrates in the body. It may also aid in the reduction of diabetes-related problems such as nephropathy and retinopathy. However, no human trials are yet available to support these benefits. (8)(9)
- Relief from osteoarthritis: Some studies demonstrated a positive effect of Tinospora in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis, although strong evidence is still lacking. (10)(11)
- Scabies treatment: The topical use of T. cordifolia may help in scabies treatment. However, further research is needed to determine its efficacy. (12)
- Physical performance improvement: The plant may help improve the physical performance of an individual. However, there is a need for further trials to demonstrate its role in the same. (13)
- Antitoxic effect: Animal studies conducted using the leaves and stem extracts of Tinospora showed its antitoxic effects. The oral administration of the plant extract is also potentially useful in preventing toxicity. (14)(15)
T. cordifolia may affect the action of certain medications, including:
- Antidiabetic drugs: Diabetes medicines help in controlling blood glucose. Since Tinospora can lower blood sugar levels as well, combining both medications might cause a significant dip in the sugar level.Therefore, it is important to monitor your blood sugar correctly and take advice from your doctor before consuming Tinospora with antidiabetic drugs.
- Immunosuppressants: Due to its immune-boosting properties, Tinospora can suppress the action of immunosuppressants, which are drugs taken to lower immune system activity.
Dosage and Consumption of Tinospora
Not much research has been conducted to establish the correct dosage of Tinospora. The suggested dosage is 300 mg standardized aqueous stem extract of Tinospora thrice a day for up to 6 months. However, more clinical trials are still needed to determine a safe and efficient dosage.
As for consumption, Tinospora is available in multiple forms, including powder, juice, and supplements, any of which may be used.
Note: It is advised to seek help from your doctor before using any Tinospora products.
Tinospora cordifolia has several purported medicinal benefits and has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine. However, there is a need for more studies to establish the efficacy of this plant for treating diseases and improving health.
Results of previously held studies also support the need for further research. Large-scale and in-depth research can help establish the use, dosage, and safety of Tinospora and explore its possibilities in clinical treatment.